Jenny Slate And Kristen Bell Step Down From Voicing Black Characters On Big Mouth And Central Park
Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell, whose voices feature in popular cartoons Big Mouth and Central Park, have announced they will be stepping down from voicing black characters.
Jenny Slate, who has voiced Missy in Big Mouth since it began, announced her departure in a statement on Instagram in which she said 'black characters on an animated show should be played by black people'.
She said: "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 with a system of societal white supremacy and that in me playing 'Missy', I was engaging in an act of erasure of black people.
"Ending my portrayal of 'Missy' is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions."
She ended her post by saying: "Most importantly though, to anyone that I've hurt: I am so very sorry. Black voices must be heard. Black lives matter."
Nick Kroll, co-creator of Big Mouth, then took to social media to say he and fellow creators Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett 'wholeheartedly agree' with Jenny's decision, and apologised to fans for their 'original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character'.
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Following on from Jenny's announcement, the creators of Central Park announced they would be recasting their biracial character Molly, who is voiced by Kristen Bell.
The statement reads in part: "Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognises 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."
View this post on InstagramThis 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.
A post shared by kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on
The statement went on to say that Kristen would be staying on in the show but would be in a new role.
Sharing the statement on her Instagram page, Kirsten added: "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."
Featured Image Credit: Netflix
Topics: TV and Film