The conservative black activist group Project 21 has its sights on comedian and writer Tina Fey, requesting that the John. F Kennedy Center rescind her 2010 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, citing the resurfacing of blackface on her television show "30 Rock" and her request to remove the content from streaming platforms.
Project 21, an initiative under the National Center for Public Policy Research, has called upon the Kennedy Center to reconsider honoring Fey in a press release posted on June 26.
“We are not trying to cancel Tina Fey. Tina Fey cancelled herself when she asked Hulu to purge offensive episodes of ‘30 Rock,’ calling the fruits of her creativity ‘ugliness,’” said Project 21 member Horace Cooper in a statement. "We are simply alerting the Kennedy Center – which has acted in the past to protect itself and the integrity of the Twain Prize – to do so again in light of Tina Fey’s admission.”
Fey, a former SNL cast member, and the mind behind television shows like "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and the movie "Mean Girls" made the decision to remove episodes of "30 Rock" containing blackface from all streaming platforms.
“As we strive to do the work and do better in regards to race in America, we believe that these episodes featuring actors in race-changing makeup are best taken out of circulation,” Fey said a statement according to Vulture. “I understand now that ‘intent' is not a free pass for white people to use these images."
Cooper, Council Nedd II and Stacy Washington, who are all co-chairmen of Project 21, made their request in a letter delivered to Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein and President Deborah F. Rutter on June 26.
"We do not seek to 'cancel Ms. Fey for the purpose of political correctness," said the letter. "We do not seek to end her entertainment career. Instead, we are asking you to act to preserve the integrity of the Twain Prize and the Kennedy Center itself."
In 2018, Bill Cosby had the same prize he won in 2009 rescinded, along with his 1998 lifetime achievement award after he was found guilty of sexual assault.