Hulu is pulling a Golden Girls episode that featured a scene with the main characters wearing mud masks.
According to Deadline, the episode was removed from popular streaming service at “the request from the series’ distributor, Disney-ABC Domestic Television.”
The episode in question, titled "Mixed Blessings," aired in 1988 and follows the tension between two families as Michael (Scott Jacoby), the son of Dorothy (Beatrice Author), plans to marry Lorraine (Rosalind Cash), an older Black woman.
Dorothy is concerned over the age difference and Lorraine's mom and aunts have doubts about her marrying a white man, so they attempt end the relationship. However, in once scene, Lorraine's family walk in on Rose (Betty White) and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) trying new mud mask treatments.
"This is mud on our faces, we’re not really Black," Rose says in the episode.
The iconic '80s sitcom, which is beloved by many precisely because it dealt with real issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ageism, did not shy away from controversial or sensitive topics—something many fans pointed out on Twitter.
In fact, some say the Golden Girls episode does not portray blackface at all—and removing the episode is actually harmful. “Removing this episode is weird, counterproductive and stupid,” author Roxane Gay tweeted. “It diminishes the effort to actually end racism."
Amid worldwide Black Lives Matter protests and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more Black people at the hands of police, the entertainment industry is attempting to reckon with its own history of racism and complicity with white supremacy. Earlier this week, Tina Fey had multiple episodes of 30 Rock featuring blackface removed from streaming services.
In addition, following Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate stepping down from voicing Black animated characters, The Simpsons announced this week that the series would no longer cast any white actors to voice characters of color.
"Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters," FOX spokesman Les Eisner said in a statement Friday, June 26, per Buzzfeed.
Slate confirmed she was leaving her role on Big Mouth on June 25, writing, "I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play ‘Missy’ because her mom is Jewish and white—as I am. But ‘Missy’ is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people."
A few hours later, Bell, who voiced a mixed-race character named Molly on Central Park, released a statement from the Apple TV+ series on her own via Instagram, acknowledging her act of "complicity" and "lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege."
"I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal and I will commit to learning, growing and doing my part for equality and inclusion," the actor wrote in the caption. Bell will continue to appear on the series as a new character going forward.
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