Jenny Slate says she’ll no longer voice Black character Missy on ‘Big Mouth’
Jenny Slate has announced that she will no longer voice the character of Missy on Netflix animated series Big Mouth after the upcoming fourth season of the series which is already completed. Netflix says the character of Missy will continue and "the producers are actively looking for a new voice actress."
“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,” she wrote on Instagram. “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.
As I look back on the nature and emergence of my own voice and 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-racist 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 way that I am part of the problem. Most importantly though to anyone that I’ve hurt: I am so very sorry. Black voices must be heard. Black Lives Matter."
Vulture notes that Big Mouth creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett also announced the news on Kroll's Instagram: "After thoughtful discussion with us and our Black collaborators, Jenny Slate has decided, and we wholeheartedly agree, that Missy on Big Mouth should be voiced by a Black actor. We sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast 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. We are proud of the representation that Missy has offered cerebral sensitive women of color and we plan to continue the representation and further grow Missy's character as we recast a new Black actor to play her. We thank Jenny and her decision, and for creating with us an inspiring, compassionate and very human character. We look forward to being able to explore this is story with even greater authenticity in the years to come."