A lost episode of black-ish that ABC controversially pulled years ago has been released onto Hulu, the show’s creator, Kenya Barris, announced on Monday.
“I’m excited to share that ‘Please, Baby, Please’ is now available on Hulu,” Barris wrote in a statement posted to social media. “Following the re-airing of ‘Juneteenth’ and ‘Hope,’ I asked Walt Disney Television to revisit making the episode available. Recognizing the importance of this moment, they listened and agreed.”
Shot in November 2017, one year after President Donald Trump won the presidential election, the episode was built around a bedtime story Dre (show star Anthony Anderson) told his infant son about the previous year in current events. The episode, whose title was inspired by the Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee children’s book of the same name (Spike was featured as a narrator of “Please, Baby, Please”), included actual news footage of President Trump, the Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist rally, and NFL player protests against police brutality during the national anthem.
Just before it was set to air in February 2018, however, ABC pulled the show over what network representatives and Barris claimed were “creative differences.”
“One of the things that has always made black-ish so special is how it deftly examines delicate social issues in a way that simultaneously entertains and educates,” an ABC rep said at the time. “However, on this episode there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”
In May of 2018, then ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey elaborated further on the decision, claiming the episode wasn’t pulled because of the controversy around NFL athletes kneeling in protest during the national anthem, as had been widely speculated.
“We have long been supportive of Kenya and team tackling challenging and controversial issues in the show and we have always traditionally been able to come to a place creatively where we felt good about the story he was telling, even if we felt it was pushing some hot buttons,” Dungey said in a conference call. “And he felt he was getting to share the story in the way it should be shared. I think with this particular episode, there were a number of different elements to the episode that we had a hard time coming to terms on. Much has been made of the kneeling part of it, which was not even really the issue. But I don’t want to get into that too much. At the end of the day, it was a mutual decision between Kenya and the network to not put the episode out and I think we all feel that was the best decision overall.”