Jenny Slate has officially exited the Netflix series Big Mouth after coming to the decision that it was wrong for her to voice a Black character. The actor/comedian posted a statement to her Instagram account on Wednesday afternoon announcing her departure and her apology for the thought process that led her to accept the part of the Black character Missy despite Slate being white.
“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. “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.”
In a closing paragraph, Slate apologized for her mistake and promised to engage in “meaningful anti-racist action”. She also offered her support to Black Lives Matter.
You can read her full statement below:
In a tandem statement tweeted by Big Mouth creator Nick Kroll, the creative team “wholeheartedly” agreed with Slate’s decision to exit the show and apologized for their role in not originally casting a Black actor.
“We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and we’re working hard to do better moving forward,” the creators said. “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.”
You can read the full statement from the Big Mouth creators below: