The Falcon and The Winter Soldier actor Anthony Mackie recently described took issue with Marvel Studios hiring practices and called it racist in an Actors on Actors interview with Snowpiercer’s Daveed Diggs.
Around the 17 minute mark in the above video, Diggs and Mackie are discussing what they can do as actors when it comes to representation on set or influencing current events.
Diggs asks Mackie, “What do you feel like is the thing you feel compelled to do that is your participation in this moment?”
Mackie responds, “When The Falcon and The Winter Soldier comes out, I’m the lead of the show. When Snowpiercer came out, you’re the lead of the show. So, we definitely have the power and ability to ask those questions.”
He continued, “It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies now. Every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white. We had one black producer, his name was Nate Moore. He produced Black Panther.”
He then adds, “But then when you do ‘Black Panther,’ you have a black director, black producer, you have a black costume designer, you have a black stunt choreographer, you have a black… And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the black people for the black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?“
“My big push with Marvel, with everybody is hire the best person for the job. If you look at it now, there’s no reason why you can’t say alright well I want… Even if it means we’re going to get the best two women, we’re going to get the best two men. We are going to get the best two, best two that, the best two this. Fine. I’m cool with…for the next 10 years. It starts to build a new generation of people who can put something on their resume to get them other jobs. If we got to divvy out a percentage, divvy it out. At least for…,” Mackie says.
Mackie then states, “And that’s something as artists and leading men that we can go in and push for and push the envelope.”
A Segregated Hollywood
Mackie’s comments come amid an ongoing trend in Hollywood where certain characters can only be played by a specific type of actor. Most notably, a litany of white actors portraying voices of black or mixed roles has been deemed inappropriate. Many have voiced their concern over portrayals of such roles and decided to give up voicing the roles altogether.
The producers behind Apple TV’s Central Park recently made the decision to remove Kristen Bell from the voice of Molly Tillerman.
Kristin Bell recently detailed that she would no longer voice Molly Tillerman for the Apple TV show ‘Central Park’ due to the character being of mixed race.
The statement begins, “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.”
It continues, “But after reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes 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.”
The statement does note Bell will remain part of the show, “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 added, “We profoundly regret that we might have contributed to anyone’s feeling of exclusion or erasure.”
“Black people and people of color have worked and will continue to work on Central Park but we can do better. We’re committed to creating opportunities for people of color and Black people in all roles, on all our projects – behind the mic, in the writers room, in production, and in post-production,” the statement continued.
The statement concluded, “Animation will be stronger for having as many voices, experiences, and perspectives as we can possibly bring into the industry. Our shop and our show will be better for respecting the nuances and complexity around the issue of representation and trying to get it right.”
Bell would not be alone in losing a non-white voice acting role. Jenny Slate quit Netflix’s Big Mouth.
She explained her reasoning on Instagram.
The Simpsons also announced that they will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.
As reported by Variety the producers issued a statement that reads, “Moving forward, ‘The Simpsons’ will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”
This announcement came after Family Guy voice actor Mike Henry announced he would no longer provide the voice for Cleveland.
Henry wrote on Twitter, “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.”
He added, “Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”
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. pic.twitter.com/FmKasWITKT— Mike Henry (@mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020
There has been further industry fallout from recent racial tensions. A number of personalities have been called out for their usage of blackface in the past. On that list are Jimmy Kimmel, Howard Stern, Ted Danson, and Jimmy Fallon.
What do you think of Anthony Mackie’s assessment of Marvel Studios? Sound off in the comments below or let’s talk about it on social media!