The 2012 episode titled “Dwight Christmas” was referenced in a memo issued by the show’s creator Greg Daniels who wrote that the scene was intended to “expose unacceptable behavior and deliver a message of inclusion,” Variety reported on Friday.
“‘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 told the outlet. “The show employed satire to expose unacceptable behavior and deliver a message of inclusion.”
Pictured: (l-r) Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin, John Krasinski as Jim Halpert, Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly Halpert — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
“Today we cut a shot of an actor wearing blackface that was used to criticize a specific racist European practice,” he continued. “Blackface is unacceptable and making the point so graphically is hurtful and wrong. I am sorry for the pain that caused.”
The scene is also edited out of the Netflix version and will not appear in any episodes airing in syndication – nor will it be seen when “The Office” premieres on NBC’s streaming platform Peacock in 2021.
May 16, 2013: This publicity image released by NBC shows the cast of ‘The Office’ in a scene from the series finale.
The move comes amid a swift shakeup throughout the Hollywood landscape of episodes featuring characters in blackface.
On Monday, Deadline reported that “30 Rock” creator/executive producer/showrunner Tina Fey and co-showrunner, Robert Carlock, urged NBCUniversal higher-ups to remove episodes from the show featuring blackface.
Hulu has also scrubbed episodes of the popular hospital sitcom “Scrubs” from its streaming service, and Variety also reported on Friday that Netflix took action in pulling the “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” episode of “Community,” in which Ken Jeong’s character sports a dark shade of makeup to portray a “dark elf.”