‘American Gods’ Actor Orlando Jones Says He Was Fired Because Mr. Nancy Is ‘Wrong Message for Black America’Variety — Erin Nyren
“American Gods” actor Orlando Jones, who played fan favorite Mr. Nancy on the Starz series, has revealed in a Twitter video that he was fired back in September and, without directly naming him, slammed showrunner Charles “Chic” Eglee for the move.
In the fiery post, Jones says that “the new Season 3 showrunner is Connecticut-born and Yale-educated, so he’s very smart, and he thinks that Mr. Nancy’s angry, get s— 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 that are his advisers and made it clear to him that if they did not get rid of that angry god Mr. Nancy, he’d start a Denmark Vesey uprising in the country.”
A spokesperson for “American Gods” responded to Jones’ claims late Saturday evening.
“The storylines of ‘American Gods’ have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material. Mr. Jones’ 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,” the statement read.
“Several new characters, many of which have already been announced, will be introduced into Shadow Moon’s world that will further contribute to the show’s legacy as one of the most diverse series on television,” they added.
In a message accompanying the video, he wrote, “I know ya’ll have LOTS of questions about the firing. As always I promise to tell you the truth and nothing but.” In a follow-up tweet correcting the date of his firing from Sept. 10, 2018 to the same day in 2019, Jones called out Gabrielle Union, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum and Mel B, adding that, like they have said, “Fremantle is a nightmare. They treated you like a 2nd class citizen for doing your job well. Stay tuned. More to come.”
Union, who has been the subject of headlines following her firing from Fremantle’s “America’s Got Talent,” responded to Jones’ post on Twitter, retweeting the video and adding, “Let’s chat my friend” and #StrongerTogether, along with some side-eye and questioning emojis.
“American Gods” has long been beset by issues behind the camera, with original creators and showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green being replaced by Jesse Alexander for the series’ second season after Fuller and Green clashed with series producer Fremantle over budget and creative direction. Alexander, who was reportedly sidelined during the second season without being officially let go, was replaced yet again by Eglee in March when the third season renewal was announced. Fremantle and Starz did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.
Union has been having issues with Fremantle as well of late, with network NBC launching an investigation into the circumstances of her firing from Fremantle-produced “America’s Got Talent.” Variety reported that Union was fired after she reported a toxic culture on the set of the show, including racial insensitivity in the show’s content and directed at Union herself.
A portion of “America’s Got Talent” is shot on the NBC lot in North Hollywood and was the site of specific grievances including an inappropriate joke from guest judge Jay Leno and, according to another report, frequent indoor smoking from executive producer Simon Cowell. Union is allergic to cigarette smoke, the report said, and developed an ongoing bronchial infection as a result.
Jones also thanked “American Gods” executive producer and author of the source novel, Neil Gaiman, for “allowing me to play this role, for writing this wonderful book, for opening the door for me to become a writer-produer on Season 2 of ‘American Gods,’ thank you, sir.” He also thanked Fuller and Green for creating the series, as well as the fans: “Really, this is about you. I hope you loved it as much as I loved doing it.”