Tina Fey is the latest celebrity to come under fire as Americans continue to look back on comedy and satire that is no longer deemed appropriate.
Fey recently took it upon himself to communicate with NBCUniversal executives to have “30 Rock” episodes with characters wearing blackface removed from all streaming platforms, according to reports on Monday.
“As we strive to get the job done and improve when it comes to race in America, we believe these episodes with actors with makeup that changes race are taken out of circulation,” said Fey, 50, in a statement obtained by Deadline.
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But Fey’s “30 Rock” decision didn’t stop critics from attacking his past.
The Daily Beast released an article Tuesday: “Tina Fey’s issues with race extend far beyond Blackface ’30 Rock,” “detailing multiple claims by the comedian who walks” a tightrope between satirizing racial stereotypes and just replicate them. “
Daily Beast entertainment journalist Laura Bradley wrote that “racial discomfort” is embedded in the show’s DNA.
“The two main black characters in 30 Rock are fighting racial groups: the lazy and exaggerated black man, represented by the eccentric Tracy Jordan, and the educated and ‘well-spoken’ James Spurlock, known to his NBC family as ‘Toofer’ because he’s black and went to Harvard. Sometimes the show uses this false dichotomy to comment on the way black men are viewed by whites and portrayed in the white media. But often, these stereotypes are simply used to laugh, “Bradley wrote before recommending that” 30 Rock “episodes should include a disclaimer that the humor is now rejected.
The Daily Beast reporter then played Fey’s most recent show, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which, he wrote, is equally flawed.
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“The series succeeds when it comes to tackling race, like a season 1 story in which Tituss Burgess’ narcissistic character Titus Andromedon realizes they treat him better while dressed as a werewolf than when he wanders around. through the streets of New York as a black man. But in its second season, the series also revealed that Krakowski’s character Jane White was actually a Native American. That season also included a Vietnamese love interest in Kimmy named Dong; for On the one hand, a positive move as Asian male love interests are still rare in Hollywood, but also a disappointment as the character was largely a stereotype, “Bradley wrote.
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Bradley then pointed to Fey for once by pointing out that “Saturday Night Live” viewers should avoid protesting against the white supremacists who had descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, and instead eating cake. “At the time, online critics noted the privilege required to wash their hands of such protests and overeat,” Bradley said, adding that Fey “admitted they were right.”
“Whether Fey wants to face it or not, his legacy is much more complicated than a few questionable episodes, and removing them from streaming services won’t change that,” Bradley wrote.
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The Daily Beast story reflects a 2018 YouTube video of Fey’s “strange obsession” with racial humor, indicating that criticism of his career is not entirely new.
Many have taken to Twitter with thoughts on the situation:
Julius Young of Fox News contributed to this report.