Back to IndieWire

‘The Wire’ Favorite Wendell Pierce Launches Campaign to Be the New Voice of Cleveland

Voice actor Mike Henry stepped away from the role after two decades because of the racial insensitivity of his casting.

Wendell Pierce and “Family Guy”

Shutterstock/Fox

Wendell Pierce, the fan favorite actor from “The Wire” and recent star of “Clemency” and “Burning Cane,” has launched a social media campaign to be the new voice actor of Cleveland on “Family Guy.” Mike Henry, the original voice of Cleveland, announced last week he would be stepping away from the long-running Fox animated sitcom over the racial insensitivity of his casting.

“It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on ‘Family Guy’ for 20 years,” Henry wrote on social media. “I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”

Henry’s “Family Guy” exit followed in the footsteps of Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell leaving their respective animated shows “Big Mouth” and “Central Park” over similar issues. Both actresses voiced biracial characters on their series. Pierce took to social media to say he is interested in being the new voice of Cleveland.

“Now that Mike Henry has consciously given up the role of Cleveland, I am publicly starting a campaign to voice the role myself on ‘The Cleveland Show.'”

Popular on IndieWire

Pierce mentioned “The Cleveland Show,” the “Family Guy” spinoff centered around the eponymous character that aired from 2009 to 2013. Cleveland continues to regularly appear on “Family Guy,” so consider this Pierce’s pitch for Seth MacFarlane’s flagship series. The actor is already getting support from fellow actors like “House of Cards” Emmy nominee Michael Kelly.

“Perfect!” Kelly wrote to MacFarlane in reaction to Pierce’s campaign . “Wendell Pierce is not only one of the most talented dudes I know, but also someone you’ll love hanging with.”

“Family Guy” has aired over 300 episodes across 18 seasons of television. Fox renewed the series last month for its 19th season.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , ,