Jun 25, 2020

    Kristen Bell Said Accepting The Role Of A Biracial Character On "Central Park" Showed A "Lack Of Awareness" Of Her Privilege

    "I will commit to learning, growing and doing my part for equality and inclusion," Bell wrote on Instagram.

    In a statement on her Instagram on Wednesday night, Kristen Bell announced she is stepping down from voicing Molly Tillerman, a biracial character, on Central Park and said her acceptance of the role showed "lack of awareness" of her privilege.

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    The team behind the show — which debuted on Apple TV+ last month and is still in its first season — announced they will recast a Black or multiracial actor to play Molly, and Bell will take on a new role.

    20th Television

    "This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity," Bell wrote on Instagram alongside the show's statement. "Playing the character of Molly on Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege."

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    "Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience," Kristen said. "It was wrong and we, on the Central Park team, are pledging to make it right."

    She went on: "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."

    In the statement, the team behind Central Park said they "profoundly regret" contributing to feelings of "exclusion or erasure" for Black and biracial people.

    The news came the same day comedian Jenny Slate announced she would be stepping down from voicing Missy, a young Black girl, on the show Big Mouth.

    Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

    "I reasoned with myself that it was permissable for me to play Missy because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I," Slate wrote on Instagram. "But Missy is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people."

    "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," she said.

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

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