Orlando Jones Says He Was Fired From ‘American Gods’ Because His Character Sends ‘Wrong Message for Black America’

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Orlando Jones said he was fired from “American Gods” because his character Mr. Nancy – an iteration of Anansi, the African god of knowledge who often appears as a trickster – sent Black America the wrong message. In this photo, Jones attends the “Madiba” panel at Viacom’s BET portion of the Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Orlando Jones is not biting his tongue about being fired from “American Gods.” On the show, the actor portrayed Mr. Nancy, an iteration of Anansi, the African god of knowledge who often takes the form of a trickster. On Saturday, he took to Twitter alleging race was the motivating factor behind his release, Slate reported.

“September 10, 2018, I was fired from American Gods. There will be no more Mr. Nancy. Don’t let these mother****** tell you they love Mr. Nancy. They don’t,” Jones said. He added Charles “Chic” Eglee – the showrunner for season three who is a white native of Boston that graduated from Yale – “thinks that Mr. Nancy’s angry, get s**t done (attitude) is the wrong message for Black America.”

Jones continued his criticism of Eglee, saying the showrunner thought he knew what was best for Black America, which is a form of the white savior complex.

“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 they did not get rid of that angry god Mr. Nancy, he’d start a Denmark Vesey uprising in this county. I mean what else could it be,” Brown said, his words dripping with sarcasm.

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In response to Jones’ comments, a spokesperson from Freemantle Media, the produces “American Gods,” told Deadline race had nothing to do with the actor being fired.

“The storylines of ‘American Gods’ have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material,” the spokesperson said. “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.”

Jones’ portrayal of Mr. Nancy was brilliantly chilling and touched on ugly moments in American history. For example, he was first introduced in a slave ship, telling captured Africans the trauma their descendants would face.

Former “American Gods” showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green both spoke highly of Jones. “Orlando is a pro, a thoughtful creative partner, an insightful storyteller and a remarkable human being,” Fuller tweeted. Green shared his sentiment, tweeting, “I loved every minute of working with this wonderful man. His talent is fire and his fire is essential.” He used emojis to denote fire.

Many Twitter users of varying races seemed to agree with Fuller and Green. White users said the character made them uncomfortable, but in a good way as it as necessary to spark change and Black users celebrated his portrayal of the African god of knowledge.