American Gods actor Orlando Jones took to Twitter yesterday claiming he’d been fired from the Starz series due to issues related to race. Fans were not happy with the news. Starz and Freemantle, the show’s studio, released a statement insisting that Jones being left out of American Gods Season 3 was due to the absence of his character, Mr. Nancy, from this portion of the plot of the Neil Gaiman novel on which the show is based and not for any reasons related to race. Now American Gods star Ricky Whittle, who plays the series’ lead character Shadow Moon, has offered his comments on the situation. In his statement, Whittle refers to American Gods Season Three showrunner Charles Eglee by his nickname, “Chic.”
Posting on Twitter, Whittle writes, “Orlando Jones is an incredible talent and friend I look up to, support and I hope we work together again. He was fun to work with, gave me seasoned advice and constantly gave award worthy performances as Mr Nancy. Nothing but love for him. Im unable to speak on his situation as I have no knowledge of what has transpired, I was not addressed nor am I privy to any decisions made regarding cast/storyline.
“Speaking only from my personal experience, Chic personally has really had my back since day one, wanting to explore shadow in more depth, I am extremely proud of the stories we are telling in in season 3 and have really enjoyed shooting the season thus far, in which we continue Shadow’s story deeper and his journey to Lakeside, the next part of Neil Gaiman’s wonderful book. I’ve been blessed with incredible casting for all of the many distinctive characters Shadow has come across on his journey, including the wonderful Mr. Nancy, and look forward to meeting more and sharing Shadows next chapters this season and beyond.”
In his original post, Jones accused Eglee of being uncomfortable with Mr. Nancy's depiction in the series. He said, "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?”
A spokesperson for Freemantle responded to Jones' accusations, saying in a statement, "The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material. 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."