At a time of heightened awareness over racism, Hulu has removed an episode of "The Golden Girls" containing a blackface gag, while several white actors say they will no longer voice people of color on animated series.
As of at least Monday, the streaming service Hulu had excised the 1988 episode "Mixed Blessings" from its slate of NBC's two-time Emmy Award-winning outstanding comedy series about four older women sharing a house in Miami.
The script by future "Modern Family" co-creator Christopher Lloyd (not the actor), concerns Michael (guest Scott Jacoby), son of Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), becoming engaged to an older black woman, Lorraine (guest Rosalind Cash). When the couple brings Lorraine's mother, Greta, (guest Virginia Capers) and two aunts to meet Dorothy, they find fellow housemates Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan) and Rose Nylund (Betty White) each wearing a mud-mask facial treatment resembling blackface makeup.
Nearsighted Greta, assuming Lorraine's fiance is black, says, "You must be Michael's parents." After putting on her glasses, she reacts in slow shock at the two women: "Oh, my Lord." The innocently scatterbrained Rose quickly assures, "This is mud on our faces. We're not really black!"
Hulu, which last week removed three episodes of the comedy "Scrubs" containing blackface gags, had no comment.
Meanwhile, the producers of "The Simpsons" said in a statement via the Fox network Friday, "Moving forward, 'The Simpsons' will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters."
This follows white actor Hank Azaria stepping down as the longtime voice of the animated series' South Asian convenience-store owner, Apu. The actor, 56, told media outlets in January at a panel for his IFC show "Brockmire," "I won't be doing the voice anymore … We all agreed on it,” he added of "The Simpsons" producers, according to a transcription at Slashfilm.com. "We all feel like it's the right thing and good about it."
Additionally on Friday, white actor Mike Henry, the longtime voice of African American character Cleveland Brown on Fox's "Family Guy" and the 2009-13 spinoff "The Cleveland Show," said he no longer would perform the role. "It's been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years," Henry, who is in his mid-50s, wrote on Twitter and Instagram. "I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role."
Earlier last week, white actresses Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell said they would no longer voice their biracial animated characters on, respectively, Netflix's "Big Mouth" and Apple TV+'s "Central Park."