Mad Men makes its IMDb TV debut on July 15. When it does so, the series will add a disclaimer to the episode that contains "Roger Sterling" performing in blackface.
Variety reported the news as part of the announcement that Amazon acquired streaming rights to Mad Men, which aired on AMC from 2007 to 2015. Amazon will stream the series on IMDb TV, reportedly for free - but with commercials - beginning on July 15.
Upon Mad Men's arrival on IMDb TV, Lionsgate intends to add a title card prior to the season 3 episode "My Old Kentucky Home."
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Mad Men to address blackface scene in "My Old Kentucky Home"
In the episode, John Slattery's character "Roger Sterling" dons full blackface as he sings "My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night," an anti-slavery ballad, to his wife at a party. A source told Variety that the disclaimer will "provide context for the blackface scene." The title card will reportedly read:
"This episode contains disturbing images related to race in America. One of the characters is shown in blackface as part of an episode that shows how commonplace racism was in America in 1963.
"In its reliance on historical authenticity, the series producers are committed to exposing the injustices and inequities within our society that continue to this day so we can examine even the most painful parts of our history in order to reflect on who we are today and who we want to become. We are therefore presenting the original episode in its entirety."
In the scene, most guests enjoy "Sterling's" performance, but a few also react with aversion to his actions. The character's racist views also form the basis of conflicts in other episodes of the series, which, while focused on the advertising world, explores various facets of 1960s American life and culture.
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Mad Men responds to blackface scene for new streaming move
Mad Men becomes another media work to respond to concerns surrounding problematic and racially-insensitive content. Where other programs, such as Scrubs, 30 Rock, The Office, and The Golden Girls, have removed blackface scenes due to their humorous or misguided treatment, Mad Men elects to keep its scene, citing its critical and historical purpose on the period drama series.