5 White Voice Actors Who Gave Up Roles as Characters of Color (Photos)

From Jenny Slate on “Big Mouth” to Hank Azaria on “The Simpsons”

This year, several white voice actors from animated series have decided to forego their roles as characters of color in order for them to be recast, in some cases, to actors of color. Here are some examples of shows where this happened, from “Big Mouth” to “The Simpsons.”

Hank Azaria as Apu and Carl on “The Simpsons”Azaria confirmed to reporters at Winter TCA earlier this year that he will no longer do the voice of Indian American convenience-store proprietor Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons.” Film producer Adi Shankar previously said that the show plans to drop the character altogether. Azaria also did the voice of Carl, who was voiced by Alex Désert in its last season premiere.

Jenny Slate as Missy on “Big Mouth”The comedian said that “Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people” when she gave up the role of Missy on the Netflix animated series. Ayo Edebiri has since taken over the role. 

Mike Henry as Cleveland Brown on “Family Guy”Henry said that “persons of color should voice characters of color” when he stepped down from the role, which he’d voiced since 1999, in June. Arif Zahir has been recast in the role.

Kristen Bell as Molly on “Central Park”Bell stepped down from her role as Molly, a mixed-race character on the Apple TV+ show, in June. She will be recast into a new role and the role of Molly is intended to be given to a Black or mixed-race actress.

David Herman as Marshmallow on “Bob’s Burgers”Creator Loren Bouchard agreed to recast this Black transgender character after a Twitter user made the request in June. Marshmallow had been voiced by David Herman, who also voices the characters Phillip Frond, Mr. Branca, and Trev on the Fox cartoon.

We should also note that Alison Brie expressed regret at having played Vietnamese American character Diane Nguyen on “Bojack Horseman” and apologized after the series ended earlier this year. 

Harry Shearer as Dr Hibbert on “The Simpsons”Keeping up with their promise of no longer having white actors voice Black characters, “The Simpsons” announced that Shearer would no longer voice the Black doctor and that Kevin Michael Richardson would voice the character going forward. The news came following the show’s episode in February.
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