Kristen Bell Said She Has “A Lot To Learn” After Facing Backlash For Playing A Mixed Race Character

Kristen Bell Said She Has “A Lot To Learn” After Facing Backlash For Playing A Mixed Race Character

    Kristen Bell Said She Has “A Lot To Learn” After Facing Backlash For Playing A Mixed Race Character

    “I have a lot to learn.”

    headlines

    Central Park.

    Earlier this year, Kristen Bell made headlines after she accepted the role of a mixed race character in the Apple TV Plus animated series

    Kristen Bell on the 2018 Emmy Awards red carpet

    Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

    defended

    The character, Molly, has a Black father and white mother. There was backlash when Kristen’s casting was announced, but the series’ showrunner, Loren Bouchard, defended the decision in January, saying:

    Kristen needed to be Molly. We couldn’t not make her Molly. But then we couldn’t make Molly white and we couldn’t make Kristen mixed race so we just had to go forward.

    Central Park

    stepped away

    Umbrella Academy

    cast

    But this summer, amid racial justice protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, Kristen and the creative team reversed their decision. Kristen stepped away from the role, and ‘s Emmy Raver-Lampman was cast instead.

    Emmy Raver-Lampman

    Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images

    “This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Heres [one] of mine,” Kristen wrote on Twitter in June. “Playing Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege.”

    This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Heres 1 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.

    Romper

    And in a new interview with Romper , Kristen opened up about that decision to exit the series and said she has “a lot to learn.”

    Animated character Molly with the caption listing Kristen Bell as the voice actor

    Apple

    How to Be an Antiracist

    White Fragility

    required reading

    “I grew up in Detroit. I didn’t consider myself an ounce of a racist. And when I read [and] — required reading of a citizen of Earth in 2020 — I realized, ‘Well, I’ve been a part of these systems.’ I was unaware of this whole pot of shit that’s been stirring. I have a lot to learn. And I have a lot of action steps to take, to fulfill what I think my beliefs are.”

    Kristen Bell

    Axelle / FilmMagic

    Kristen added that she signed on to the show before they even had a character written for her. But she acknowledged that once the decision was made to make Molly biracial, she should have moved on from the project.

    Still of Molly with an astonished look on her face

    Apple

    “The people who say I could play that role aren’t wrong. But I wanted to step down for two reasons. One, if there was one girl who could have a job who wouldn’t otherwise have a job, because there are not a lot of Black or mixed race characters on cartoons — if one girl could have that job, I would want her to have it.”

    Kristen Bell

    Axelle / FilmMagic

    “Two, if any little girl who is mixed race or Black looks up who plays that role, I want them to see someone who looks like them.”

    Molly kissing a boy in Central Park

    instagram.com

    Apple / Via instagram.com

    “It’s absolutely the right decision,” she concluded. “And it went to absolutely the right girl.”

    Instagram

    View this photo on Instagram

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    @emmyraver / Via instagram.com

    here

    You can read Kristen’s full interview with Romper here

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