The 38-year-old actress revealed via Instagram on Wednesday that she will no longer be voicing Missy, as the character from the animated Netflix series is biracial, and she is white.
"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 said. "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."
"As I look back on the nature and emergence of my own voice in comedy, I know that I have made mistakes along the way," she added. "I can't change the past, but I can take accountability for my choices. 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 part of the problem."
Slate concluded her message by saying she is "very sorry" to anyone she may have hurt in the past. "Black voices must be heard," she urged. "Black Lives Matter."
Nick Kroll, the co-creator, executive producer and star of Big Mouth, also shared a statement from his creative team via Twitter, which read, "After thoughtful discussion with us and our Black collaborators, Jenny Slate has decided, and we wholeheartedly agree, that Missy on 'Big Mouth' should be voiced by a Black actor. we sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character."
"We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and we are working hard to do better moving forward," the statement continued. "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. We thank Jenny for her decision and for creating with us an inspiring, compassionate and very human character. We look forward to being able to explore Missy's story with even greater authenticity in the years to come."