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Jenny Slate Apologises For Voicing Black Character In Big Mouth And Resigns From Show

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 25 Jun 2020 07:43
Jenny Slate Apologises For Voicing Black Character In Big Mouth And Resigns From ShowJenny Slate Apologises For Voicing Black Character In Big Mouth And Resigns From ShowNetflix/PA Images

Jenny Slate, who voices the character of Missy in Netflix’s hit animation Big Mouth, has said she is resigning from the show.

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Slate took to Instagram to announce the news, saying ‘Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people’.

Slate, an actor and comedian, has voiced Missy since Big Mouth premiered on Netflix in 2017. It’s reported she has already recorded her parts for the upcoming fourth season, which will air as planned. The character will then be recast.

Jenny Slate Apologises For Voicing Black Character In Big Mouth And Resigns From ShowJenny Slate Apologises For Voicing Black Character In Big Mouth And Resigns From ShowNetflix

Slate 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.’

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She continued:

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. Ending my portrayal of “Missy” is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.

Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg and the team behind Big Mouth also issued a statement in support of Slate, saying they ‘wholeheartedly agree’, and they ‘sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character’.

Kroll and the team thanked Slate for her decision, while also thanking her for ‘creating with us an inspiring, compassionate, and very human character’.

In a similar move, it’s also been announced Kristen Bell will no longer voice the character of Molly on the Apple TV+ animated series Central Park.

Apple TV+’s new animated musical comedy comes from the creators of Bob’s Burgers, and stars Kristen Bell, Josh Gad and Stanley Tucci.

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In a statement posted to Instagram today, June 25, Bell announced her departure from the role, saying: ‘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.’

Though season two of Central Park has already been recorded, the team are looking to recast Molly as soon as possible and rerecord the dialogue, according to Deadline.

Big Mouth seasons one, two and three are available on Netflix now. Season four does not yet have a release date.

Central Park season one is available to stream now on Apple TV+.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Film and TV, Big Mouth, character, comedy, Jenny Slate, Missy, Netflix, nick kroll, Now, resign

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Deadline and 1 other
  1. Deadline

    ‘Central Park’: Kristen Bell Will No Longer Voice Mixed-Race Character Molly; Will Play New Role On Apple TV+ Animated Series

  2. Jenny Slate/Instagram

    @jennyslate