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‘Black-ish’ creator opens up about ABC not airing anti-Trump episode
'Black-ish' creator Kenya Barris opened up about the behind-the-scenes discussions that led to ABC shelving an anti-Trump episode of the show, saying he told the network and studio that "this is different."
The episode, with a planned voiceover by Spike Lee, was intended to air Feb. 27, toward the end of the fourth season of the Emmy-nominated series, according to an interview with Barris published Wednesday by The Hollywood Reporter. The premise of the episode was that the character Dre Johnson would tell his infant son a bedtime story about events that occurred during the first year of the child's life.
The bedtime story was to include a mix of political allegory and real world events, including news footage of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and images of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality.
"When you're putting a baby to sleep, you're trying to soothe whatever anxieties they're having," said Barris. "So, this was about me trying to pat the butt of the country and soothe people."
A few days before the episode was intended to air it was indefinitely shelved. Barris had his editors try a few cuts, but ultimately the director and network could not come to an agreement.
"What it ended up being, and I think the network would agree, was not a true representation of what we intended to do," he said. "Because if it was, we would've shown it."
Shortly after the disagreement, Barris began entering negotiations to exit his four-year contract with ABC studios. He left ABC in August and began a contract with Netflix.
Disney executives declined to comment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.