Orlando Jones, who plays the character Mr. Nancy on the STARZ show “American Gods“, will not be returning to the next season of the show after being fired due to “race issues”. Jones states that the production company behind the show, Freemantle, seems to have some problems with race as they refused to pay him for writing for the characters of Ibis, Bilquis, and of course Mr. Nancy.
“In the season two opening there’s a scene with Bilquis, Ibis, and Nancy so I rewrote and began writing those characters more often,” Jones says. “They asked me. Neil Gaiman asked me, and then the EP Jessie Alexander asked me, and then the studio and network asked me to continue. I started doing notes with the studio alone with the showrunner’s permission, of course. I was very involved and they begged me to do it. They just didn’t want to pay me. I told them I could not go against my guild. It’s a writer guild show and I’m a member. They had to pay me. They said no. I said, ‘That’s kinda racist. You paid all the white guys and they are at home…’ The guild requires that. That’s why it was so stupid for them to be so angry with me about it.“
Jones continues, “I know that Fremantle doesn’t care about the characters of color on the show. They’ve said it to me. The showrunners are told to focus on Wednesday and Shadow Moon, but really, Wednesday… That’s why in the season two opener, Mr. Wednesday is suddenly telling the story of American Gods. The story is supposed to be told from Shadow Moon’s perspective, not Wednesday. They didn’t write for us cause the openly say brown faces don’t sell in Europe.“
As one of the most interesting characters in the show, it is an absolute shame that Mr. Nancy will not be returning and considering how amazingly Orlando Jones portrayed the character, it can be rather upsetting that he has been cut out of the production.
The production company Freemantle released a statement on Jones’ accusations, stating, “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 3. 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.“
Due to these accusations by Orlando Jones, Freemantle is now under investigation by the Actors Guild, yet Freemantle will continue production on season 3 of the show as if unhindered.