“The Simpsons” have held to their promise that they will diversify their cast. In July the show said in a statement “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have White actors voice non-White characters.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sunday‘s Season premiere will feature Alex Désert from “The Flash”. Désert will be voicing Carl Carlson, Homer’s nuclear plant co-worker. Prior to Désert the Black character was voiced by Hank Azaria since the show began. However, it is still unclear if Désert will remain the voice of Carlson for the entire season.
The decision came after discussions surrounding Hollywood‘s Whitewashing and lack of inclusivity and representation. Jenny Slate from Netflix’s Big Mouth quit her role as a mixed-race character in June with an open letter. She called her reasoning for playing the character “flawed” and ”an example of white privilege.” She realized that continuing to voice the character would mean she was ”engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.” Slate explained, ”At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play ’Missy’ because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I. But ’Missy’ is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
In June white Voiceover actor Mike Henry, who has been with Family Guy since it started as the voice of Cleveland Brown also stepped down. The actor tweeted that people of color should fill those roles. Henry wrote, “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.”
Apple‘s animated series Central Park also recast a new actress in July to play the biracial character Molly Tillerman, previously voiced by Kristen Bell. Emmy Raver-Lampman will take over the role.