Los Angeles: 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.