Comedy Central has made the decision to remove a controversial episode of the The Office from its rotation.
However, fans noticed that the show’s second ever episode, entitled Diversity Day, was absent from a recent weekend marathon that Comedy Central hosted on its channel in the US. Comedy Central UK, meanwhile, confirmed to NME that the episode has not been removed from rotation in the UK.
The episode, which was the first to feature original writing from the US creators, sees Steve Carell’s character Michael Scott try to conjure a laugh from his employees by reciting his own rendition of a classic Chris Rock comedy routine. Michael is unaware of the potential offence that his impersonation could cause, and the routine bombs.
Diversity Day also features Michael instigating a game which in-part calls for his colleagues to perform different racial stereotypes.
Fans of the show have taken to social media to protest the decision, claiming that The Office has become a casualty of ‘cancel culture’.
“WTF Comedy Central?? You cannot cancel the office diversity day episode… the whole point is mock the companies that make shitty attempts to boost diversity. I’m so annoyed,” tweeted one viewer.
WTF Comedy Central?? You cannot cancel the office diversity day episode… the whole point is mock the companies that make shitty attempts to boost diversity. I’m so annoyed.
— fati (@masalafati) August 26, 2021
“Whatever committee decided to remove Diversity Day from streaming services has never seen all of The Office,” commented another fan.
Meanwhile, other fans have backed the move to go out and purchase the box set of the show, in order to avoid further disappointment if other episodes are removed.
So @ComedyCentral removed the “Diversity Day” episode of The Office from their rotation. Another reason to own physical media – no one can delete an episode from your box set!
— Films At Home (@Films_At_Home) August 31, 2021
In July, Gervais speculated that the original version of The Office would also become a victim of ‘cancel culture’ if it aired today.
In an interview with the BBC on the show’s 20th anniversary, Gervais said: “I mean now it would be cancelled.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it. Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I say, ‘Good let them cancel it. I’ve been paid!’”
NME has reached out to Comedy Central for comment.