Star Trek Actor Defends The Most Controversial Next Generation Episode Ever

Cirroc Lofton, one of the stars of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, says he's in favor of the offensive Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Code of Honor" remaining in circulation.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

jake sisko
Cirroc Lofton in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Even a franchise as progressive as Star Trek is still a product of the time in which it was created. One particularly egregious episode, Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “Code of Honor,” revolved around a race of black aliens dressed in culturally insensitive tribal attire—something many audiences didn’t consider offensive in 1987. Now as CinemaBlend reports, Deep Space Nine actor Cirroc Lofton is defending the episode from a possible Paramount+ ban.

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From the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Code of Honor

Lofton, known to Trekkies as DS9‘s Jake Sisco, is currently working his way through the entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation and discussing the individual episodes on his podcast, The 7th Rule, along with Star Trek veteran Denise Crosby. Crosby, who played Security Officer Tasha Yar in “Code of Honor,” also thinks the season 1 episode should remain available to stream.

“Honor” has a reputation as one of the most loathed episodes among the fanbase. A low point, even for the generally weak first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the episode introduced the Ligonians, a race of aliens played entirely by actors of color and dressed in a 1940s tribal aesthetic. Think turbans and all the wild colors and patterns a white creative team would assume Africans wear on a daily basis.

In all fairness, though the greater public consciousness may not have found the Ligonians and their stereotypical “native” garb racially insensitive in the ’80s, many cast members did denounce the episode once they saw the finished product. Commander Riker himself, Jonathan Frakes, even tried unsuccessfully to prevent the episode from being re-aired. Michael Dorn, who played Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has expressed his happiness that his character doesn’t appear in “Code of Honor.”

From the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Code of Honor

Believe it or not, the episode’s now outdated and offensive treatment of its African American actors is exactly why Cirroc Lofton thinks the Star Trek episode should stay on Paramount+. Lofton mentioned how important it is for younger people to learn from history in order to grow beyond it. Lofton believes that if offensive content like “Code of Honor” is simply hidden away and forgotten, society can no longer use it as a benchmark to look back on and see how far we’ve come.

In other words, if society can’t see the progress it’s made, then there is no progress.

Lofton isn’t against pointing out the problems with “Code of Honor” however. The actor is in favor of including a disclaimer at the beginning of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, much like Disney+ did with certain episodes of The Muppet Show and Max has done with its Looney Tunes content. That way, viewers can be aware of what kind of offensive material the episode contains and decide for themselves if they want to watch it.

Paramount+ has put similar disclaimers in front of shows like Jackass, and it’s worked fine for them so far. With so many bright spots in the largely positive and inclusive Star Trek franchise, it’s important to acknowledge the missteps like “Code of Honor” if for no other reason than to highlight that even Star Trek has made mistakes on the road to its multicultural utopia.

Mistakes we can only learn from if we are aware of their existence.

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