The former star of “Saved By The Bell” was forced to apologize for a skit he did on the teen hit show 26 years ago before he was allowed to promote his new show on one entertainment website.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar spoke to “Entertainment Weekly” in an interview Thursday to plug his new show “Pitch” about a female baseball player in the major leagues, but before he was allowed to speak about that he had to apologize for his teen character’s portrayal of a Native American in a 1990 episode of SVTB.
In the episode titled, “Running Zack,” Gosselaar’s character Zack Morris discovers he has Native American ancestry in his bloodline and, when he has to do a presentation on his family heritage, dresses his friend Screech (played by Dustin Diamond) and himself in a headdress and warpaint.
Entertainment Weekly wasn’t going to let that two and a half decade old faux pas slide before talking to him about “Pitch.”
“We allow Mark-Paul Gosselaar to pitch, um, Pitch – the Fox drama on which he stars as a San Diego Padres catcher who’s mentoring professional baseball’s first female pitcher – if he apologizes for a previous sin against pop culture,” the website wrote.
“The one part of the episode — well, there’s probably more parts — that I think specifically deserves an ‘I’m Sorry About That’: He gives a – I’m doing this in air quotes – ‘presentation’ that consists of putting war paint on Screech and giving him a toy tomahawk — and he has Screech stagger around and grunt at people,” Gosselaar said. “Zack doesn’t get in trouble for this completely racist presentation, and the only punishment is he’ll have to skip the big track meet if he doesn’t take the project seriously.
“His teacher introduces him to Chief Henry, who appears to live in someone’s garage and bestows wisdom onto Zack before he drops dead without explanation at the end of the episode. On the plus side, Zack takes his ancestry seriously and gives another ‘presentation.’ Of course, he gets into full Native American costume with face paint and a headdress.That’s another ‘I’m Sorry’ moment. … Actually, there’s a picture of me online I found as well. So, uh, yeah… good stuff. I hope the kids don’t catch that episode.”
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