Jenny Slate is exiting her role as Missy 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 mum 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.
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 playing ‘Missy’ I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.”
Slate, 38, continued, “Ending my portrayal of ‘Missy’ is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.”
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 made a mistake, took our privilege for granted and we’re working hard to do better moving forward,” they said. “We sincerely apologise for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character.”
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.
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.