Riverdale Showrunner Promises Change After Vanessa Morgan Criticism

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(Photo: Zach D. Roberts)

Riverdale executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has released a brief statement via Twitter following comments made by series regular Vanessa Morgan that were critical of Hollywood in general and Riverdale in particular. Morgan is one of a number of actors of color who have commented on their experiences in Hollywood amid a production shutdown that coincides with widespread social unrest sparked by police violence against Black Americans. After her initial, fairly general comments about how entertainment depicts characters of color and the sorts of roles actors of color are called upon to play, things got more personal.

Saying that she knew her castmates had her back, comments about the way her character was written and her pay rate put management firmly in the crosshairs. She noted in response to one fan's comments that she is "the only Black series regular, but also paid the least."

"Tired of how black people are portrayed in Media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people," said Morgan's initial tweet. "Tired of us also being used as sidekick non dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show. I'm not being [quiet] anymore."

You an see Aguirre-Sacasa's statement below.

On Sunday, Morgan had come to the defense of Katy Keene star Ashleigh Murray. Murray, who played Josie McCoy on Riverdale and now does so on Katy Keene, was the only Black series regular prior to Morgan being promoted to the role in season three. After Murray's departure, Morgan is now the sole Black series regular.

A fan narrative has emerged that Murray was difficult on set prior to leaving Riverdale, but Morgan was not having it.

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"You don’t know what the f--k your talking about and don’t talk about my friend like that," Morgan replied to a since-deleted tweet. "Another thing I hate: BLACK women being called DIVAS for sticking up for themselves. Maybe the show should write for her like the white characters. You picked the wrong day, get off my page."

Since Josie and the Pussycats -- still the only Archie Comics property to have a threatrical film released -- is a notable stand-alone piece of intellectual property, the characters were promoted heavily in the show's first season. Ultimately, Josie remained but Melody (Asha Bromfield) and Valerie (Hayley Law) were written off the show. Riverdale faces criticism from the start of the show, right up until Murray left, that they were failing her character, and the other Black characters on the show. Fans have also been critical of the show's treatment of Chuck Clayton, who was depicted as much more of a violent bully in the TV series than in the comic book source material.

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