Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon has opened up about his thoughts on whitewasting the voice cast behind animated characters of color. Over the last year especially, there has been a number of changes behind the scenes for many animated productions in order to better bolster diversity and equal representation behind the scenes. This initiative has seen other animated sitcoms such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, Big Mouth, and more already make changes to their respective voice casts to have an actor of color portray a character of color in the series rather than the white actor before.
Rick and Morty recently won the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for the Season 4 episode, "The Vat of Acid Episode," and co-creator Dan Harmon was asked about his feelings on the entire situation during the virtual backstage presser following the ceremony.
As Harmon states, it's a concern built from years of the practice, "That issue, they call it the whitewashing thing if you will, that's been going on for a while...The wave has gotten to the point where it's huge now, but we've been in that water for a bit." As for his own approach on casting, Harmon explained as such, "I've always been of the mind that there's a lot of actors out there; if we're saying that it's an important part of a character they are of a certain background, the best way to do this is to find an actor of that background."
Elaborating on this further, Harmon revealed the smaller struggles within the search that need to be avoided, "But it gets into this weird question, 'What if you didn't find an actor from that particular group for representation purposes?' or 'What if that actor is the worst actor in the world?' Those conversations are minefields." But Harmon also notes that the critique came from a longstanding process.
As Harmon explained further, "The best thing that people of privilege can do is not try to figure it out logically...it sure feels like the right thing to do is to not write, 'This guy looks like this' and then cast someone that doesn't to do an impression of someone that looks that way...That's not throwing anyone under the bus that has been doing that, because that was normal for a long time. We're privileged because we have a sci-fi show and three-quarters of the characters are from a different planet."
What do you think of Dan Harmon's comments on voice cast whitewashing? Does Rick and Morty fall prey to this or does it avoid this altogether? Let us know all of your thoughts in the comments!