Fan-favorite Orlando Jones is reportedly fired from the show American Gods. The actor portrayed the character of Mr. nancy in the first two seasons.
Recently, the management of the show has confirmed that Jones will no longer be the part of season three. Orlando took to his social media handles to voice his displeasure over his firing.
The firing itself is not unheard of, with TV shows casting and recasting when convenient. American Gods have also had its share of behind-the-scenes drama, but the reason behind Jones' firing is what brought about incendiary heat on the showrunner.
Jones posted a scathing video on his Twitter that detailed his firing and the alleged reason why he was fired.
The Reason Behind Orlando Jones' Firing Is Allegedly Race-Related
Orlando Jones, who played the African trickster god, Mr. Nancy, in the show, alleged that the showrunner for season 3 of American Gods did not think his character was right for "Black America."
American Gods have seen a slew of changes to its showrunners during its two-season-run. For season 3, Charles Eglee stepped in as the showrunner. Jones implicates Eglee as the impetus behind his firing. While not explicitly naming Eglee, it is evident from his video which he blames for his firing.
In the blistering Twitter video laced with gratuitous profanity, Orlando said the following:
"There will be no more Mr. Nancy. Don’t let these m****rf*****s tell you they love Mr. Nancy. They don’t. 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. That’s right. 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?”
Jones' character, Mr. Nancy, is a Ghanaian god who can shape-shift between a spider and a man. Based on the African folklore of Anansi, Mr. Nancy is a symbol of slave resistance and survival, using his abilities to free the oppressed from their persecutors.
On the show, his character is portrayed as fierce and angry, which, according to Jones, Eglee believes in perpetuating the stereotype regarding black men and sending the wrong message to Black America.
It is worth mentioning that this is only one side of events. This is a pretty serious accusation lampooned on Eglee, and in this day and age, could effectively end his career.
American Gods Production Studio, Lead Ricky Whittle, And Author Neil Gaiman's Comments
Since Jones' firing, Eglee has come under intense backlash, and many people have commented on the incident, including the stars of the show.
Ricky Whittle, who plays one of the central characters on American Gods, Shadow Moon, took to Twitter to maintain a diplomatic stance on the matter. He defended both Jones and Eglee and maintained that he does not know the full extent of the events that transpired.
The whole situation also prompted the production studio of the show to respond. In a joint statement made by Starz and Freemantle, the studio claimed that the firing was not race motivated, but rather plot motivated.
The statement reads:
“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.”
Neil Gaiman, on whose novels the series is based, also commented on the situation.
Amidst all the ruckus, Neil Gaiman's tweet celebrates Orlando Jones' work on the show and his character as an upstanding human being.