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The Office edits out blackface scene of ‘racist European practise’


The scene has been cut from The Office (Picture: The Office)

An episode in season nine of The Office has been edited to remove a blackface scene depicting a ‘racist European practise’. 

The change to the episode, called Dwight Christmas, was announced on Friday and the scene no longer appears on streaming services.

The ninth episode of the ninth season of the hit sitcom sees Dwight Schrute convince the employees of Dunder Mifflin to have a ‘Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas’ for their company’s Christmas party.

In the unedited version of the episode, one of the warehouse workers, Nate Nickerson, almost turns up dressed as Zwarte Piet – which translates to ‘Black Peter’. 

Zwarte Piet is Saint Nicholas’s companion and the character is part of the annual Feast of St. Nicholas on 5 December in the Netherlands, Aruba, and Curaçao, and those portraying him frequently wear renaissance attire and blackface. 

In the episode, Nate is seen in the full attire, but turns back before he gets to the party, after he receives a text message from Dwight, and returns later with most of the blackface makeup removed. 

Dwight Schrute had suggested a Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas themed office party (Picture: Byron Cohen/NBC/NBU Photo Bank)

Show creator Greg Daniels told The Wrap: ‘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.’

He added that although the intention was to criticise the custom, it was no longer appropriate to show the scene nonetheless. 

Greg continued: ‘Today we cut a shot of an actor wearing blackface that was used to criticise 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 scene has been cut from streaming services and the updated version will be broadcast in the upcoming planned syndications. 

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