Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence said today he’ll consider returning the three recently pulled episodes containing blackface to Hulu but only after the offending scenes have been edited out.
Lawrence said on a podcast today, “Twitter is like, ‘Why did you pull the whole episodes?’ Why didn’t you just edit those moments out and put them back on?’ And I said to one person, ‘It’s a pandemic. I don’t really have an editing facility up right now.’”
Joining Zach Braff and Donald Faison on their podcast Fake Doctors, Real Friends, Lawrence took responsibility for the episodes and apologized to the two actors, along with their former Scrubs costar Sarah Chalke. Listen to the segment below.
“The reason why that word showrunner exists in television is because you’re the gatekeeper,” Lawrence said, “and anything that gets allowed on a show you ultimately have to take responsibility for. So, first off, I’m super sorry that any of you guys had to deal with any stuff because ultimately even though we’re all friends and it was a super creative and reciprocal environment, you guys still, at the end of the day, did and were receptive to doing whatever stuff we told you.”
Lawrence said he made the decision to pull the episodes from Hulu’s line-up.
Braff also apologized, and described his mindset at the time the episodes were taped in the early-mid 2000s. Recalling his reaction to Ted Danson’s much-condemned use of blackface at a 1993 Friars Club roast of girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg, Braff said, “I remember being shocked, like what the f*ck was that guy thinking…and I’m embarrassed to say now I never equated” the Scrubs episodes. “I thought ‘It’s a fantasy where I’m trying to be my best friend.’
“When Donald and I started the podcast he mentioned we did blackface on the show and I cringed to hear him say it out loud,” Braff continued. “It made me feel so shitty and embarrassed.”
Said Lawrence, “It starts with ignorance,” adding, “we were so f*cking proud of ourselves for doing a very diverse show, in front of and behind the camera, a great black-and-white friendship that exists as a real black-and-white friendship, a great interracial couple. It was almost a block of arrogance where we were like, ‘We’re so good at what we’re portraying and doing and showing that we could never venture into muddy waters.’ Even now, with that same ignorance, we never really connected the two of those things until now.”
Lawrence also dismissed social media reactions that equated Faison’s appearance on the show in white make-up to the blackface.
“I’m getting tons of, ‘Well, you’re gonna pull that episode where Donald plays Cal Turk and is a white guy and an insurance agent, right?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m not,’ because as a white guy that is not based in any systemic racism…I find that kind of argument to be so counterproductive and ridiculous.”
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