Mike Henry has stepped down from voicing Cleveland Brown on “Family Guy” – the latest in the line of White actors abandoning their roles of voicing animated characters of color.
Henry made the announcement Friday on Twitter.
“I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color,” he said. “Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”
It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role. pic.twitter.com/FmKasWITKT
— Mike Henry (@mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020
Henry has been playing this role for the past 21 years on Family Guy
Henry has been voicing “Family Guy” characters since its debut in 1999. In addition to Cleveland, he also voices Consuela, a Latina maid, on the long-running animated series in addition to numerous other minor characters.
Henry has also voiced Cleveland and his Black stepson, Rallo Tubbs, on the spin-off series “The Cleveland Show,” which aired for four seasons from 2009 to 2013.
Why this sudden decision?
The announcement comes shortly after “The Simpsons,” like “Family Guy,” declared that it would no longer have White actors voice non-White characters. That decision came months after Hank Azaria said he would no longer voice the popular “Simpsons” character Apu. Apu has been criticized as a racist, stereotypical and demeaning portrayal of South Asian people.
He is now the latest in line of white actor to announce they will no longer voice a character of color on an animated show. On the other hand, Jenny Slate announced on Wednesday that she would no longer play the biracial character, Missy, on the popular Netflix show “Big Mouth.”