Jenny Slate, Kristen Bell Will Quit Voicing Biracial Cartoon Characters

The white “Big Mouth” and “Central Park” actors said in separate statements that the roles should be voiced by Black or biracial actors.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Actors Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell announced separately on Wednesday that they will no longer be voicing biracial cartoon characters in the shows “Big Mouth” and “Central Park,” respectively.

Slate announced that she would no longer voice the character of Missy Foreman-Greenwald, a young biracial character on the Netflix series “Big Mouth.”

In the statement, Slate said she originally reasoned that she could voice the role of Missy because the character’s mother is Jewish and White, like Slate.

“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 is 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.”

Also Wednesday, Bell released a statement from the “Central Park” creators, saying the biracial character she voiced, Molly, will instead be voiced by a Black or mixed-race actor.

“Playing the character of Molly on ‘Central Park’ shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience,” Bell said in a post attached to the statement. “I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal and I will commit to learning, growing and doing my part for equality and inclusion.”

The raunchy series “Big Mouth,” animates the uncomfortable experience of puberty, with its characters coming of age and navigating their bodies and sexuality with their “hormone monsters” (including the incomparable Connie). While the show has unapologetically explored subjects including bisexuality, depression, and reproductive rights, it has also received blowback for its explanation of pansexuality and transgender individuals.

Apple TV+ animated series “Central Park'' follows the Tillerman-Hunter family who lives in Edendale Castle in Central Park. Park manager Owen, his wife Paige, who is a journalist, and their daughter Molly and son Cole attempt to save the beloved park from elderly heiress and entrepreneur Bitsy Brandenham. Brandenham wants to buy the park property and turn it into condominiums and shops.