Actress Kristen Bell will no longer voice the mixed-race central character of Molly Tillerman in the animated series “Central Park”.
In the show, Molly, an aspiring comic book artiste, is the daughter of a black man (voiced by Leslie Odom Jr) and a white woman (voiced by Kathryn Hahn).
Bell took to social media to open up about her decision, reports variety.com.
“This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Here’s one of mine. Playing the Molly in ‘Central Park’ shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character w/a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race & Black American experience,” she wrote.
“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.
The decision to re-cast the role was also announced via a lengthy statement from the show’s creative team, in which they said that “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 of the nuance and experiences of the character as we’ve drawn her”.
“Central Park”, which has a two-season order at Apple TV+, hails from Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith, Josh Gad, Halsted Sullivan and Sanjay Shah.
In the long statement, the show’s creative team said: ” Kristen Bell is an extraordinarily talented actress who joined the cast of ‘Central Park’ from nearly the first day of the show’s development – before there was even a character for her to play – and she has since delivered a funny, heartfelt, and beautiful performance.”
“But after reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognises 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 of the nuance and experiences of the character as we’ve drawn her. Kristen will continue to be a part of the heart of the show in a new role but we will find a new actress to lend her voice to Molly,” it further read.
“Central Park” voice cast also includes Gad, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs and Stanley Tucci.