NBC removed the scene from the holiday episode titled ‘Dwight Christmas’. The Season 9 episode will remain available to stream, but the controversial scene has been removed.
The episode features a scene where character Dwight Schrute turns up to the office dressed as folklore legend Belsnickel. It is stated that Belsnickel’s partner is a slave and is often portrayed by people using blackface. Tha character is known as Black Peter, and has been petitioned to be stopped in countries for a number of years. The scene in question is where Nate is in the car park of Dunder Mifflin. He then receives a text from Dwight before returning to their car due to the other characters condemning the use of blackface. Realizing it is wrong, Nate returns to his car.
According to DEADLINE – Series creator Greg Daniels had this to say
“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. 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.”
This isn’t the first time a show has been re-edited to remove instances of blackface. A few weeks ago three episodes of Scrubs were temporarily removed for this reason. You can read our full story on that here.
In the past few weeks, we have seen a real turning point for many networks and it would seem that the use of blackface for comedic effect or otherwise will be kept away from TV for good.