Family Guy's Mike Henry retires as voice of Cleveland Brown

Carla Harmon
June 29, 2020

White actor Mike Henry has announced he will no longer voice the black character of Cleveland on the animated TV show, Family Guy.

Henry wrote on his Twitter account that it was an "honor" to voice Cleveland Brown for twenty years. On the 26th of June, the Family Guy cast member shared that he was stepping down from the position because he wasn't a person of color.

Mike Henry also does the role of Consuela, on Family Guy, the Latina maid. Henry also co-created the spinoff series The Cleveland Show, which ran for four seasons from 2009 to 2013.

Two animated shows announced Friday evening they will stop using white voice actors to portray non-white characters. He's been voicing the character since 1999, including when the character got his own spin-off series.

All of this is a part of pop culture's recent racial reckoning, as increasingly creators and actors of color demand accountability from Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

Similar decisions were made by actresses Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell earlier this week, as they both withdrew from playing mixed race characters on their respective series, Big Mouth and Central Park.

"At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play "Missy" because her mom is Jewish and White - as am I. But "Missy" is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people", she said.

Azaria has also voiced the Simpsons characters of Black police officer Lou and the Mexican-American Bumblebee Man. Harry Shearer has played Dr Hibbert, who is Black.

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