‘Golden Girls’ episode pulled from Hulu over blackface concerns

'The Golden Girls': (L-R) Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty. Touchstone / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Less than a week after removing three episodes of the hit comedy-drama sitcom Scrubs from its platform, American streaming service Hulu has pulled an episode of The Golden Girls for the same reason: blackface concerns.

Though Scrubs included scenes that feature some of the series’ main characters in black face paint, Golden Girls had one episode in 1988 where lead actors Betty White and the late Rue McClanahan can be seen wearing mud masks, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The result? Widespread criticism towards Hulu from angered fans — some of whom claimed the move was “insulting” towards Black people, as they “know the difference” between blackface and mud masks.

It’s currently unclear why Mixed Blessings (Season 3, Episode 23) was removed, however, in the episode, White — who played Rose Nylund — did make a joke referencing blackface.

Story continues below advertisement
This Dec. 25, 1985 file photo shows the stars of the television series ‘The Golden Girls,’ from left, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur and Betty White during a break in taping in Hollywood, Calif. AP Photo/Nick Ut, File

“This is mud on our faces, we’re not really Black,” says Rose, as she and Blanche (McClanahan) walk into the same room as Dorothy’s (Beatrice Arthur) soon-to-be daughter-in-law Lorraine — a Black woman played by Rosalind Cash — and her family.

Global News has reached out to Hulu seeking comment.

Read more: Sacha Baron Cohen crashes far-right rally in disguise, sings racist song

“Perfect example of white guilt knee-jerking into reactionary performative allyship,” wrote one Twitter user in response to the news. “This isn’t even blackface.

“No Black person in America is offended by the joke in this episode.”

Here’s what some other Twitter users had to say:

Story continues below advertisement

Story continues below advertisement

Story continues below advertisement

Story continues below advertisement

Hulu’s removal of Mixed Blessings and three Scrubs episodes follows a wave of similar adjustments in the film and television industry over the last few weeks, inspired by protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality triggered by the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25 after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis.

Read more: J.K. Rowling deletes tweet praising Stephen King after he shows support for trans women

Affected TV shows include 30 Rock — which also featured characters in blackface — and South Park, both of which had episodes removed or omitted from streaming services, as well as the cancellation of Cops and Live PD.

The two smash-hit police/crime series ceased production and were dropped by their respective networks earlier this month.

The worldwide protests — led by the Black Lives Matter movement — also inspired HBO Max to re-release Gone With the Wind with a new introduction that includes Black scholar and television host Jacqueline Stewart adding historical context to the film for the viewer.

The 1939 classic film has been long criticized for romanticizing slavery and the Civil War-era American South.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Trudeau says blackface images, video forced him to take a ‘hard look’ at his actions' Trudeau says blackface images, video forced him to take a ‘hard look’ at his actions
Trudeau says blackface images, video forced him to take a ‘hard look’ at his actions – Feb 25, 2020

Additionally, a single episode of the popular 1970s British sitcom Fawlty Towers was removed from BBC streaming service UKTV a few weeks ago following several re-evaluations from the network.

The episode in question, The Germansoriginally aired in 1975 and included a number of racist remarks from recurring character Major Gowen, who used multiple slurs to describe both the West Indies and India cricket teams.

Sponsored content