Orlando Jones in American Gods
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Credit: Starz

Orlando Jones says he was fired from American Gods because his character sent 'wrong message'

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Dec 14, 2019

Have we seen the last of Mr. Nancy on the Starz TV series American Gods?

Orlando Jones, the actor who portrays the old Anansi god, has taken to Twitter to claim he was fired from the series on Sept. 10, in an emotional minute-long video addressed to fans. A rep for American Gods, meanwhile, says that the actor’s exit from the series was due to the demands of the story.

In the video, Jones claims he was let go from the series after the new Season 3 showrunner (whom he does not name) allegedly characterized the portrayal of Mr. Nancy as, according to Jones, "angry" and the "wrong message for black America."

Charles Eglee was brought on in March to replace departing showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green following the conclusion of Season 2.

Here's the full video; please be warned for explicit language:

In the video, Jones goes on to say, "That’s right. This white man sits in that decision-making chair, and I’m sure he has many black BFFs who are his advisors and made it clear to him that if he did not get rid of that angry god Mr. Nancy he’d start a Denmark Vesey uprising in this country. I mean, what else could it be?”

Denmark Vesey was a skilled carpenter convicted of planning a slave revolt along with fellow leaders of the African Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 1822.

In a statement to SYFY WIRE, a spokesperson for American Gods said that Jones would not be returning to the show because his character “is not featured in the portion of the book we are focusing on within season three.”

“The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material,” the full statement reads. “Mr. Jones’ option was not picked up because Mr. Nancy, among other characters, is not featured in the portion of the book we are focusing on within season three. Several new characters, many of which have already been announced, be introduced into Shadow Moon’s world that will further contribute to the show’s legacy as one of the most diverse series on television.”

In his video Jones thanked the creator of American Gods, Neil Gaiman, for writing the book and allowing him to play the role of Mr. Nancy. Additionally he went on to thank Gaiman for giving him the opportunity to take on writing and producing work during Season 2. Jones also thanked Fuller and Green for creating the series. The showrunners were responsible for adapting Gaiman's popular 2001 novel.

Jones has made a series of follow-up tweets clarifying the dates of his firing. The tweet also alleges problematic behavior from the series' producers Fremantle.

This story was originally published on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2:05 p.m. and updated at 7:50 p.m.

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