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One of the episodes features Zach Braff's character in blackface at a party

By Robyn Merrett
June 24, 2020 08:33 PM
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SCRUBS -- "My Life in Four Cameras" Episode 17 -- Aired 2/15/2005 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Donald Faison as Dr. Christopher Turk, actor Zach Braff as Dr. John 'J.D.' Dorian
Scrubs
| Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Hulu has removed three episodes of Scrubs that feature some of the show's characters in blackface.

The move was done following a request by the show's creator Bill Lawrence and ABC Studios, Variety reported.

Lawrence revealed to fans on Twitter on Tuesday that he would be taking action on the matter after viewers expressed their desire to have the episodes pulled from streaming platforms and syndication. The move came after NBC's request that blackface episodes of 30 Rock be removed from streaming services.

"Hey @VDOOZER @Hulu @ABCNetwork could we do this with #Scrubs please?" one fan wrote in response to Variety's report on Tina Fey requesting the offensive episodes of 30 Rock be pulled.

"Agreed. Already in the works," Lawrence tweeted back to the fan.

According to Variety, the episodes are: "My Fifteen Seconds" (season 3, episode 7), which features Zach Braff's character in blackface at a party, "My Jiggly Ball" (season 5, episode 4) and "My Chopped Liver" (season 5, episode 17).

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Scrubs, which follows a group of medical students at Sacred Heart Hospital, first aired in 2001 and ran for nine seasons before ending in 2010. The show also stars Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison, John C. McGinley, Neil Flynn and Judy Reyes.

The decision to remove the episodes comes after Fey apologized for "ugliness" in 30 Rock. On Monday, Vulture reported that the series' star and creator, 50, penned a letter to streaming platforms that carry the comedy series, asking that they remove four episodes that feature characters in blackface.

The message was co-signed by collaborator Robert Carlock as well as the show's home network, NBC.

"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," reads the memo, also obtained by Variety. "I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for pain they have caused."

Scrubs
Scrubs cast
| Credit: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty

"Going forward," continued Fey, "no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBCUniversal for honoring this request."

A spokesperson for NBC did not respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.

30 Rock won 16 Emmys during its run from 2006 to 2013. The popular series also starred Alec BaldwinJane KrakowskiTracy Morgan and Jack McBrayer.

The controversial episodes include “Believe in the Stars” (season 3, episode 2), “The Live Show” (season 5, episode 4), “Christmas Attack Zone” (season 5, episode 10) and “Live from Studio 6H” (season 6, episode 19).

Two of the episodes feature Krakowski's character Jenna Maroney in blackface, and one other contains guest star Jon Hamm in blackface.

According to Variety, the four episodes will be taken down this week, and the particular episodes will not be circulated in syndicated reruns on TV. The outlet also reported that the episodes won't be available for purchase from on-demand sites like iTunes.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.