In a profile on Net-a-Porter, Tina Fey talks parenting, body hair, reality television and being the “mean girl” back in high school. She’s also clear about her disdain for internet outrage, and says she refuses to spend time explaining her jokes.
“We did an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episode and the internet was in a whirlwind, calling it ‘racist’, but my new goal is not to explain jokes,” she says in the interview. “I feel like we put so much effort into writing and crafting everything, they need to speak for themselves. There’s a real culture of demanding apologies, and I’m opting out of that.”
Fey is most likely referencing an episode of her hit Netflix series in which Jane Krakowski’s rich, WASP-y character, Jacqueline Voorhees, is revealed to be a Native American who rejected her background. After dyeing her hair blonde and getting blue contacts, she decides to pass as a white woman and move to New York City. In a flashback, she tells her parents, “If you want to get anywhere, you have to be blonde and white.” By the end of the season, Jacqueline eventually accepts her Native heritage, but not without a series of stereotypical caricatures. Naturally, the episode inspired a healthy amount of online criticism.
Vulture points out the response Robert Carlock, Unbreakable’s co-creator, had to the backlash. “We have a couple of writers on staff with Native American heritage […] So we felt like we had a little room to go in that direction,” he said. “Wouldn’t that be a crazy ‘A-to-Z’ for her to deal with that, and maybe reconcile with it, and re-embrace who she really is, ultimately.”
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It may be telling that Fey gave this interview to Net-a-Porter, an online retailer. “Steer clear of the internet and you’ll live forever,” she advises. GUESS WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!
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