Amid the ongoing mass protests against police brutality and racism, Hollywood and the media are reevaluating the programming offered to viewers both via traditional broadcast and on streaming platforms. Some programs, such as Cops and Live PD have been outright cancelled. HBO Max recently pulled the 1939 film Gone With the Wind, with the film expected to return with a discussion of historical context and denouncement of the racist depictions in the film. Even the second season of the series L.A.'s Finest has seen a schedule change in the wake of protests and is now delayed until later this year. Now, another series is seeing adjustment to its streaming catalog. An episode of Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been removed from Netflix in the U.K. over scenes featuring blackface.
According to Digital Spy, the ninth episode of the show's sixth season -- "Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth" -- is no longer available on the streaming service. It is still, as of the time of this article's writing, available on Hulu in the United States.
The episode in question sees a bored Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), and Frank (Danny DeVito) decide to reshoot some scenes from "Lethal Weapon 5", an amateur, fan film the group had previously made. A discussion ensues in which Dennis questions the film's use of blackface as it is racist while Frank opines that the use of blackface is funny. This leads to an entire debate about whether or not actors in blackface is artful, hilarious, or racist. While the discussion about blackface is a central part of the episode, the episode does see both Mac and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) don blackface.
While the context around the use of blackface in the episode is framed as one of discussion about the racist nature of blackface, one could argue that it's a discussion that the show could have approached without actually utilizing it -- the episode does have a scene in which the characters look over photos of other actors in blackface while they debate, for example.
The Its Always Sunny episode isn't the only thing Netflix U.K. has removed for use of blackface, either. The dark comedy The League of Gentleman was also removed from the services for its use of a blackface character, as have sketch shows Little Britain and Come Fly With Me.
Netflix U.K. has not commented on the episode's removal. The rest of the series is still available on the streaming platform. And, again, as of the time of this article's writing the episode remains available on Hulu in the United States.
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