Kristen Bell will no longer voice a mixed-race character on 'Central Park'

Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate who played mixed-race animated characters on "Central Park" and "Big Mouth" are stepping down from their roles. The shows say they will recast the roles with mixed-race or Black voice actors.

Posted: Jun 26, 2020 5:31 AM
Updated: Jun 26, 2020 5:31 AM

Citing her own "pervasive privilege," Kristen Bell has announced she is leaving her role as a mixed-race character on the Apple TV+ animated series, "Central Park."

Bell, a White actress beloved for playing Anna in the "Frozen" film franchise, voices Molly on the animated musical comedy about the Tillermans, a family that lives in Central Park. Her departure is one of the latest examples of the racial reckoning happening in Hollywood and around the world following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd.

"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," Bell wrote Wednesday in the caption of a photo showing a statement from the series on her verified Instagram account.

"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," Bell wrote. "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 and the creative team behind the show recognize "that the casting of the character of Molly is an opportunity to get representation right - to cast a Black or mixed race actress and give Molly a voice that resonates with all the nuance and experiences of the character as we've drawn her," according to the statement.

"Central Park" centers on "Owen, the park manager, and Paige, his journalist wife, (who) raise their kids Molly and Cole in the world's most famous park, while fending off hotel heiress Bitsy Brandenham and her long suffering assistant Helen, who would love nothing more than to turn the park into condos," according to Apple TV+.

Another White actress, Jenny Slate, recently announced she is quitting her role voicing the mixed-race character Missy Foreman-Greenwald on the Netflix animated series "Big Mouth."

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