The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) refused to air an episode of the television show "Black-ish" that criticized President Donald Trump, Emmy-nominated showrunner Kenya Barris explained in a new Hollywood Reporter interview.
ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, shelved the episode despite it costing more than the usual episode budget of $3 million. The costs included hiring Spike Lee for voiceover work on the episode.
The episode, titled "Please, Baby, Please" had the show's patriarch telling his son a bedtime story that reflected upon his first year of life.
Anthony Anderson, the actor who plays the lead male role, slammed the decision.
"He'd given his blood, sweat and tears to [the episode], which they had signed off on every step of the way — from the outline, to the script, to the table read, to the point where they actually spent the money and made the episode," Anderson, who is also an executive producer explained.
"And I don't know what those conversations were, but we entered into this partnership with the understanding that we would be able to tell the stories that we wanted to tell," Anderson continued.
The episode reportedly included news footage of President Trump, the fatal "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville and the NFL kneeling protests started by Colin Kaepernick.
Bob Iger, the CEO of The Walt Disney Company, reportedly personally intervened, despite being sick with laryngitis.
Even cast members have been unable to see the completed episode and one top rep said the script has been "wiped from the planet."
"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," the Hollywood Reporter explained. "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."
"We certainly knew people would talk about it," Barris noted.
Since ABC reportedly spiked the episode, Barris has taken the show from ABC Studios to Netflix.