Orlando Jones is pondering taking his former employer to court, alleging that racism is at the heart of his unceremonious firing from “American Gods”.
Jones played the eccentric and screen-commanding Mr. Nancy in the Starz television show. He announced his firing from the program in a scathing series of tweets. Jones, 51, pointed at new showrunner Charles Eglee as the source of his departure.
“There will be no more Mr. Nancy. Don’t let these motherf**kers tell you they love Mr. Nancy. They don’t,” Jones says in the video. “I’m not going to name names but the new season 3 showrunner [Eglee] is Connecticut born and Yale-educated.”
Jones gave Eglee a not-so-complimentary compliment about his education: “So he’s very smart and he thinks that Mr. Nancy’s angry, get s**t done is the wrong message for black America. That’s right.”
“This white man sits in that decision-making chair and I’m sure he has many black BFFs who are his advisors and made it clear to him that if he did not get rid of that angry god Mr. Nancy he’d start a Denmark Vesey uprising in this country,” he added. “I mean, what else could it be?”
A spokesperson for “American Gods” told ET Canada: “The storylines of ‘American Gods’ have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material. Mr. Jones’ option was not picked up because Mr. Nancy, among other characters, is not featured in the portion of the book we are focusing on within season three. Several new characters, many of which have already been announced, will be introduced into Shadow Moon’s world that will further contribute to the show’s legacy as one of the most diverse series on television.”
Meanwhile, Shadow Moon himself, actor Ricky Whittle, weighed in with a statement via Twitter, calling Jones “an incredible talent and friend.”
Addressing Jones’ exit from the show, Whittle wrote that he’s “unable to speak on his situation as I have no knowledge of what is or has transpired, I was not addressed nor am I privy to any decisions made regarding cast/storyline.”
Gabrielle Union, who was allegedly fired from “AGT”, which is also produced by Freemantle, told Jones that she is eager to “chat” with him.
Jones subsequently spoke to Deadline about his next move, which may take place in a courtroom.
According to Jones, he knew he was out in mid-September but deliberately waited before going public. “I’d known I was gone since September 10. I didn’t say anything until this weekend,” he says. “I gave them two months to take the high road here and let people know and not sell subscriptions off of my name and off the work they supposedly weren’t happy with.”
Jones also confirms that he hasn’t received a release letter releasing him from his contract. Asked if he’s considering legal action, he responds, “Yes, but that’s all I can say on that right now.”
Asked bluntly whether he thinks Freemantle has “a race problem,” he provided a blunt answer. “Yes, I do think the problem stems from them. I want to be very clear about this. I did not introduce race into the conversation with regard to Fremantle. When a showrunner is telling everybody he can find that angry get s**t done is the wrong message for black America you have just entered race into the conversation. That didn’t come from me.”
He adds: “Look, you know I’ve been around, I know the difference between an option not being picked up and being fired. And if Fremantle doesn’t have a race problem, then why did they single out the black guy? Then why did they point out to the black guy that he wasn’t particularly worthwhile to them because they hired a white guy who believed he could write as a black guy and that they didn’t really think that the black guy should continue because he was suddenly going to cause a problem with black America?”
Taking Freemantle to court, Jones insists, “is the only place to go. So, I’ve got to sit down with lawyers and go through all of that madness. I tried to be two things here. One is not emotional. One, not to see myself as a victim because frankly that’s the problem. They only see people of colour as victims so they write you as victims. So, Mr. Nancy not operating as a victim because he’s a god and not a human suddenly became problematic. All of these are the mindsets of individuals who think a certain way about certain people. That’s what we’re dealing with here. You can call that race, sex, homophobic, whatever proclivity that somebody has decided to single you out and make you feel like an a**hole for, there are plenty of fat, tall, freckled, ugly, whatever the f**k it is they’ve decided this week.”
You can read Jones’ entire Deadline interview right here.