Jenny Slate, who voices mixed-race character Missy in Netflix‘s animated comedy Big Mouth, has quit her role on the show.
In a Instagram posted yesterday, the actress announced she will no longer lend her voice to the role as “Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people”.
“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,” she said.
“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,” she added.
Slate, who also appeared in Parks and Recreation and film Obvious Child, added that she has been reflecting on her comedy career and apologises for the mistakes she made “along the way”.
“I can’t change the past, but I can take accountability for my choices. I will continue to engage in meaningful anti-racist action, to be thoughtful about the messages in my work, to be curious and open to feedback,” she said. “Most importantly, though, to anyone that I’ve hurt I am so very sorry.”
Big Mouth’s star and creator Nick Kroll released a statement shortly afterwards on Twitter, apologising for casting 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,” the statement read. The
He added that the team are planning to recast a Black actor in the role to play Missy. “We look forward to being able to explore Missy’s story with even greater authenticity in the years to come.”
Three series of Big Mouth, which also stars John Mulaney, Jason Mantzoukas, Maya Rudolph and Jordan Peele, have streamed on Netflix since 2017.
Slate’s exit coincides with Kristen Bell quitting her role on Central Park, in which she also voiced a mixed-race character.
Big Mouth is available to stream on Netflix. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.