Kristen Bell will 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.
“This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Here is one of mine,” Bell wrote on Instagram on Wednesday, alongside a statement from the ‘Central Park’ team. “Playing the character of Molly on ‘Central Park’ shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience. It was wrong and we, on the ‘Central Park’ team, are pledging to make it right.”
“I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal and I will commit to learning, growing and doing my part for equality and inclusion,” she added.
View this post on Instagram
This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Here is one of mine. Playing the character of Molly on Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience. It was wrong and we, on the Central Park team, are pledging to make it right. I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal and I will commit to learning, growing and doing my part for equality and inclusion.
Bell will still lend her voice to ‘Central Park’, but in a new role.
In their statement Wednesday, the ‘Central Park’ team said they “profoundly regret that we might have contributed to anyone’s feeling of exclusion or erasure.”
“Black people and people of colour have worked and will continue to work on ‘Central Park’ but we can do better. We’re committed to creating opportunities for people of colour and Black people in all roles on all our projects — behind the mic, in the writers room, in production and in post-production,” the statement continued. “Animation will be stronger for having as many voices, experiences, and perspectives as we can possibly bring into the industry. Our shop and our show will be better for respecting the nuances and complexity around the issue of representation and trying to get it right.”
Bell’s “Frozen” co-star Josh Gad, who is also co-creator of “Central Park”, appeared on Today on Friday and told Al Roker the decision to recast Bell’s character wasn’t difficult.
“It was frankly an easy decision to make,” said Gad. “We all collectively understood, even before the events of the past few weeks, that we made a mistake and you have to take ownership of that and you have to move forward. Kristen has been as always one of the most incredibly supportive and collaborative human beings in making this decision as she was to join the show and so it was a no-brainer.”
The ‘Central Park’ news comes shortly after Jenny Slate announced on Instagram that she would no longer be voicing Missy, a biracial character, on Netflix’s Big Mouth. Production on Big Mouth season 4 has already wrapped, so Slate’s voice will be heard as Missy on that upcoming season. However, producers are actively looking for a Black or multiracial voice actress to fill the role.
MORE FROM ET: