Jenny Slate to stop voicing black character in animated series
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Jenny Slate to stop voicing black character in animated series

The actress revealed on Instagram she had reasoned with herself 'it was permissible ... to play Missy in Big Mouth because her mum is Jewish and white - as am I.'

Jenny Slate (Credit: Mingle Media TV - https://www.flickr.com/photos/minglemediatv/14357472371, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33294247)
Jenny Slate (Credit: Mingle Media TV - https://www.flickr.com/photos/minglemediatv/14357472371, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33294247)

Jewish actress Jenny Slate announced she will no longer voice a black character in the animated series Big Mouth, saying her taking the role was “engaging in an act of erasure of Black people”.

The 38-year-old had starred as Missy in the Netflix comedy, but the role will now be recast.

It comes amid a renewed focus on diversity in Hollywood following worldwide protests against racial injustice.

Writing on Instagram explaining her decision, Slate said: “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.”

Slate, who has been on the cast of Big Mouth since it premiered in 2017, added: “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.”

In a joint statement, Big Mouth creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett said: “We sincerely apologise for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character.”

They confirmed the role would be recast with a black actor. Three seasons of Big Mouth are available on Netflix, with a fourth on the way.

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