Two actors on high-profile animated series have resigned in the space of a few hours, for the same reason: they were white women playing black characters. From now, Jenny Slate will no longer voice Missy on Netflix’s Big Mouth, and Kristen Bell will no longer voice Molly on Apple TV+’s Central Park.
Slate, who had voiced Missy since Big Mouth debuted in 2017, took to Instagram to announce the decision — which was hers — and apologize. “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,” she wrote. “But ‘Missy’ is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
The show’s creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Golberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett issued a statement of their own, in which they vowed to “recast a new black actor.” They wrote: “We sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to play a biracial character.”