Jenny Slate is exiting Netflix’s animated series “Big Mouth” after three seasons, citing the irresponsible casting of a white actress to voice the role of a black character. Slate was the voice of the show’s biracial main character Missy Foreman-Greenwald. Slate’s casting had been criticized over the years as cartoon whitewashing alongside other examples such as Hank Azaria voicing Apu on “The Simpsons” and Alison Brie voicing Diane Nguyen on “BoJack Horseman.”
“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.”
“As I look back on the nature and emergence of my own voice in comedy, I know that I have made mistakes along the way,” Slate continued in her statement. “I can’t change the past, but I can take accountability for my choices. I will continue to engage in meaningful anti-racist action, to be thoughtful about the messages in my work, to be curious and open to feedback, and to do my best to take responsibility for the ways that I am part of the problem. Most importantly, though, to anyone I’ve hurt: I am so very sorry. Black voices must be heard. Black lives matter.”:
Last July, Netflix renewed “Big Mouth” for Seasons 4, 5, and 6. The multi-season renewal was part of a new multi-year deal formed with the “Big Mouth” creators — Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett — under their production company, Brutus Pink. The group’s animation company will produce multiple animated series and films for Netflix. The company is also working on a “Big Mouth” spinoff series, “Human Resource”
The “Big Mouth” voice cast also includes Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, and Jordan Peele. Read Slate’s statement on exiting the series in its entirety in the Instagram post below.
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— nick kroll (@nickkroll) June 24, 2020