Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, has apologised for a ‘racist’ episode of cult ’90s show ‘Saved By The Bell’.
Classic teen sitcom ‘Saved By The Bell’ ran between 1989-1993, and followed the fortunes of six squeaky-clean teens as they navigated their lives through the triumphs and tribulations of high school in the US.
However, one episode in particular has always haunted the lead cast member – ‘Running Zack from November 1990, which tells the story of Morris’ apparent Native American ancestry.
“He gives a – I’m doing this in air quotes – ‘presentation’ that consists of putting war paint on Screech (Dustin Diamond) and giving him a toy tomahawk,” Gosselaar told Entertainment Weekly. “He has Screech stagger around and grunt at people. Zack doesn’t get in trouble for this completely racist presentation, and the only punishment is he’ll have to skip the big track meet if he doesn’t take the project seriously.”
He continued: “His teacher introduces him to Chief Henry, who appears to live in someone’s garage and bestows wisdom onto Zack before he drops dead without explanation at the end of the episode.”
Gosselaar added: “On the plus side, Zack takes his ancestry seriously and gives another ‘presentation’. Of course, he gets into full Native American costume with face paint and a headdress.”
“That’s another ‘I’m Sorry’ moment… Actually there’s a picture of me online I found as well. So, uh, yeah… good stuff. I hope the kids don’t catch that episode.”