Animated series Big Mouth to recast Black character previously voiced by white comedian

Netflix animated series Big Mouth is set to recast the role of one of its Black characters with a Black voice actress, at the request of tge character's current voice actress, amid a groundswell of anti-racism activism in entertainment.

Comedian and actress Jenny Slate. Source: Getty

Comedian Jenny Slate, who voiced Missy Foreman-Greenwald from seasons 1 to 3, took to social media this morning to announce her decision to no longer play the character next season.

"I have come to the decision today that I can no longer play the character of 'Missy' on the animated TV show 'Big Mouth'," Slate said on Instagram today.

It comes after Hulu today announced its removal of Scrubs episodes featuring blackface, and Gone with the Wind was temporarily removed from streaming platform HBO Max with a disclaimer over its glorification of the Antebellum South. 

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The 38-year-old said she had earlier convinced herself it was "permissible" to take on the role due to the character's mother being white and Jewish, much like the actress herself.

"But 'Missy' is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people," she said.

"I acknowledge how my original reasoning was flawed, that it existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of societal white supremacy, and that in me playing 'Missy,' I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.

"Ending my portrayal of 'Missy' is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions."

The comedian said she 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".

In a Twitter post, co-creator Nick Kroll - along with fellow series creators Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett - said they had "made a mistake" and "took our privilege for granted" in casting a white actress in the role of a biracial character.

"We are working hard to do better moving forward,” Kroll said.

"We are proud of the representation that Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of colour, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy’s character as we recast a new Black actor to play her."