Tina Fey Had To Apologize For These 30 Rock Episodes That Aged So Poorly


In 2020, following George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement (via CBS News), Tina Fey apologized for four “30 Rock” episodes that contained blackface. Alongside “30 Rock” co-creator Robert Carlock and network NBC, Fey penned a statement asking streaming services and syndication networks to pull the four episodes. “As we strive to do the work and do better in regards to race in America, we believe that these episodes featuring actors in race-changing makeup are best taken out of circulation,” the statement obtained by Variety reads. “I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for pain they have caused. Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness.”

After Fey’s statement, streaming services and syndication platforms pulled the four episodes. They include: Season 3, Episode 2, “Believe In The Stars,” which sees Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) wearing blackface while participating in a racial social experiment with Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan); the east coast version of Season 5, Episode 4, “The Live Show,” which features Jon Hamm’s guest character in blackface for a sketch; Season 5, Episode 10, “Christmas Attack Zone,” another instance of Krakowski’s character in blackface; and Season 6, Episode 19, “Live from Studio 6H,” which sees Hamm once again donning blackface. Following Hamm’s second blackface portrayal, former Rolling Stone and Vox writer Jamil Smith called “30 Rock” out on Twitter, dubbing the act a “fail.” 

For Vanity Fair, Mike Roe interviewed several Black “30 Rock” crewmembers who questioned the show’s judgment when it came to blackface. Notably, propmaster Kevin Ladson said he felt hurt when they saw Krakowski’s second donning of blackface, telling Vanity Fair that he said at the time, “I want to know how this gets a pass.”



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