“Riverdale” creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has issued an apology on Instagram for sidelining actors of color on the show after series regular Vanessa Morgan indirectly criticized The CW drama for unequal representation earlier in the week. Morgan, who stars on “Riverdale” as Toni Topaz, wrote on Twitter amid nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death that she was “tired of how black people are portrayed in media” and “tired of [how black people are] portrayed as thugs, dangerous, or angry scary people.”
Morgan added, “Tired of us also being used as sidekick non-dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show.” The actress did not call out “Riverdale” by name, although it was clear her own series applied to her criticism as her character has rarely gotten her own storyline. Morgan later noted to a fan: “Too bad I’m the only black series regular but also paid the least.”
Aguirre-Sacasa responded to Morgan’s criticism in an Instagram post in which he said the actress was right, admitting the show has not done right by its characters of color and actors of color.
“She’s right. We’re sorry and we make the same promise to you that we did to her,” Aguirre-Sacasa wrote. “We will do better to honor her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of color…We will be part of the movement, not outside it.”
Aguirre-Sacasa continued, “All of the ‘Riverdale’ writers made a donation to [Black Lives Matter Los Angeles], but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers’ room.”
For a showrunner at Aguirre-Sacasa’s level to come forward and admit his show isn’t doing right by its actors of color is not common in broadcast television, but the nationwide protests now have many showrunners vowing to be more mindful about representation. “S.W.A.T.” executive producer Aaron Rahsaan Thomas says the show’s writers will be more honest about portraying law enforcement officers in its upcoming season.
“Riverdale” is heading into its fifth season, which won’t air until 2021. Read Aguirre-Sacasa’s full apology note in the post below.
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