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Orlando Jones Alleges Racial Bias Lead to ‘American Gods’ Season 3 Firing

The departures of Jones and Mousa Kraish are the latest in a series of controversies for Fremantle, which produces the show.

American Gods Season 2 2019 Orlando Jones

Orlando Jones in “American Gods”

Starz

Orlando Jones’ character Mr. Nancy was a fan favorite on “American Gods,” but neither he nor Mousa Kraish’s Jinn will appear in Season 3 of the Starz show. Both actors tweeted that they would not be returning for Season 3 over the weekend and Jones claimed he was fired for “sending the wrong message to black America.”

Jones, who became a series regular in Season 2 and also wrote and produced that season, published a video alleging that Charles Eglee, the new showrunner for the Fremantle-produced series’ upcoming third season, didn’t want his character’s “angry get shit done” attitude.

“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,” Jones said in a video published on Twitter Saturday.

https://twitter.com/TheOrlandoJones/status/1205881660409077760

Spokespersons for Jones and Eglee did not return a request for comment.

Jones’ Mr. Nancy, AKA Anansi, was a trickster god and a fiery individualist who pushed against social convention. The character debuted in the series’ second episode, where he revealed the horrors of American slavery to the ship’s imprisoned passengers and encouraged them to rebel.

A spokesperson for Fremantle said Jones’ departure was not racially motivated and was due to his character not being a focus of Season 3.

“The storylines of “American Gods” have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material,” a Fremantle spokesperson said. “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, will 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.”

Jones tweeted early Monday to push back against claims that he and Eglee clashed and stated that he had never had a conversation nor met with the series’ new showrunner. Gabrielle Union, whose recent departure from the Fremantle-produced “America’s Got Talent,” also has been a source of controversy, retweeted Jones’ statement with the hashtag #StrongerTogether.

Jones isn’t the only actor who won’t be returning for Season 3, as Kraish, who portrayed gay Arabic god Jinn, also revealed that he wasn’t asked to return to “American Gods” in a series of tweets Sunday. Kraish did not elaborate on his departure other than noting that he wasn’t asked to return for Season 3. Kraish and Jones retweeted each other’s statements regarding their departures.

https://twitter.com/MousaKraish/status/1206395874814726144

A representative for Kraish did not return a request for comment.

Jones and Kraish’ departures are the latest shakeups for “American Gods,” which has suffered from several production issues. Series creators and Season One showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green parted ways with Fremantle and “American Gods” after disputes concerning the show’s budget. The duo was replaced by Jesse Alexander for Season 2, which received mixed reviews from critics. Eglee succeeded Alexander in March when the series’ Season 3 was announced.

Jones thanked Fuller, Green, and Neil Gaiman, the series’ executive producer and author of the source novel, in his video regarding his departure.

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