know your rights

Netflix Pulls Bob Odenkirk and David Cross Sketch Featuring Blackface

W/ Bob and David. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix has removed an episode of Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’s 2015 Netflix original sketch series W/ Bob & David, over a sketch in which Cross uses blackface. “Episode 3” features a five-minute sketch called “Know Your Rights,” in which Cross plays a character called Gilvin Daughtry, who repeatedly drives up to a police checkpoint manned by an officer played by Keegan-Michael Key, in an attempt to capture police harassment on film. The officer is courteous to — if annoyed by — Gilvin, until he drives up in blackface, offending Key, and causing another officer played by Jay Johnston to ask, “Is this the guy who’s been dicking you around?” before macing him, dragging him out of the car, and tasing him. Regarding the removal of the sketch, Cross responded to Twitter on June 15 writing, “The ridiculous, foolish character I play puts on ‘black face’ at one point. The point of this was to underscore the absurdity … well, here’s your last chance to figure it out.”

Odenkirk also tweeted on June 15, writing, “Our comedy is always about the human element, never about making a political point,” and that “very much includes this sketch.”

When Cross and Odenkirk were first promoting their Mr. Show follow-up series, they spoke to the Daily Beast about the “Know Your Rights” sketch, with Odenkirk saying, “It should have been called ‘Reasonable Cop,’” and that the “thing I love about what we wrote was, a lot of policemen are reasonable guys” who are “‘just trying to get through their day.’” Odenkirk adds that the Gilvin character “kind of deserves the beating, but not for the reason we are all talking about cops and brutality.”

Last week, Netflix removed British comedy series Little Britain, Come Fly With Me, and The Mighty Boosh from streaming for their frequent use of blackface. Netflix also removed four Chris Lilley series from its Australia and New Zealand sites for Lilley’s frequent use of blackface.

Netflix Pulls Bob Odenkirk and David Cross Blackface Sketch