Jenny Slate Apologizes For Voicing A Black Character On Big Mouth And Exits Show

Published on June 25, 2020.

ph: ©Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

Jenny Slate has apologized for voicing a black character on Big Mouth and has stepped down from the role.

Slate has voiced the character of Missy Foreman-Greenwald on the Netflix series since 2017 but has decided to leave the series to make room for a Black actor to join the show and voice the role.

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“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 on Instagram.

“But ‘Missy’ is also Black and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people. 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.”

She added, “Ending my portrayal of ‘Missy’ is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.”

She continued, “As I look back on the nature and emergence of my own voice in comedy, I know that I have made mistakes 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-racism action, to be thoughtful about the messages in my work, to be curious and open to feedback and to do my best to take responsibility for the ways that I am a part of the problem.”

She concluded, “Most importantly, though, to anyone that I’ve hurt; I am so very sorry. Black voices must be heard. Black Lives Matter.”

The creators of the show, Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, also spoke out supporting the actress’ decision to leave the show and issued their own apology. “We sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character,” the statement began.

“We wholeheartedly agree that Missy on Big Mouth should be voiced by a Black actor,” they continued. “We are proud of the representation that Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of color, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy’s character as we recast a new Black actor to play her. … We look forward to being able to explore Missy’s story with even greater authenticity in the years to come.”

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