Big Mouth alum Jenny Slate is exiting the Netflix series. The Obvious Child comedian said Missy should be voiced by a Black actor. Slate originally didn’t see a problem with her voicing Missy– a biracial character–since Missy’s mother is Jewish and white.
“At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play ‘Missy’ because her mom is Jewish and white — as am I,” Slate said in her post. “But ‘Missy’ is also Black and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
Slate said she was starting to look at the “racism” in her actions. “I acknowledge 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…” she said. “Ending my portrayal of ‘Missy’ is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.”
In the comment section under Slate’s post, the response was generally positive. “This is pretty cool Jenny, thank u,” one person said. “Wow. This is moving,” another netizen added. Within an hour of being posted, Slate’s message garnered more than 44,000 likes from social media users.
Nick Kroll Issued an Apology
Big Mouth co-creator Nick Kroll–along with Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett–supported Slate’s decision to leave. They apologized for having a white person voice a biracial character.
After thoughtful discussion with us and our Black collaborators, Jenny Slate has decided, as 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 cast a white actor to voice a biracial character. We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and we’re working hard to do better moving forward. We are proud of the representation that Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of color, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy’s character as we recast a new Black actor to play her. We thank Jenny for her decision and for creating with us an inspiring compassionate, and very human character. We look forward to being able to explore Missy’s story with even greater authenticity in the years to come.
Slate Is An Advocate for the Black Lives Matter Movement
Slate has been active in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement on social media, sharing posts in support of George Floyd and Breyonna Taylor.
On June 4 she joined the National Day of Mourning to recognize the “tragic and senseless loss of Black lives to police violence” and share information about how people could participate in the Black Lives Matter movement and donate to charities.