In a series of tweets over the weekend, American Gods star Orlando Jones revealed that he was fired from the show. In the show, he portrayed Mr. Nancy (aka the trickster god, Anansi) who was a crucial source of the show’s political undertones.
In the video posted on Twitter, Jones said, “There will be no more Mr. Nancy. Don’t let these motherf***ers tell you they love Mr. Nancy. They don’t.” He continued, “I’m not going to name names but the new season 3 showrunner [Charles Eglee] is Connecticut born and Yale-educated, so he’s very smart and he thinks that Mr. Nancy’s angry, get s**t 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?”
A later tweet he sent out also took aim at the production company, Fremantle USA, which also produces America’s Got Talent. Gabrielle Union, Mel B, Nick Cannon and Heidi Klum have all spoken about the company and their time on that show.
He also thanked numerous people involved with the show including Neil Gaiman, who wrote the book, and the show’s original showrunners, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green.
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) December 14, 2019
Correction: I was fired Sept 10, 2019 like @itsgabrielleu @OfficialMelB @NickCannon @heidiklum all have said @FremantleUS is a nightmare. They treated you like a 2nd class citizen for doing your job to well. Stay tuned. More to come. #AngryGetsShitDone pic.twitter.com/DQYtaMfs8O
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) December 14, 2019
So according to @americangodsus and @FremantleUS Chic Eglee , The show runner and myself clashed, let’s be clear I HAVE NEVER had a conversation or met the showrunner, he never once reached out to me or called me!! He sent others to do his dirty work….
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) December 16, 2019
In an exclusive interview with Variety after sending out the above tweets, Jones delved further into the situation and his issues with the current show. The actor said the reason why he took to Twitter to reveal the news was because he thought that the show would make an official statement about the fact that he would not be in the third season. With the year coming to a close and a statement still not released, he decided to take matters into his own hands and reveal the truth after one of Mr. Nancy’s monologues in which he talked about slavery being a cult was going viral on Twitter.
“I assumed at some point, somebody would say that I wasn’t going to be in season three. And I imagined that someone would reach out or, there would be some sort of press release out to respond to that in some meaningful way,” he said.
Jones continued, “I was getting hundreds of messages from fans on each one of those [social media] platforms. ‘We can’t wait for Season 3,’ ‘We love Mr. Nancy,’ ‘I use this in my class,’ ‘This really touched my soul,’ I mean, beautiful stuff. And to be honest with you, I cried. I just sat and cried because I knew that I wasn’t going to be there. This is insane, so the person who they’re going to hate is me. I didn’t want to be in a scenario where somebody paid their hard-earned dollars for Season 3 of American Gods just to find out I wasn’t going to be there. This is just wrong. And at some point I gotta say something,” he said. “So I just repeated what they had said. All I can say is what I was told. And all what I was told was, ‘angry gets s**t done’ is the wrong message for Black America, and that the new showrunner [Eglee] writes from a Black male perspective.”
The actor joined the writers’ room in Season 2 and became a consulting producer, writing for characters like Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), Salim (Omid Abtahi), Jinn (Mousa Kraish) and Sam Black Crow (Devery Jacobs). “When I showed up to work in Season 2, they hadn’t written at all for Mr. Nancy. I ended up finding myself in the writing chair for all of the disenfranchised characters,” he said. Because of this, he assumed that he and Mr. Nancy would be in the fold for the third season.
“Suddenly they went radio silent in August for about three or four weeks. I was doing some marketing work with Starz for American Gods on the show. So there was no reason for me to assume that I wouldn’t be doing what they had all told me I would be doing, which is writing, producing and performing on the show.” He then got the call on September 10. Fremantle says in their official statement on the matter that the actor’s “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 three.”
“I know I’m not going to be on American Gods and you’re trying to play like it’s some option thing that you’re not picking up, but you fired me, I get it. But you also took me out of all this other work that I could do… To now say what they’re saying, which is, ‘Oh, we didn’t pick up his option,’ is laughable. Because if that’s the case, why couldn’t you have told me that months ago? Why did you take me out of work? Why did you hurt my family? Why did you not talk to me at all [and] never deign to have a conversation with me? And, and then not even tell the fans?” he said.
Jones also revealed the conversation he had with Union on Saturday. Her firing from Fremantle’s America’s Got Talent has dominated news headlines. “This is exactly what Gabrielle is describing. I’m literally trying to save you from yourself, because you’ve got these characters here, and you don’t want to do anything for them, but then you want to say that you care about the LGBTQ+ community…so help me understand how, what my role is here. How am I your enemy? And that’s how Gabrielle felt.”
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