Mike Henry will no longer be voicing the character of Cleveland Brown on “Family Guy,” as he feels that “persons of color should play characters of color.”
Mike Henry has decided to step down from his role as Cleveland Brown on Family Guy, after voicing the beloved character for more than two decades. On Friday (June 26th), Henry announced his decision via Twitter, indicating that he, as a white man, could no longer voice a Black character anymore in good conscience. “It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years,” he wrote. “I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. 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 voicing Cleveland since Family Guy first premiered in 1999, and carried on the role in the character’s spinoff series, The Cleveland Show, from 2009-2013. He also does the voice of the Latina maid, Consuela, on Family Guy.
This news comes in the wake of a slew of other white actors who have announced their decisions to step down from their roles as animated Black characters. Big Mouth’s Jenny Slate revealed that she would no longer be voicing the character of Missy on the animated show, and just hours later, Central Park star Kristen Bell decided to step down from her role as Molly. The Simpsons also announced that their characters of color would no longer be voiced by white actors.