Back in April, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris was fighting to get out of his contract with ABC to leave for Netflix, a move he ultimately made last month. Barris, who had seen a few projects never come to fruition at the network, had reportedly been in conflict with ABC for awhile. But the reason Barris finally decided to leave was because of a mysteriously scrapped Black-ish episode titled “Please, Baby, Please,” which included a commentary on Colin Kaepernick and the state of the country. And now Barris is finally talking about what the hell happened with it.
In a new profile in The Hollywood Reporter, Barris goes into detail about the episode, which centered on Dre telling his son Devante a bed time story that included “news footage of Donald Trump, the Charlottesville attacks and the NFL kneeling protests.” The episode was unique for Black-ish, coming in at a $3 million budget which included animation and a voiceover from Spike Lee. Days before its air date, the episode was pulled and shelved after Barris had been in a tug of war with ABC over the episode for weeks. The profile reads:
Executives at ABC, more than any other network, have been forthright about their desire for more red-state programming since Trump’s win — and with Barris’ latest episode, they feared they’d be alienating the very population they’d tried so hard to court. That Disney brass wouldn’t want to poke Trump himself just as the company was seeking Justice Department approval of its acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox is widely believed to have been a factor as well.
ABC had Barris rework the episode and make a few cuts but “the sheer tonnage of anti-Trump material rippling through the episode ultimately made the exercise futile.” Which, no shit. Have you seen the show!? Barris didn’t want to compromise his vision so he and the network agreed to scrap it rather than run something watered down. Barris is surprisingly diplomatic about the whole situation and refrains from using the word censorship, which it clearly is! “What it ended up being, and I think the network would agree, was not a true representation of what we intended to do,” he says. “Because if it was, we would’ve shown it.”
But if you ever want to see “Please, Baby, Please,” don’t plan on it. Apparently, top cast members can’t even get the episode and the script has been reportedly “wiped from the planet.” “I hope it doesn’t [get out] because I’ll be looked at as the blame for it and I’ll fucking get sued,” Barris says.