Slate voices Missy Foreman-Greenwald on Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” while Bell voices Molly Tillerman on Apple TV+’s “Central Park.”
Slate said a Black actress should portray the character. The makers of “Central Park” said on Bell’s Instagram post that they will be casting either a Black or mixed-race actress.
“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 said on Instagram.
“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. Ending my portrayal of ‘Missy’ is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions,” she continued.
Slate finished her message by apologizing and stating that she will continue to engage in anti-racist action.
Bell, on Instagram, released a statement from the makers of “Central Park” who apologized, said that Bell will take on a different role, and vowed to add more diversity to their production team.
“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 and Black American experience,” Bell captioned the post.
“It was wrong and we, on the Central Park team, are pledging to make it right. 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,” she continued.