The creators of the hit animated series, Big Mouth, have decided to take diversity seriously.
On Wednesday, Nick Kroll took Twitter and announced that he and the other Big Mouth creators, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett, have decided to recast the voice of the biracial character, Missy, so that she's voiced by a Black woman. Kroll explained that the creators took their privilege for granted and are doing their best to improve.
"We are proud of the representation Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of color, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy's character as we cast a new Black actor to play her," the statement reads.
The character, Missy, has a Black father and white, Jewish mother. She is voiced by actress Jenny Slate. Slate took to Instagram to apologize and explain that she felt connected to Missy because she is Jewish like the character's mother, but she now realizes that there's an aspect of the character that she can't access despite being a great voice actress. As a result, she asked the show to recast the character.
"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," she wrote. "But Missy is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people."
Hours after Kroll's announcement, it was announced that Kristen Bell would no longer voice Molly, a mixed-race character on Apple TV+'s animated series Central Park. The team behind the show confirmed the news in an Instagram post, stating Bell would take on a new role as they search for a replacement.
"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 show's creative team wrote. "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. 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.
"... We’re committed to creating opportunities for people of color and Black people in all roles, on all our projects – behind the mic, in the writers room, in production, and in post-production. Animation will be stronger for having as many voices, experiences, and perspectives as we can possibly bring into the industry. Our shop and our show will be better for respecting the nuances and complexity around the issue of representation and trying to get it right.”