Comedy Central removed the “Diversity Day” episode of the hit comedy series of The Office‘s from a Sunday marathon airing of the long-running mockumentary series. The episode is just latest casualty of an increasingly censorious woke era, as it satirized contemporary corporate “diversity and inclusion” policies.
Barstool Sports noted the omission at the time. It wrote, “Instead of just slapping up a trigger warning [disclaimer] for an episode of The Office, Comedy Central quietly omitted it from the rotation thus sending OCD-riddled completists into delirium and prompting me blog about it, drawing even more attention to this, dare I say, canceling of a modern day icon.”
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In the episode, the series’ central character, Michael Scott (portrayed by Steve Carell), imitates a comedic bit from Chris Rock about black people’s perceptions of other black people. He later caricatures an Indian accent.
Larry Wilmore, a comedian who central guest star in “Diversity Day,” described the episode as “politically incorrect” weeks ago. He said the episode would not air today given the political environment of the television industry.
The Wrap reported, “When asked during a press conference for his upcoming Peacock late-night series if the “Diversity Day” episode of The Office could be made today in the current political landscape, Wilmore, who was a consulting producer on the sitcom, said, ‘Absolutely not.'”
Wilmore said, “There is no way … “Diversity Day” could be produced today, and probably rightly so. In fact, I have outtakes from that scene with Steve Carell that I can’t even say what they are that were so funny.”
In 2018, Carell suggested that production of The Office at the time “might be impossible” due to political consideration. He said:
It might be impossible to do that show today and have people accept it the way it was accepted ten years ago. The climate’s different. I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behavior. I mean, he’s certainly not a model boss. A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That’s the point, you know? But I just don’t know how that would fly now. There’s a very high awareness of offensive things today—which is good, for sure. But at the same time, when you take a character like that too literally, it doesn’t really work.
Comedy Central did not explain its rationale for pulling the episode when asked by Barstool Sports or the Federalist.