Riverdale Creator Pledges Changes Coming After Cast Members Criticize Depiction of Black Characters

The protests inspired by the death of George Floyd - and the larger problems of police brutality [...]

The protests inspired by the death of George Floyd - and the larger problems of police brutality and racial inequality in America - have sparked some significant conversations in recent days. In particular, some have spoken out about the ways that representation in media have helped perpetuate certain stereotypes -- including Riverdale star Vanessa Morgan. Morgan has made headlines in recent days for her comments about how the representation of Black characters on television needs to improve, and it looks like series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa agrees with her sentiment. On Thursday, Aguirre-Sacasa took to Twitter to respond to the #HearVanessaMorgan campaign that fans launched on social media, and promised that the hit The CW series will improve its representation going forward, and that the writing staff has made a donation to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.

"She's right. We're sorry and we make the same promise to you that we did to her," Aguirre-Sacasa's statement reads in part. "We will do better to honor her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of color. Change is happening and it will continue to happen. Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller. Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it."

The public conversation around representation in Riverdale began last week, when a troll claimed that Josie McCoy actress Ashleigh Murray left the series because of her being a "diva". Murray, who now stars on Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene, quickly debunked the rumor. Morgan also chimed in, arguing that "maybe the show should write for [Murray] like the white characters."

That same day, Morgan made a post about how she's "tired" of how Black people are portrayed in media, particularly "as sidekick non-dimensional characters to our white leads."

Days later, Morgan reassured that she will continue to advocate for this issue, and will "no longer take roles that don't properly represent" the Black community.

Hayley Law and Asha Bromfield, who portrayed fellow Pussycats members Valerie Brown and Melody Jones in the show's early days, also shared support for Morgan's sentiment.

While Morgan has been a fixture on Riverdale since Season 2 - and a series regular for the past two seasons - fans have often called out the series for not featuring her as much as her costars. Fans had hoped to find out more about Toni and her backstory in the show's fourth season, but that largely didn't come to fruition.

Riverdale is expected to return with new episodes in January of 2021.

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