Comedy Central Deletes Iconic ‘The Office’ Episode With Racial Insensitivities

Video screenshot via The Office

The Office, the enduring sitcom series that makes you think about workplace no-nos by satirizing them, isn’t always taken in good taste these days. Ricky Gervais, The Office UK show creator, called it.

“I think now it would suffer because people take things literally,” he told Times of London Radio last year. “There’s these outrage mobs who take things out of context. This was a show about everything. It was about difference, it was about sex, race, all the things that people fear to even be discussed or talked about now in case they say the wrong thing and they’re ‘canceled.’”

Now, the episode that arguably blasphemes inclusivity the most has been removed from Comedy Central, viewers have learned. And many aren’t taking it well.

Diversity Day, the second episode of the first season of the NBC hit series, sees the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch taking diversity training as a result of a bit made by their boss, Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell).

During a meeting, Michael tries to make them laugh by ignorantly reenacting Chris Rock’s N****s Vs. Black People routine. This, of course, displeases his employees, sparking mandatory diversity training for all by HR.

Trying to be helpful, and failing, Michael kicks off a game persuading his employees to act out racial stereotypes.

“The whole point is [to] mock the companies that make s**tty attempts to boost diversity,” noted one viewer who was annoyed about the episode being taken down.

Written by B.J. Novak, who also played Ryan Howard in the show, the episode has been acclaimed as one of the sitcom’s most memorable. It was the first to showcase original writing from American creators, and even earned Novak a nomination for a Writers Guild of America Award in the Best Screenplay – Episodic Comedy category.

Rolling Stone magazine called one of the scenes in the episode the third-greatest moment from The Office, while The A.V. Club’s Erik Adams said Diversity Day “would go on to be one of the series’ defining episodes.”

Comedy Central’s exact reason for removing the episode isn’t clear, as it was taken down silently.

[via Distractify and NME, cover image via The Office]

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