In 2020, after the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement (via CBS News), Tina Fey has apologized for four episodes of Studio 30 that contained blackface. Along with “30 Rock” co-creator Robert Carlock and the NBC network, Fey wrote a statement asking streaming services and syndication networks to film four episodes. “As we strive to get the job done and do better about race in America, we believe these episodes featuring actors in race-shifting make-up are best retired,” reads a statement received by Diversity is reading. “Now I understand that ‘intention’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for the pain they caused. In the future, no comedy fan should stumble upon these images and be stung by their ugliness. “
Following Fey’s statement, streaming services and syndication platforms removed four episodes. Among them: season 3, episode 2, “Believe in the Stars” where Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) is blackfaced while participating in a racial social experiment with Tracey Jordan (Tracey Morgan); east coast version 5th season episode 4, “live show” which features Jon Hamm’s guest character in blackface for a sketch; season 5, episode 10, “Christmas Attack Zone” another example of Krakowski’s blackface character; and season 6, episode 19, “Live from Studio 6H,in which Hamm dons blackface again. After Hamm’s second blackface image, former Rolling Stone and Vox writer Jameel Smith called “30 Rock” on air. Twittercalling this act “unsuccessful”.
Per Vanity FairMike Rowe interviewed several Black “30 Rock” team members who questioned the show’s opinion when it came to blackface. Notably, Propmaster Kevin Ladson said he was hurt when they saw Krakowski don blackface for the second time, telling Vanity Fair what he said at the time: “I want to know how it goes.”