The Office Edits Out Blackface Scene, Community Pulls Entire Episode

The Office Blackface

The Office and Community are the latest sitcoms to edit their past episodes for depictions of blackface.

The Office has removed a scene featuring a character in blackface from a Season 9 episode, but has left the rest of the episode intact. The episode, Season 9’s “Dwight Christmas,” featured Rainn Wilson’s character Dwight Schrute prodding his colleagues at Dunder Mifflin to celebrate a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas with him. In the process, Dwight has warehouse staffer Nate dress in blackface as folk character Zwarte Piet before abruptly calling it off when his office mates complain that it’s racist. The episode is still available on Netflix, but the scene cuts away before Nate is revealed in blackface.

The move was made at the request of executive producer Greg Daniels, per The Hollywood Reporter. “The Office is about a group of people trying to work together with mutual respect despite the inappropriate actions of their boss and assistant manager,” Daniels said in a statement. “The show employed satire to expose unacceptable behavior and deliver a message of inclusion. Today we cut a shot of an actor wearing blackface that was used to criticize a specific racist European practice. Blackface is unacceptable, and making the point so graphically is hurtful and wrong. I am sorry for the pain that caused.”

An entire episode of Community, meanwhile, has thus far been pulled from at least Netflix’s library, our sister site Variety reports. In “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,” the 14th episode of Season 2, Chang (played by Ken Jeong) showed up for a round of the titular board game in blackface, prompting Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) to comment, “So, we’re just gonna ignore that hate crime, huh?” Chang proceeded to explain that he was cosplaying as “a dark elf.”

Earlier this week, three episodes of Scrubs were removed from Hulu for their depictions of blackface, following the removal of four episodes of 30 Rock for scenes featuring blackface. The British sketch show Little Britain was also removed from Netflix and other streaming platforms earlier this month for its pervasive use of blackface.