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What’s With the Racist Backlash Against a Spin-Off of ‘The Office’?

Leslie David Baker was a bit of a scene-stealer on The Office, where he played Stanley Hudson, a salesman prone to angry outbursts at boss Michael Scott’s antics. He’s currently crowdfunding a spin-off for the character called Uncle Stan in which the character moves to LA to help run his nephew’s small business. It sounds a little like Sanford and Son to me. Sanford and Nephew.

The Kickstarter for the pilot episode just successfully concluded over the weekend, so they’re going to make at least one episode. It’s worth mentioning that the show isn’t technically a spin-off because they don’t have any rights to The Office, so it’s just Baker playing a guy named Stan who happens to be exactly like the character he played on The Office.

Okay, if I’m honest, this is probably going to be a train wreck. I want to be wrong, Leslie David Baker seems lovely and he was really funny on The Office, but I don’t have high hopes of this show working out, especially considering that it’s basically a bootleg.

Even though I’m not particularly enthusiastic about the spin-off, I’m still somewhat taken aback by the hateful, racist response Baker has gotten to the show, some of which he posted on his Instagram.

Yeah, this is not right. Here’s what Baker said about the situation to USA Today.

“Racism doesn’t care whether or not you’re an actor on TV or if you won awards,” he said. “This is something that faces minorities on any job, not just because they’re in show business.”

“It’s not riding down the street in the hood with the burning cross, but instead it’s been replaced with the new technology,” he said. “We think that the old photographs that we see of people being persecuted on the way to school in the South and trying to vote in the ’60s, we think that all of those people have died out. They haven’t died out. They got married. They had children. They had grandchildren, great grandchildren. But they took those beliefs with them, and in many cases, they have not altered those beliefs.”

I don’t think you need me to tell you that racism is bad and I hope you don’t need me to tell you it still exists. You can say that Uncle Stan sounds kind of cheesy in that sitcommy way most sitcoms are cheesy, but it’s a pretty far leap from that to “oh, he’s black, this must be a scam.” The man just wants to make the best TV show he can and we should hope he succeeds because if he does, we can watch and enjoy it.

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