The Zack Morris depicter claims he ‘cringed’ when re-watching himself poke fun at Native American heritage in the controversial episode of his classic TV show.
- Apr 3, 2021
In “Running Zack” – which first aired in 1990 – the actor’s character Zack Morris took an assignment about ancestry as a joke and mocked his Native American heritage, going from wearing wear paint to a full stereotypical outfit including a headdress.
Speaking on his “Zack to the Future” podcast, he said, “I cringed seeing myself portraying a white dude being Zack Morris, who is like the all-American, blond-haired white dude in an Indian Native American headdress.”
Mark-Paul insisted he doesn’t recall filming the controversial scene, which many people consider to be racially insensitive.
“This is one of those that I don’t, I don’t like remember putting on the headdress,” he added. “I don’t remember putting face paint on. I don’t remember standing in that awkward way that I was standing where my arms are folded and like a very stereotypical way.”
However, he is glad that the infamous episode wouldn’t be allowed “in current times” and he suggested there are more “protocols in place.”
“But, again, there are protocols in place to and filters that, you know, like a director, standards and practices, people that I think… we’re much more sensitive now, for good reason, that those things would not happen today,” he explained. “This episode would never get made in current times, and rightly so.”
Mark-Paul previously described the experience of re-watching the sitcom for his podcast as “a little bit tortuous.”
“I feel like it’s a little bit torturous every week for me to go through this process because I am watching my work – and it doesn’t matter that it’s 30 years old, it’s still something that I feel like I can improve,” he said.
Meanwhile, the actor reprised his role of Zack for the recent “Saved by the Bell” reboot series, which has since been renewed for a second season after a successful first run.