In a surprising but necessary move, it was announced yesterday that Jenny Slate would be coming out of the Netflix series Big Mouth, with news from Kristen bellHis departure from his role in the musical series Apple TV + Central Park following soon after. Both white actresses voiced non-white characters in these animated series, and themselves and the powers that be decided that, well, this probably wasn’t a great idea.
In Big MouthSlate voiced Missy Foreman-Greenwald, an extremely friendly and nerdy young mongrel who struggles through adolescence along with the rest of the characters. In a statement released by the creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levinand Jennifer Flackett Yesterday, it was announced that Slate had decided (and agreed) that Missy should be voiced by a non-white actor. “We sincerely apologize and regret our original decision to choose a white actor to portray a biracial character,” the statement read. “We made a mistake, we took our privilege for granted and we are working hard to improve.” The show will re-launch a black actor to play Missy in the future, as the Netflix series was recently renewed for three additional seasons. “We look forward to exploring Missy’s story more authentically in the years to come,” the statement concluded.
How to Central ParkThat new Apple TV + animated series premiered just a couple of months ago and featured Bell voicing one of the lead roles in Molly Tillerman, the daughter of the Central Park manager (voiced by Leslie Odom Jr.) and a reporter (Kathryn Hahn) The show was designed to be a musical complete with Broadway-caliber songs and stars, and there’s no denying Bell’s tremendous vocal talent. But choosing her as a mixed-race girl was wrong.
Bell tweeted yesterday a statement from the show’s creative team, taking full responsibility by adding her own thoughts: “Playing Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my widespread privilege. Launching a mixed-race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and the African-American experience. “The creative team added in its statement that the Frozen The actress will continue to be part of the show in a new role, but they will find a new actress to lend her voice to Molly. “We deeply regret having contributed to the feeling of exclusion or erasure of any person,” the statement read. “Black people and people of color have worked and will continue to work in Central ParkBut we can do better. We are committed to creating opportunities for people of color and black people in all roles, in all of our projects, behind the microphone, in the writers’ room, in production, and in post-production. “
You can read both statements in their entirety below.
– nick kroll (@nickkroll) June 24, 2020
This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Here’s 1 of mine. Playing Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my widespread privilege. Launching a mixed-race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed-race and African-American experience. pic.twitter.com/8AL8m4K7Uk
– Kristen Bell (@KristenBell) June 25, 2020