Missy Foreman-Greenwald will sound a bit different when Big Mouth returns for Season 4: Jenny Slate, who has voiced the character since Season 1, is leaving the role amid ongoing conversations about Black representation in Hollywood.
“I have come to the decision today that I can no longer play the character of Missy on the animated TV show Big Mouth,” Slate announced in an Instagram post on Wednesday. “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 went on to acknowledge that holding the role of Missy for three seasons “existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of societal white supremacy.”
“I will continue to engage in meaningful anti-racist 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 concluded. “Black voices must be heard. Black Lives Matter.”
Big Mouth‘s creators — Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett — also addressed Slate’s departure from the role in a Twitter post, confirming their intention to recast Missy with a Black actor.
Though Missy was Slate’s most prominent role on the Netflix comedy, she also voices other supporting characters on the show. Big Mouth was previously renewed for Seasons 4, 5 and 6 at the streamer, while a spinoff titled Human Resources has also been ordered.
Earlier this week, more than 300 Black artists and executives penned a letter to the entertainment industry, urging Hollywood to “prove that Black Lives Matter… by taking bold moves to affirm, defend and invest in Black lives,” particularly as it pertains to portrayals of police and the criminal justice system.
Read Slate’s full statement below:
Okay. Now to solve the whole “Cleveland Brown being played by a white guy for 21 years” thing. And also the fact that Kristen Bell is also voicing a biracial character on an animated show. There are also various characters of color on the Simpsons being voiced by white guys (notably Dr. Hibbert, Lou the cop, Bumblebee Man, and formerly Apu). I realize it’s just doing voices, but seriously, why is this still a thing?
Bell is voicing a biracial character on Central Park, where Daveed Diggs is voicing a white female.
She did the same thing, she will not be voicing the character on Central Park
…Because no one should care about something so trivial!
If Missy has a white mom she’s not solely black. Way to erase mixed people. It’s just voice-over work. It doesn’t matter who voices who as long as they do a good job.
That last sentence seems far too well reasoned to be followed in today’s political climate.
That’s why she said “also black”
It matters to many. Including the talent. And, I guess you.
Excellent. This is what anti-racism work looks like – giving up opportunities, stepping aside, and letting Black & Indigenous folk lead
Thank you, Anne
This works both ways. White characters shouldn’t be played or voiced by black actors.
LOL!!! This is Hollyweird, good luck with that!! They have a double standard for every principle they embrace.
We’ll survive COVID-19, but it looks like 2020 is the year entertainment died at the hands of PC.
I can’t. This all has become too much. It’s evolved into something devoid of logic and reason. 🤦
That’s what happens when politics and Hollywood collide. When logic, reason, and common sense leave the room, politics is the only thing left.
This is so stupid! It’s called acting. It’s like saying no straight men should play gay guys. Love Victor better recast. If you are a gay actor can you not play a straight person? The Rugrats baby was male, voiced by a female. Better go and pull all the reruns now.
Nancy Cartwright has voiced multiple male child characters on “The Simpsons,” including Bart, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson, and Todd Flanders. By today’s “logic,” all of these episodes should be immediately pulled from streaming services, since she has deprived ten-year-old boy voice actors their fair chance at representation in Hollywood. Her ability to perform the roles is irrelevant; only her age, gender, and race matter. I could probably find someone on Twitter who would even call this child abuse (or maybe I could just ask Anne; she’d probably agree with that stance).
Oh, and for that matter, the other adult voice actors are all voicing middle school characters on this show, which is double-plus-ungood. They should immediately stop engaging in the erasure of middle school voiceover actors and step down from their respective roles.
I think a large part of the difference here is that some people are making the choice to remove their own shows from streaming services or step aside from roles they have. No one is forcing these particular things to happen. People are making choices about what they have control over.
But they kind of are being forced out normally by a mob of well off white people on Twitter. The rest of us are more worried about cops murdering people.
If you think no one is or will force them to answer for their ‘sins,’ you have a LOT to learn…
I’m so sick of this whole ‘white privilege’ nonsense! Ignorant idiots pretending life is one big party just because you’re white.
I’m sure this has been explained to you many times in your ignorant life so I don’t know why I bother. But that’s not what white privilege means, it means none of the problems in your life occur BECAUSE you are white.
Even if that were true, should innocent white people be made to feel guilty about any of that? And are black people EVER responsible for their plight in life?
How do you know none of the problems in his life happened because he is white? How do you even know he is white at all? Because you’re white? Or because you’re black? You sure like to make a lot of assumptions.
I used the second person “you” because the original commenter did but continue being deliberately obtuse.
And if a black person has a problem it’s always because of the color of their skin? Don’t be ridiculous. All this white guilt must be slowly killing you.
Depends on what neighborhood you live in. Lots of white people are singled out in black neighborhoods because they’re white. Read the news, elderly white people are being attacked by young black people on a regular basis in places like NYC. Think that isn’t because they’re white? Being white doesn’t make you bulletproof or immune from racism directed at you from other races. It just makes you a target like any other race in the same situation.
I grew up in a city that was predominately black and I was harassed/attacked many times at a young age by black classmates. Some were cool, but a few would gang up on me when the teacher would step out of the classroom. And that was in elementary school. I’m glad we moved out to the country before I hit high school. One of my old classmates was convicted of murdering a man in a bar over a bag of chips later in life.
As someone who lived on a Reservation for several years, I can assure you that I definitely encountered problems BECAUSE I am white.
I love Jenny Slate, but I hate the voice she does for Missy so I don’t really care. I just hope she doesn’t leave the show entirely and is able to voice another character
I trust the actor who replaces her will be biracial.
I would love for TVLine to post a gallery of their top suggestions to fill the big shoes of the Missy voice! I find voice recasts so tricky! This is the right thing to do, and I cannot wait to find out who it’ll be!
It’s always the same voices complaining. Hollywood has long denied nonwhite people opportunities in favor of white people. It’s not even close to equal. This is a small, thoughtful gesture that opens up opportunity for one more person “of color.” It’s not anti-white or done with malicious intent. It’s symbolic and it recognizes that things haven’t been fair for a long time and correcting past mistakes is the task of all of us, including white people.
Why is it that black, brown, yellow people are often expected to do all the heavy lifting around race? A few wealthy, well-established, white actresses making way for others won’t fix the past but it does show that small steps- even if previously dismissed as no big deal- can have a big impact. (I expect these usual trolls to take issue with this.)
This doesn’t help stop racism, it is a patronizing handout.
I am commenting bc I saw that no one else said this- It is important that roles are played by the races they are representing not only to create more opportunities for inclusiveness and diversity in the entertainment industry but to also provide a chance for the characters they are playing to have more complexity and different perspectives (a white actor for a black or Mexican or any other different character may not be able to offer the same level of performance and perspective that would be more true to that character than an actor who better matches that characters racial identity). I know I am not the only person who thinks this way, but likely the only person who read these comments that has an extra 20 minuets to waste typing out this message. Wishing love and understating to us all!