Mark-Paul Gosselaar admitted that he cringes while re-watching some of his old appearances on Saved by the Bell.
In particular, the actor is not a fan of the 1990 episode “Running Zack,” in which his character, Zack Morris, insensitively wears a traditional Native American headdress to class.
“I cringed seeing myself portraying a white dude being Zack Morris, who is like the all-American, blonde-haired white dude in an Indian Native American headdress,” Mark-Paul, 47, said on the Zack to the Future podcast, per Today.
In the Saved by the Bell episode, Zack’s class is presenting about their ancestry. The track star finds a photo of a Native American at his house and assumes it’s a picture of a “distant Indian relative.” He doesn’t take the presentation seriously and puts faux war paint on Screech’s (Dustin Diamond) face using red lipstick. When his teacher asks what tribe he’s from, Zack guesses, “Cherokee.”
His teacher isn’t impressed, but gives him a second chance and tells him to go speak to her friend, Chief Henry. After learning that his ancestor was a chief named Whispering Wind, Zack comes to class in a stereotypical Native American headdress to show off his family history.