The Reason Jenny Slate Is Quitting Big Mouth

Jenny Slate is leaving the cast of the Netflix animated show Big Mouth. Slate, who voiced Missy on the show, made the announcement in an Instagram post.

"I have come to the decision today that I can no longer play the character of 'Missy' on the animated TV show Big Mouth," she wrote. "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."

She 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."

Jenny Slate will be replaced with a Black actor on Big Mouth

Slate, whose other voice credits include The Secret Life of Pets and Bob's Burgers, added that stepping away from the role is part of "a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions." She concluded, "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."

Show creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett backed Slate's decision, and also apologized for casting a white actor in the role. They promised to recast Slate with a Black actor. "We are proud of the representation that Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of color, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy's character as we recast a new Black actor to play her," the Big Mouth creators wrote on Twitter.

They added, "We look forward to being able to explore Missy's story with even greater authenticity in the years to come."