Saturday, October 23, 2021

White Actresses Jenny Slate, Kristen Bell Exit Biracial Voice Roles: ‘Black Characters Should be Played by Black People’

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Jenny Slate and her biracial character Missy in the Netflix series “Big Mouth”

*Two white actress who voice biracial animated characters took to Instagram separately Wednesday to announce that they are exiting the respective roles, citing an acknowledgement of “pervasive privilege” and being “part of the problem.”

Jenny Slate announced that she will no longer play the biracial character Missy on Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” because “Black characters should be played by Black people.”

Slate said she came to the decision as part of her “life-long process of uncovering the racism in my own actions.”

“Big Mouth” co-creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett posted a statement as well supporting Slate’s decision. “We sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character.” The creators then vowed to recast the role with a Black actor. “We look forward to being able to explore Missy’s story with even greater authenticity in the years to come,” they concluded.

Variety is reporting that production has already wrapped on Season 4, meaning Missy will be voiced by a new actress starting with Season 5.

Watch clips of Missy from “Big Mouth” below, followed by Slate’s full statement:

 

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Kristen Bell and the character Molly on "Central Park." Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images, Apple Plus TV
Kristen Bell and her former character Molly on “Central Park.” Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images, Apple Plus TV

Kristen Bell also announced on Instagram Wednesday that she will no longer voice the mixed race role of Molly Tillerman on the Apple TV+ series “Central Park.” Bell and show creator Josh Gad issued a statement posted to their respective Instagram accounts. It said in part, “After reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes that the casting of the character of Molly is an opportunity to get representation right — to cast a Black or mixed race actress and give Molly a voice that resonates with all of the nuance and experiences of the character as we’ve drawn her.”

Bell said she will remain with the show in a different capacity.

Watch the trailer for Apple TV+’s “Central Park” below. Molly speaks at the :34. 1:06 and 1:28 marks.

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