LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Actresses Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate announced Wednesday that they would no longer play the roles of biracial characters in the animated series “Central Park” and “Big Mouth.”
Slate announced her decision on Instagram saying, “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. But “Missy” is also Black and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
She went on to say, “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,” Slate said.
“Big Mouth” creators, including comedian Nick Kroll, released a statement shortly after the announcement saying in part, “We sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character. We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and we’re working hard to do better moving forward.”
Also Wednesday, actress Kristen Bell announced she will no longer play “Molly” in the animated series “Central Park.”
“This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Here’s 1 of mine,” Bell wrote on Twitter.
“Playing the Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed-race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed-race & Black American experience.”
This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Heres 1 of mine. Playing the Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character w/a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race & Black American experience. pic.twitter.com/8AL8m4K7Uk
— Kristen Bell (@KristenBell) June 25, 2020