Jenny Slate has announced that she will no longer voice the character of Missy on the series Big Mouth. The character on the Netflix animated series is biracial, and Slate, who is white, wrote on Instagram that “Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
“I have come to the decision today that I can no longer play the character of ‘Missy’ on the animated TV show Big Mouth,” wrote Slate. “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 goes on to acknowledge how her “original reasoning was flawed,” and served “as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of societal white supremacy,” and that in playing Missy, she “was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.”
Her full statement can be read below.
Series creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett posted a statement on Twitter supporting Slate’s decision to leave the show and promising to recast a Black actor in the role.
"We are proud of the representation Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of color, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy's character as we cast a new Black actor to play her,” the statement read. “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.”
Here's their full statement:
The first three seasons of Big Mouth are available to stream on Netflix. The series has been renewed for three more seasons on the streaming platform.