Hulu removes three ‘Scrubs’ episodes featuring characters in blackface

Zach Braff as Dr. John "J.D." Dorian in "Scrubs."
(Scott Garfield / NBCUniversal)

“Scrubs” is the latest TV show to confront its history of blackface.

After NBC recently vowed to remove episodes of “30 Rock” featuring characters in blackface, “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence confirmed on Tuesday the popular NBC/ABC medical series would follow suit. Hulu, which currently distributes “Scrubs,” has since pulled three episodes from the platform.

A Twitter user with the handle @SagMurd requested “Scrubs” take down episodes with blackface scenes after “30 Rock” executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock asked NBC to do the same. And Lawrence swiftly replied that such a move was “already in the works.”

“Scrubs” ran for nine seasons, from 2001 to 2010.

No longer available on Hulu are “My Friend the Doctor” (Season 3, Episode 8), “My Jiggly Ball” (Season 5, Episode 4) and “My Chopped Liver” (Season 5, Episode 17). According to Variety, one “Scrubs” episode involves Zach Braff’s character wearing blackface at a party, while a different episode shows Sarah Chalke’s character in blackface during a fantasy sequence.

Earlier this week, Fey announced NBC had agreed to scrap “30 Rock” episodes featuring blackface and apologized “for the pain they have caused.” Her statement sparked a backlash, however, from several users on Twitter who pointed out racist story lines in other Fey creations, including the 2004 comedy “Mean Girls” and Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which wrapped last year.


“I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images,” Fey wrote in a statement obtained Monday by Vulture. “Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBCUniversal for honoring this request.”

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Other celebrities who have apologized for blackface incidents in recent weeks include late-night comedians Jimmy Fallon, who wore blackface for a 2000 “Saturday Night Live” skit, and Jimmy Kimmel, who appeared in blackface multiple times on “The Man Show,” which ran from 1999 to 2004.

“I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us,” Kimmel wrote in the statement provided Tuesday to Entertainment Tonight.

“That delay was a mistake. There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.”