In a searing video message shared on his Twitter account Saturday morning,Orlando Jonessays he was fired fromAmerican Godsseason 3 and alleges new showrunner Charles Eglee decided his character, Mr. Nancy, sends “the wrong message for black America.”
“I know ya’ll have LOTS of questions about the firing,” Jones prefaced in a tweet. “As always I promise to tell you the truth and nothing but [love].”
According to the actor, who played Mr. Nancy and offered significant writing and producing contributions to season 2 after the departure of original showrunnersBryan FullerandMichael Green, he was fired on Sep. 10, 2019.
“There will be no more Mr. Nancy. Don’t let these motherf–ers tell you they love Mr. Nancy. They don’t,” Jones says in the video. “I’m not going to name names but the new season 3 showrunner [Eglee] is Connecticut born and Yale-educated, so he’s very smart and he thinks that Mr. Nancy’s angry, get sh– 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 and made it clear to him that if he 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?”
Reps for Starz, Fremantle, and Eglee did not immediately respond to EW’s requests for comment.
In subsequent tweets, Jones called Fremantle, which also producesAmerican Gods, “a nightmare” that “treated you like a 2nd class citizen for doing your job [too] well.”
“They were exceptionally nasty and evil the way they did it,” he added.
Gabrielle Union, whom Jones tagged in his tweet about Fremantle, weighed in on the news. Fremantle produces bothAmerican GodsandAmerica’s Got Talent, and Union’sapparent firingfrom the latter show has been a widely tracked story.
“Ohhhhhhhhhhh,” she tweeted to Jones. “Let’s chat my friend #StrongerTogether.”
American Gods, based on authorNeil Gaiman‘s novel of the same name, began as the adaptation brainchild of Fuller and Green, who cast Jones as Mr. Nancy. Amid the story about a war between gods of classical mythologies and the gods of modernity, Mr. Nancy, an African trickster deity, became a lens through which to address modern racial issues in America. Fuller and Green had alsopreviously saidthey welcomed Jones’ input to ensure they were getting the character right.
Inan interview with EW in 2018, as the cast previewed the second season, Jones discussed moving more into writing and producing following two changes in the show’s leadership. He noted “mass incarceration” and “human trafficking,” topics he said “no one [in dramatic television] is talking about, that it’s not on anyone’s radar.”
The show cycled through multiple showrunners amid reports about behind-the-scenes conflict, and now Eglee headsAmerican Godsfor the still-in-production season 3.
Jones, in his video message, thanked Gaiman for creating the world ofAmerican Godsand for “opening the door” for him to become a writer-producer on season 2. He also thanked Fuller and Green for casting him in the role. “I hope the fans enjoyed it,” he says, “’cause really this is about you.”
This article has been updated with a response from Gabrielle Union.
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