Published Jun 26, 2020The Office has just been revealed as a series joining of a growing list of comedy shows that have used racist gags as the foundation for a sketch. Back in 2012, during the series' ninth season, Rainn Wilson (playing Dwight Schrute) appears as a German folklore character associated with racism in a Christmas episode titled "Dwight Christmas."
Show creator Greg Daniels has now removed the offending scene from the episode, which sees Dwight dressed up as "Belsnickel." The character's sidekick, Zwarte Piet (or Black Peter), is often portrayed using blackface. In the episode, Mark Proksch (playing Nate) dons the offensive costume and makeup.
Daniels has since issued the following apology:
The Office is about a group of people trying to work together with mutual respect despite the inappropriate actions of their boss and assistant manager. The show employed satire to expose unacceptable behaviour and deliver a message of inclusion. Today we cut a shot of an actor wearing blackface that was used to criticize a specific racist European practice. Blackface is unacceptable and making the point so graphically is hurtful and wrong. I am sorry for the pain that caused.
The Office is the latest in a long list of series and actors getting called out for the use of blackface. Just in the last few months, creators of Community, 30 Rock, W/ Bob & David, Little Britain and The Mighty Boosh, as well as nighttime show hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have all come under fire for donning the racist makeup.
Watch the removed "Dwight Christmas" scene below.