Jenny Slate has announced that she is leaving the Netflix animated series “Big Mouth” to make room for a person of color to express her black character.
The 38-year-old actress posted a long note about her “significant anti-racist action” on Instagram, noting that by portraying her biracial character Missy Foreman-Greenwald for the past three seasons, she was “participating in an act of erasing black people. ” . “
“At the beginning of the show, I reasoned with myself that ‘Missy’ was allowed to play because her mother is Jewish and white, like me,” Slate wrote on Instagram. “But ‘Missy’ is also black and black characters on an animated show that should be played by black people.”
“As I look back on nature and the emergence of my own voice in comedy, I know I’ve made mistakes along the way,” Slate continued. “I cannot change the past, but I can take responsibility for my choices. I will continue to engage in meaningful anti-racist action, be thoughtful about the messages in my work, be curious and open to feedback, and do my best to take responsibility for the ways that I am part of the problem. However, the most important thing for anyone who has hurt: I’m so sorry. Black voices should be heard. Black Lives Matter. “
“Big Mouth” co-creators Nick Kroll, Mark Levin, Andrew Goldberg and Jennifer Flackett chimed in with a statement supporting Slate’s departure from the show. “After thoughtful discussion with us and our black collaborators, Jenny Slate has decided, and we totally agree, that Missy in ‘Big Mouth’ should be voiced by a black actor. We sincerely apologize and regret our original decision to choose a white actor to portray a biracial character, “they wrote.” We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and are working hard to improve in the future. We are proud of the representation that Missy has offered to cerebral and sensitive women of color, and we plan to continue that portrayal and further grow Missy’s character as we relaunch a new black actor to portray her. We thank Jenny for her decision and for creating an inspiring character with us, compassionate and very human. “
Fans first mentioned Slate’s cast as a black character ahead of the show’s premiere in September 2017.
“Why is Jenny Slate voicing a black character in #BigMouth?” A Twitter user wrote in 2017. “Is Jenny Slate voicing a black character on this new @netflix show, Big Mouth? in a cast that includes Maya Rudolph? please say it is not like that, ”he added another day later.
As IndieWire pointed out, the decision to portray Slate as a character of color has been criticized “as a cartoon bleach”, along with Alison Brie, who plays a Vietnamese-American character in “BoJack Horseman.”
Netflix renewed “Big Mouth” for three more seasons, according to Variety, although season 4 does not yet have a release date.