Netflix’s ‘Big Mouth’ & Apple TV+’s ‘Central Park’ Recast Mixed Race Characters
Two animated comedies will be recasting mixed race characters before their next seasons.
On Wednesday, Jenny Slate announced in an Instagram post that she will no longer be voicing Missy on Netflix’s Big Mouth. “I have come to the decision today that I can no longer play the character,” she wrote. “At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play ‘Missy’ because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I. But ‘Missy’ is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
“I acknowledge how my original reasoning was flawed, that it existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of societal white supremacy, and that in me playing ‘Missy,’ I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people,” she continued. Read her full statement below.
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The animated comedy’s creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett said in their own statement that they “wholeheartedly agree” with Slate “after thoughtful discussion with us and our Black collaborators” and apologized for their casting decision. “We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and we’re working hard to do better moving forward,” they wrote. Read their full statement:
— nick kroll (@nickkroll) June 24, 2020
“After reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes that the casting of the character of Molly is an opportunity to get representation right — to cast a Black or mixed race actress and give Molly a voice that resonates with all of the nuance and experiences of the character as we’ve drawn her,” the show’s producers, Loren Bouchard, Josh Gad, Nora Smith, Halsted Sullivan and Sanjay Shah, said in a statement, adding they are “committed to creating opportunities for people of color and Black people in all roles, on all our projects.”
Our statement today. My deepest apology for getting this decision wrong originally, and for fumbling through a non-explanation in the press earlier this year. I truly appreciate everyone who reached out to me here to voice concern, anger, frustration – all of it. I’m listening. pic.twitter.com/Utt8HQPb7S
— loren bouchard (@lorenbouchard) June 24, 2020
Bell, who will remain part of Central Park‘s cast in a different role, added her own statement on Instagram. “This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity,” she wrote. “Playing the character of Molly on Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience.”
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This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Here is one of mine. Playing the character of Molly on Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience. It was wrong and we, on the Central Park team, are pledging to make it right. I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal and I will commit to learning, growing and doing my part for equality and inclusion.
There have been three seasons of Big Mouth so far, and it has already been renewed for three more. Central Park‘s first season was just released on May 29, and it will be back for a second.