Jenny Slate Steps Back From ‘Big Mouth’ Role, Calls Portrayal An “Act Of Erasure”

Comedian Jenny Slate has announced she will no longer voice Missy on the animated Netflix show Big Mouth, saying it’s “act of erasure” for a White entertainer to play a mixed-race character.

“Ending my portrayal of “Missy” is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism of my actions,” she said.

Taking to Instagram Thursday morning, Slate said she originally tackled the role of Missy as she identified with the character’s family background.

“I reasoned with myself that it was permissible to for me to play “Missy” because her mom is Jewish and White – as am I,” she wrote.

“But “Missy” is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”

Her decision comes after appearances in three seasons of the hormone-filled comedy, which also stars Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, and Jason Mantzoukas.

The decision was supported by Kroll, who co-created the show.

“We sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character,” he said in a joint statement.

Big Mouth has been renewed through season six. Its fourth season is expected to debut some time in the coming months.

Slate’s statement comes amid a broader conversation about the portrayal of Black characters in popular media, and a reckoning of who, exactly, gets to tell those stories.

You can read her full statement below.