Fey made the request to pull four episodes amid ongoing Black Lives Matter protests and less than a week after announcing the show's return for a new hour-long special/upfronts presentation.
Fans looking to binge "30 Rock," either for the first time or again, will find it a slightly shorter experience after four separate episodes have been pulled for their use of blackface.
The popular NBC sitcom is just the latest in a series of shows to comb through their own archives in light of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests with a more critical and forward-thinking eye at some of the material once deemed appropriate.
Other shows making similar moves in recent weeks have included "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Workaholics," "W/ Bob and David," "The Mighty Boosh" and "Little Britain." "Gone with the Wind" has been temporarily pulled from HBO Max (it will return with a preface to discuss its historical context amid claims it romanticizes slavery).
"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," Tina Fey said of her show in a statement received by Vulture.
"I understand now that 'intent' is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for pain they have caused," she said. "Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBCUniversal for honoring this request."
The episodes that will be removed include one featuring Jon Hamm in blackface for a parody of the notoriously racist radio show "Amos 'n' Andy." Fey made the request alongside series co-creator Robert Carlock.
While intended to be shocking and offensive at the time in a satirical way to make a statement about racism, Fey and Carlock have clearly changed their perspective on its use in this manner as America takes a hard look at its history of systemic racism and harmful imagery, like blackface, that only serves to perpetuate it.
Episodes pulled include Season 3's "Believe in the Stars," Season 5's "Christmas Attack Zone" and the East Coast "Live Show," as well as Hamm's Season 6 "Live from Studio H." They are expected to be pulled by the end of the week from syndication, Hulu and Amazon Prime, as well as no longer available for purchase via iTunes and Google Play.
The news comes on the heels of Fey and company announcing that "30 Rock" would be following "Parks & Recreation" back to the air for a new hour-long special. Like "Parks," the new installment will be filmed from the homes of its respective stars.
Airing July 16 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, the hour-long, commercial-free special will also serve as the upfront event for NBCUniversal to promote their upcoming and returning shows for the fall season. Traditional upfronts have had to be scrapped due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Returning to the characters they made famous from 2006-2013 are Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Jack McBrayer, along with other unnamed stars and guest stars from the show's iconic run.