Actor and comedian Orlando Jones claims he was fired from American Gods because its showrunner felt his character was sending the “wrong message for black America.”
In a video posted on Twitter, Jones announced that his character, Mr. Nancy (aka the West African trickster god Anansi), would not be returning for season three of Starz’s hit show American Gods due to what he believes is the racially motivated rationale of showrunner Charles “Chic” Eglee.
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) December 14, 2019
“I’m not going to name names but the new season three showrunner is Connecticut born and Yale-educated, so he’s very smart. And he thinks that Mr. Nancy’s ‘angry, get shit 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 they 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 went on to call Fremantle, the distribution and production company behind American Gods, a “nightmare.” Fremantle has recently faced criticism over another of its shows, America’s Got Talent, and the ousting of former judge Gabrielle Union, who claims she was let go for speaking out against a racist joke Jay Leno made on set. “They treated you like a 2nd class citizen for doing your job [too] well,” Jones said in a tweet.
Fremantle responded in a statement, saying, “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.”
In an interview with Variety, Jones called Fremantle’s response “laughable.” Jones says that Fremantle and Starz were negotiating a deal with his manager for the upcoming season but went radio silent for weeks in August. He then got the call on September 10 telling him that the show was going in a different direction.
“To now pretend that this is just about some creative direction is really insulting,” he told Variety. “My hope is that nobody finds himself in a scenario where they go into a show, and this is what they deal with: a 19-month hiatus taking you out of work, and then to be fired summarily at the last minute.”