Hulu criticized for pulling 'Golden Girls' episode

After Hulu recently removed an episode of "The Golden Girls" from its platform, critics are calling the streaming giant's decision an "overcorrection."

The episode in question, originally aired on NBC in 1988, is titled "Mixed Blessings." It revolves around Dorothy, played by Beatrice Arthur, being concerned that her son is marrying a considerably older woman, Lorraine, played by Rosalind Cash. Meanwhile, the woman's mother, played by Virginia Capers, is upset because Dorothy's son is white and her daughter is Black.

The controversial scene comes when two of Dorothy's friends — Rose, played by Betty White, and Blanche, played by Rue McClanahan — are trying out a mud face mask and meet Lorraine's family for the first time.

"This is mud on our faces. We're not really Black," Rose says, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Twitter users were quick to criticize Hulu's decision, with the most prevalent argument being that the characters weren't actually wearing blackface.

As writer Roxane Gay explained, "Removing this episode is weird, counterproductive and stupid. It diminishes the effort to actually end racism. It's just so dumb."

Podcaster and author Erica Williams Simon added: "First of all, they were in mud masks not blackface. And second of all, in what world does 'Stop killing us' sound like 'Please remove episodes of Golden Girls'? I didn't see that ask on anyone's protest sign."

She continued in a follow-up tweet, "To be clear: I'm not 'attacking' Hulu. I would just hate for the seriousness of this moment and movement to get lost in symbolic (and sometimes silly) overcorrections."

Journalist and blogger Imani Gandy questioned the decision by sharing her support for "The Golden Girls" characters.

"I like how they think Black people don't know our Golden Girls," she tweeted. "Dorothy, Rose, Sophia and Blanche are the least problematic white women in all of television, which is fairly impressive considering that show was on air in the ... mid-80s."

One user who goes by Raevin on Twitter called removing the episode "a calculated effort to cheapen our message." Another stressed that "Mud facials and black people aren't synonymous."

Hulu's decision follows several other distributors removing TV scenes with depictions of blackface.

Earlier this month, Tina Fey asked that four episodes of "30 Rock," which originally aired on NBC, be pulled from streaming services and syndication, as they feature characters in blackface. The episodes in question are also no longer available to purchase on iTunes or Google Play.

"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 wrote in a statement. "I understand now that 'intent' is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for pain they have caused. Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBCUniversal for honoring this request."

(NBCUniversal is also the parent company of NBC News.)

Hulu did not immediately respond to TODAY's request for comment. It is unclear whether the episode of "The Golden Girls" will return to the streaming platform.

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STUDIO CITY, CA - JANUARY 16: Actress Betty White poses at the celebration of her 93rd birthday on the set of 'Hot in Cleveland' held at CBS Studios - Radford on January 16, 2015 in Studio City, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for TV Land)
BETTY WHITE -- Pictured: Actress Betty White c. 1954 -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - MAY 09: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Betty White attends Betty White fashion shoot for The Lifeline Program at Smashbox Bigbox on May 9, 2012 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Brian To/Getty Images for The Lifeline Program)
OFF THEIR ROCKERS -- 'Betty's House' Episode 201 -- Pictured: Betty White -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 2: Actress Betty White sits down with the hosts of THE TALK, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Betty White shown. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Betty White appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
STUDIO CITY, CA - AUGUST 04: Actress Betty White attends the 'Hooray for HollyWOOF!' 35th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser for Dogs for the Deaf at The Sportsman's Lodge on August 4, 2012 in Studio City, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was processed using digital filters.) Actresses Betty White and Ellen DeGeneres attend The 41st Annual People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre LA Live on January 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chris Polk/Getty Images for The People's Choice Awards)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 19: Actress Betty White presents at the 57th Annual Writers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on February 19, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
A headshot portrait of American actor Betty White wearing a veiled hat, circa 1955. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 2: Actress Betty White arrives at the premiere of her movie 'Bringing Down The House' on March 2, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 17: Betty White with Craig Ferguson on THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON, scheduled to air Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 14: Actress Betty White attends the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's (GLAZA) 44th Annual Beastly Ball at Los Angeles Zoo on June 14, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama talks with acclaimed actress Betty White in the Oval Office of the White House June 11, 2012 in Washington, DC.

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