Netflix has pulled an episode from Season 2 of Community due to its depiction of blackface on Friday. According to The Wrap, the episode, titled "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons," will no longer be available to stream because it features Ben Chang (Ken Jeong) wearing jet-black face and body paint during a role-playing game.
The episode of Community involves the show's beloved study group gathering together for a game of Dungeons & Dragons to boost the self-esteem of their classmate "Fat" Neil (Charley Koontz). Ahead of the game, Chang shows up in a white wig, with black makeup covering all of his exposed skin to portray "a dark elf, or drow" as he describes it. Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) responds to Chang's attire, asking the group if "we're just going to ignore that hate crime?" Jeong's character proceeds to play the game briefly but is killed by Pierce's (Chevy Chase) character not long after it starts.
Sony Pictures Television, the studio behind the series, declined to comment on Netflix's decision, as well as whether or not Hulu will continue to keep the episode in rotation or not. As of Friday, it was still available on the Disney-owned platform. Neither Hulu nor Community creator Dan Harmon have weighed in on the matter, either.
The decision comes as ongoing civil rights protests across the U.S. have caused a number of networks and streaming services to re-examine some of their more problematic content, which almost always involves the use of blackface. On Friday, The Office pulled a scene from Season 9, which briefly depicts a character in blackface, though the episode, "Dwight Christmas," will remain in rotation.
Similarly, 30 Rock co-creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock petitioned to have four episodes of the sitcom pulled from syndication and streaming, which involves numerous characters in "race-changing makeup" as their letter put it. Scrubs also followed suit, with a trio of episodes no longer available, which also portrayed characters in blackface. Late-night TV hasn't been immune, either, as both Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have had to apologize for wearing blackface in past comedy sketches.
While this hasn't been a concern for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the cop-centric sitcom has reportedly thrown away the first eight scripts for its upcoming season, citing the protests and the new light that's been shined on police brutality. Other shows, including Law & Order: SVU and its spinoff Law & Order: Organized Crime, have implied they will acknowledge the changing world and the role of police in it.