Riverdale Boss Apologises For Paying Vanessa Morgan Less Than Co-Stars
Riverdale‘s showrunner has apologised to actor Vanessa Morgan after she revealed she was the lowest-paid series regular on the show.
Amid recent protests against racial injustice across the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Morgan – who plays Toni Topaz – recently took to Twitter to address her issues with the portrayal of black people in mainstream media.
As well as those complaints, the 28-year-old noted that she was the only black series regular on Riverdale and the least-paid. After those comments ignited her fans’ support, triggering the #hearvanessamorgan hashtag to spread, the show’s bosses have pledged positive action in the future.
Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre Sacasa posted a lengthy apology on Twitter, recognising all the points Morgan made as well as promising the show will be ‘part of the Black Lives Matter movement, not outside it’.
The statement read:
We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She’s right. We’re sorry and we make the same promise to you that we did to her. We will do better to honour her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of colour. Change is happening and will continue to happen.
Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller. Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it. All of the Riverdale writers made a donation to [Black Lives Matter LA], but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers’ room.
Morgan joined Riverdale in its second season, eventually being upgraded to a series regular by season three. When Josie McCoy’s Ashleigh Murray moved to CW’s Katy Keene, Morgan became the only black series regular – later, she defended McCoy, who was accused of being a ‘diva’ during her time on the show.
The actor wrote:
Another thing I hate BLACK women being called DIVAS for sticking up for themselves. Maybe the show should write for her like the white characters. You picked the wrong day get off my page.
As the furor around her pay and representation picked up steam, she wrote: ‘My role on Riverdale has nothing to do with my fellow castmates/friends. They don’t write the show. So no need to attack them, they don’t call the shots & I know they have my back.’
In a previous tweet, announcing that she wasn’t being ‘quiet anymore’, Morgan wrote:
Tired of how black people are portrayed in Media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people. Tired of us also being used as sidekick non dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show.
During a recent Black Lives Matter event, Morgan’s co-star Cole Sprouse was arrested alongside a group a peaceful protesters. The actor explained his arrest in an Instagram post, all while noting he doesn’t want to draw attention away from the leaders of the movement as he isn’t the subject, nor is he well-versed enough to comment.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk