“Community” is far from the only series on streaming services that has addressed a controversial episode in its lineup. “30 Rock” notably had several episodes removed on certain platforms that featured blackface and other problematic elements, while “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has done the same, among several other shows. However, other series have opted to take a different approach when it comes to dealing with controversial subject matter — and it’s best exemplified by a classic cartoon.
Back in 2014, “Tom and Jerry” set a unique precedent by adding a disclaimer warning to shorts featuring racial stereotypes on several digital platforms. The disclaimer note, as preserved by The Hollywood Reporter, reads as follows: “These animated shorts are products of their time. Some of them may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today’s society, these animated shorts are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”
Debates over which of these approaches is the best option for controversial episodes and shows is likely to continue, especially as sentiments regarding art preservation have recently intensified in response to streamers like Max removing several exclusive shows from their slate entirely. In any case, whether Netflix ever unbans its embattled “Community” episode remains to be seen.