Jenny Slate exits "Big Mouth": "Black characters should be played by Black people"

Slate stated that voicing the biracial character was "engaging in an act of erasure of Black people"

Published June 25, 2020 3:08PM (EDT)

Jenny Slate as Missy Foreman-Greenwald in "Big Mouth" (Netflix)
Jenny Slate as Missy Foreman-Greenwald in "Big Mouth" (Netflix)

This article originally appeared on Variety.


Jenny Slate is exiting her role as Missy (pictured above) on the Netflix show "Big Mouth" due to the character being biracial while Slate is 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 on Instagram. But 'Missy' is also Black and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people."

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Slate went on to acknowledge that by portraying Missy she 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," she continued.

Slate's full statement can be read below.

"Big Mouth" co-creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett posted a statement as well supporting Slate's decision. "We sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character."

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The creators then vowed to recast the role with a Black actor. "We look forward to being able to explore Missy's story with even greater authenticity in the years to come," they concluded.

According to an individual with knowledge of the production, production has already wrapped on Season 4, meaning Missy will be voiced by a new actress starting with Season 5.

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It was announced last year that Netflix had renewed "Big Mouth" for three more seasons, which will bring the show to six seasons total. Season 3 of the show aired in October. There is not currently a premiere date set for Season 4.



A post shared by Jenny Slate (@jennyslate) on Jun 24, 2020 at 1:00pm PDT

By Joe Otterson

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Big Mouth Inclusion Jenny Slate Representation Tv Variety Whitewashing