Sunita Mani, who portrayed Arthie Premkumar on Netflix’s recently canceled “GLOW” comedy series, revealed a letter she and five other cast members sent to Netflix and the show’s producers earlier in the year.
Seen in an Instagram post on Monday, the letter — which was co-signed by “GLOW” stars Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Shakira Barrera, Kia Stevens, and Ellen Wong — noted that though diversity and inclusion were among the show’s core elements, the persons of color on the show had underwritten storylines and were often used to portray racial stereotyping.
“’GLOW’ has been marketed as a diverse ensemble, but for all of us diverse cast members, it has never lived up to these ideals,” Mani said on Instagram. “Since Season 1, the show has planted racial stereotyping into our character’s existence, yet your storylines are relegated to the sidelines in dealing with this conflict or have left us feeling like checked-boxes on a list. Unfortunately, we feel that the promise of this show has not been fulfilled. There is incredible support, love, and camaraderie amidst the ‘GLOW’ cast, and it should go without saying that we are not here to take down our white castmates or our show, but to elevate us all in a deeper, more significant way. With zero persons of color in the writer’s room this season, it is a huge oversight to be writing our narratives without anyone else to represent us besides ourselves.”
The ”GLOW” cast letter recommended that the show’s producers hire an executive producer or consulting producer of color to ensure that the show’s characters and storylines were authentically represented. The letter also requested that the producers “fully address how portraying stereotypical and racially offensive wrestling personas has impacted our characters’ professional lives and personal dignity.”
The letter was sent to Netflix during the show’s coronavirus-related production hiatus earlier in the year, when the “GLOW” team was still expecting to return for a fourth season. Mani stated that the show’s creators and producers had responded positively to the letter, which resulted in a series of “poignant Zoom conversations” and suggested that Season 4 would have been “such a catharsis.”
“Our show creators and producers heard us. They were in the process of making Season 4 reflect some of the system problems we outlined,” Mani said on Instagram. “I was so afraid to speak on these issues to my bosses, whom I respect and I think are so brilliant, but was deeply moved by the support of my fellow cast mates. This was a huge deal — creating space for change — and it was a testament to the love and support that was, by no twist of fate, an intentional element seeded by our shows creators and germinated in the entire cast.”
The letter to the show’s producer can be read in full below:
View this post on Instagram
**A statement on GLOW** I want to relay the above in hopes of transparency making things better for all. I made a joke about that recently and now I’m asking you to take me seriously, sorry! The above is not posted to save Glow, it’s just some personal stuff that we want to share. I loved playing Arthie Premkumar❤️