The real reason Jenny Slate is leaving Big MouthJune 25, 2020
Jenny Slate — a.k.a. Chris Evans’ ex — has quite a thriving career. You may know her as Mona-Lisa Saperstein from Parks and Recreation or Girls‘ Tally Schifrin. You might also recognize her voice from animated films like The Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia, The Lego Batman Movie, and Despicable Me 3, as well as shows like Bob’s Burgers, Adventure Time, and Big Mouth. However, in an effort to do what she feels is right, the star will no longer be a part of the latter — at least, not as one particular character.
Since the show first hit Netflix in 2017, Slate has provided the voice for Missy Foreman-Greenwald. And while fans will still be hearing the star during season 4 since it’s already finished recording and is set to start streaming in the fall of 2020, beyond that, Slate will be stepping away from the microphone.
The star has also made a strong statement explaining why she both considers her part on the show to have been an error in the first place and why she’s now decided to leave the role behind.
Jenny Slate was 'engaging in an act of erasure of Black people'
Although some people might be confused by Jenny Slate’s choice to leave behind her role on Big Mouth, the star took to Instagram on June 24, 2020, to explain why she feels like it’s necessary. “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.”
The performer went on to explain that her “original reasoning was flawed” and “an example of white privilege,” and that by being the voice of Missy, she “was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.” Slate also noted that this “is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in [her] actions,” and while she can’t change the “mistakes” that she’s made in the past, she can “take accountability” for her future choices.
“I will continue to engage in meaningful anti-racism 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 a part of the problem,” she wrote, adding that she’s “so very sorry” to anyone she’s hurt.
While this was obviously a choice that Slate felt was right, she’s not the only one behind the decision.
Nick Kroll and Big Mouth's creators will be casting 'a new Black actor' for Missy
It may have been Jenny Slate’s choice to say goodbye to Big Mouth. However, those behind the show support her decision. Comedic actor Nick Kroll, one of the co-creators and stars of the animated series, took to Twitter following the actress’ announcement to make a statement about the development on behalf of himself as well as the other co-creators, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett.
“[W]e wholeheartedly agree that Missy on Big Mouth should be voiced by a Black actor,” the statement explained. “We sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character. We made a mistake.”
The message continued by noting that while they’re “proud of the representation that Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of color,” their plan is to now “recast a new Black actor to play her.”
Although Kroll and his peers seem sure that this is the right move, some fans agree and others … well … don’t. Frankly, reactions to the news are very divided.
Fans are divided over Jenny Slate's decision
The debate over who should fill what roles in Hollywood always seems to spark debate, and this time is no different. When Jenny Slate revealed that she would no longer be the voice of a mixed-race character on Big Mouth, fans were incredibly divided on whether or not the move was admirable, necessary, needless, or even self-serving.
“Totally not necessary. But you do you,” one of the star’s Instagram followers commented. However, someone else had a different opinion, writing, “Ummm but the half-[B]lackness of the character doesn’t negate her half-whiteness and half-Jewishness…….”
Another social media user wasn’t buying Slate’s motivation, leaving a comment that read: “God, what a load of bulls***. That’s enough self-flagellation, Jenny, your virtue is projecting like the bat signal now.”
However, others were impressed by Slate’s choice. “Wow. Big of you to acknowledge and act on,” one person wrote, while another called her a “class act,” and someone else simply added, “Thank you!”
Whatever the public thinks, it’s Slate who has to live with her decision, so it’s surely best for her to follow her gut on this one.
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