Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate are both stepping away from voicing roles as mixed-race animated characters. Bell confirmed that she will no longer be voicing Molly on AppleTV’s “Central Park,” and Slate announced that she will no longer voice the role of “Missy” on Netflix’s hit animated series “Big Mouth.”
Slate posted the news on her Instagram account, saying, “I have come to the decision today that I can no longer play the character of ‘Missy’ on the animated TV show ‘Big Mouth.’ 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. But ‘Missy’ is also Black, and black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.” Slate continued, “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”
Bell posted a similar message on her Instagram account, but one that she did not write. The message reads, “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 nuances and experiences of the character as we’ve drawn her. Kristen will continue to be part of the show in a new role but we will find a new actress to lend her voice to Molly.”
“Central Park” is an animated musical comedy about the Tillermans, a family that lives in Central Park. Owen, the park manager, and Paige, his journalist wife, raise their kids Molly and Cole in the world’s most famous park, while fending off hotel heiress Bitsy Brandenham and her long suffering assistant Helen, who would love nothing more than to turn the park into condos.
The series “Big Mouth” is an adult animated comedy from real-life best friends Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg about the glorious nightmare that is teenaged puberty. Comedian John Mulaney lends his voice to the character of Andrew, while Kroll voices many including best friend Nick. Maya Rudolph, Jason Mantzoukas, Jordan Peele, Fred Armisen, Slate, and Jessi Klein also voice characters on the series.
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