Live

Watch CBSN Live

Jenny Slate is leaving role as biracial character on "Big Mouth" so a black actor can be cast

Netflix's animated series "Big Mouth" is getting a recasting, the stars and creators of the show announced on Wednesday. Jenny Slate, who originally voiced Missy, a biracial character, said in a statement on Instagram she has "come to the decision" she can no longer play the role. 

Slate said she originally reasoned with herself that it was permissible to play Missy because like her, the character's mom is white and Jewish.

"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," Slate's statement says. 

While the character has a white mom, she has a black father. 

The creators of the show took to social media to explain the decision to recast the character, saying, "After thoughtful collaboration with us and our Black collaborators, Jenny Slate has decided, and we wholeheartedly agree, that Missy on 'Big Mouth' should be voiced by a Black actor." 

"We sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to case a white actor to voice a biracial character," said the statement, which was posted Wednesday and signed by creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett.

untitled-collage-56.jpg
"Big Mouth" will recast character voiced by Jenny Slate with a black actor Getty/Netflix

It is unclear if Slate will continue to voice other characters on the show, as she has in the past. CBS News has reached out to Netflix for more on the changes, which has been greenlit through season six. 

Another white actress has also announced she will no longer voice a biracial character. Like Slate, Kristen Bell took to Instagram Wednesday to reveal she will no longer play Molly on the animated series "Central Park." 

"This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Here is one of mine. Playing the character of Molly on Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege," Bell wrote in her Instagram caption. "Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience."

Bell said she and the "Central Park" team are pledging to right their wrong. "I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal and I will commit to learning, growing and doing my part for equality and inclusion."

Members of creative team behind the Apple TV+ show, including Josh Gad, also shared a statement regarding the recasting. 

"Kristen Bell is an extraordinarily talented actress who joined the cast of Central Park from nearly the first day of the show's development — before there was even a character for her to play — and she has since delivered a funny, heartfelt, and beautiful performance," the statement reads. 

"But after reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes that the casting of the character of Molly is an opportunity to get representation right — to cast a Black or mixed race actress and give Molly a voice that resonates with all of the nuance and experiences of the character as we've drawn her," the statement continues. "Kristen will continue to be a part of the heart of the show in a new role but we will find a new actress to lend her voice to Molly."

CBS News has reached out to Apple TV+ for more information on the recasting.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.