Orlando Jones put American Gods’ Season 3 showrunner on blast in a video he posted on Twitter. Jones plays Mr Nancy in the show – a trickster God celebrated as a symbol of slave resistance and survival. In the video, Jones claims that the new showrunner thought Mr Nancy was “not right” for black America.
“I’m not going to name names but the new season 3 showrunner is Connecticut born and Yale-educated, so he’s very smart and he thinks that Mr Nancy’s angry, get s**t done is the wrong message for black America,” says Jones.
The actor took significant writing duties in Season 2 and wrote a character bible for Mr Nancy. He later became the consulting producer and wrote for other characters too, particularly characters of colour like Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), Salim (Omid Abtahi), Jinn (Mousa Kraish) and Sam Black Crow (Devery Jacobs).
“This white man sits in that decision-making chair and I’m sure he has many black BFFs who are his advisors and made it clear to him that if he did not get rid of that angry god Mr Nancy he’d start a Denmark Vesey uprising in this country. I mean, what else could it be?”
In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, American Gods’ spokesperson said:
“The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material. Mr Jones’ option was not picked up because Mr Nancy, among other characters, is not featured in the portion of the book we are focusing on within season three. Several new characters, many of which have already been announced, will be introduced into Shadow Moon’s world that will further contribute to the show’s legacy as one of the most diverse series on television.”
In another tweet, Jones said working for FremantleMedia (who owns American Gods) was “a nightmare” that “treated you like a 2nd class citizen for doing your job too well.” Fellow African-American celebrity Gabrielle Union responded and invited the 51-year old to chat. Union was previously fired from America’s Got Talent for her being “too black” for the show’s audience.
Fans have since spoken out on the situation.
Jones choice to speak out against the racism he’s faced is so that other actors who find themselves in similar lessons can learn from him.
“And I certainly don’t want my daughters to think that the way that you deal in situations like this is to swallow your pride and duck… But if you’re going to do it, try and take the high road as best you can,” said Jones in an exclusive interview with Variety.
“I wish these people acted more responsibly. I wish they acted more respectfully. And it would have been nice to get a proper ‘thank you’ and would have been nice to be paid,” he said. “You know, my children aren’t in cages. I’m not in Aleppo. I still see myself as very privileged and, and I’m super grateful. But nobody else needs to go through this. Not for doing your work, for doing your job, to get screwed over like this.”
Played by Jones, Mr Nancy has become an unforgettable and powerful character. His departure is a major loss to American Gods for sure.