Jenny Slate Quit a Show Where She Voiced a Black Character
Big Mouth, a Netflix animated series, is set to recast the role of Missy, currently voiced by Jenny Slate. In an Instagram post, the actor, who has voiced the character for three seasons, announced that she would be stepping aside. In the lengthy note, Slate explained that she believed it wouldn't be an issue to voice Missy, since she has a Jewish mother. However, after reflecting on the fact that the character is also Black, Slate decided it was best if a Black actor voiced Missy, instead.
"I have come to the decision today that I can no longer play the character of 'Missy' on the animated TV show Big Mouth. 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," Slate wrote. "But 'Missy' is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people." She admitted that her initial feelings were flawed and were an example of white supremacy.
"It existed as an example of societal white supremacy, and that in me playing 'Missy,' I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people," she continued.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Slate requested that the show's production team make the change and they agreed.
"We are proud of the representation Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of color, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy's character as we cast a new Black actor to play her," creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett wrote on Twitter.
The show also stars Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele, Gina Rodriguez, and Jason Mantzoukas. Last July, Netflix announced that it renewed the series for three more seasons.