In response to recent events, a number of white actors have now announced that they would no longer be voicing animated characters of color. Most notably, Jenny Slate has come forward to announce her departure from the role of Missy on Big Mouth and Mike Henry has stepped away from his Cleveland Brown character on Family Guy.
Taking to Twitter, Henry noted his exit from his decades-long role saying, “It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color.” The veteran voice actor began voicing the Black character since the inaugural season of Family Guy in 1999 and has also led the spinoff series The Cleveland Show from 2009 to 2013.
Jenny Slate made the announcement on Instagram after Big Mouth creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett publicly spoke about recasting the voice of the biracial character, Missy. Kroll went on to admit the creators took their privilege for granted and are doing their best to improve.
Slate continued the sentiment on Instagram, apologizing and explaining that she felt connected to Missy because her Jewish character but realizes there is an aspect that she couldn’t capture. Ultimately asking the show to recast the character.
It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role. pic.twitter.com/FmKasWITKT
— Mike Henry (@mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020
— nick kroll (@nickkroll) June 24, 2020
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