American Gods Producers Insist Orlando Jones Was Not Fired Because of Race
On Saturday, Orlando Jones revealed in a post to Twitter that he had been fired from American Gods back in September, claiming that the show's new, Season Three showrunner, Charles Eglee, had fired the Anansi, aka Mr. Nancy actor over issues of race, specifically that "Mr. Nancy's angry, get s*** done is the wrong message for black America." Now, Fremantle, the production company behind American Gods is insisting that Jones was fired not over race, but the show's plot.
In comments to Deadline, a spokesperson for Fremantle claimed that Jones was not returning for Season 3 because the portion of the Neil Gaiman book being adapted in the season did not feature Mr. Nancy as well as some other characters.
"The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material," a spokesperson said. "Mr. 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 3."
"Several new characters, many of which have already been announced, will be introduced into Shadow Moon's world that will further contribute to the show's legacy as one of the most diverse series on television," the spokesperson continued.
On Saturday, Jones posted a short video on Twitter speaking out about his firing. In the video, he noted his termination date as September 10, 2018 but later updated to correct that date to 2019.
"September 10, 2018, I was fired from American Gods," Jones says in the video. There will be no more Mr. Nancy. Don't let these motherf****** tell you they love Mr. Nancy. They don't. 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 s*** 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 who 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?"
Even with his firing, Jones still had positive things to say for the creators of American Gods and expressed his love of having played the character.
"To the wonderful Neil Gaiman, thank you for allowing me to play this role, for opening the door for me to become a writer and a producer on Season Two of American Gods, thank you, sir. To the magnificent Bryan Fuller and the incredible Michael Green, thank you for creating this series and for allowing me also to become Mr. Nancy. I hope the fans enjoyed it because really this is about you and I hope you loved it as much as I loved doing it."
ComicBook.com has reached out to Starz for comment on the situation. We are still awaiting a response.
The Starz series is based on the novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman. The series has seen quite a bit of turnover both in front of and behind the camera since its debut, including three sets of showrunners in as many seasons. Bryan Fuller and Michael Green developed the series for television and served as showrunners for the first season. Jesse Alexander replaced them in the show's second season. As for on-screen talent, Jones is not the only actor not returning for the show's third season. Crispin Glover, Gillian Anderson, and Kristin Chenoweth are also not expected to return for Season Three.