Animated series The Simpsons and Family Guy and sitcoms The Officeand Community are the latest shows that are making big changes. Amid recent backlash over the use of blackface, as well as white actors voicing ethnic characters, a spokesperson for The Simpsons tells ET on Friday that "Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”
Mike Henry, known as the voice of Cleveland Brown on Family Guy, also said that he would no longer be voicing the Black character. Henry has been a part of the animated show since 1999, and has also voiced Latina maid Consuela.
"It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role," Henry tweeted.
It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role. pic.twitter.com/FmKasWITKT— Mike Henry (@mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020
Additionally, The Office executive producer Greg Daniels requested that a scene from season 9, episode 9, titled "Dwight Christimas" be removed, per The Hollywood Reporter. In the episode, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) celebrates a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas and has staffer Nate (Mark Proksch) dress in blackface as folk character Zwarte Piet. He then calls it off after his co-workers tell him it's racist.
As for Community, Varietyreports that episode 14 of season 2, titled "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons," has been removed from streaming platforms. In the episode, Chang (Ken Jeong) shows up to play the role-playing game as a dark elf, with his face painted entirely black, with Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) remarking, "So, we’re just gonna ignore that hate crime, huh?"
This news comes after Kristen Bell announced that she would no longer be voicing the role of Molly Tillerman on Central Park. The actress has voiced the character since the animated show debuted on Apple TV+ last month, but the role will now be recast with a Black or multiracial actress. The character of Molly is biracial.