In the latest instance of a streaming service reappraising its catalogue in our current social and political climate, Hulu has removed a Golden Girls episode over a blackface scene. Per THR, the season-three episode “Mixed Blessings” has been taken down due to the characters Rose (Betty White) and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) putting on black mud masks while enjoying at-home facials. THR reports that the scene in question comes after the son of Dorothy (Bea Arthur) reveals his intention of marrying an older Black woman, which Dorothy opposes because of the age gap. When the woman comes to their home, Rose tries to break the tension by quipping, “this is mud on our faces, we’re not really Black.” Hulu has not clarified if the episode will ever return.
Prior to the removal of this Golden Girls episode, other sitcoms such as Community, 30 Rock, and Scrubs have had episodes purged from streaming services over the use of blackface. In the case of 30 Rock, the removal of four episodes came at the specific request of showrunner Tina Fey, who stated that “no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness.” The Scrubs and Community blackface episodes, on the other hand, were pulled by the streaming services without creator input.