Mike Henry is exiting his role as Cleveland Brown on “Family Guy.”
Henry made the announcement Friday on Twitter. “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.”
Henry has been with “Family Guy” since its first season in 1999. In addition to Cleveland, he also voices Consuela, a Latina maid, on the long-running animated series in addition to numerous other minor characters. Henry also voiced Cleveland and his Black stepson, Rallo Tubbs, on the spin-off series “The Cleveland Show,” which aired on Fox for four seasons from 2009 to 2013.
He is now the latest white actor to announce they will no longer voice a character of color on an animated show. Jenny Slate announced on Wednesday that she would no longer play the biracial character Missy on the popular Netflix show “Big Mouth.” Not long after that, Kristen Bell announced she would be stepping down from her role as a biracial character in the upcoming Apple animated series “Central Park.”
Back in January, Hank Azaria said he would no longer voice the Indian character Apu on “The Simpsons.” Calls for Azaria, who like Brown has voiced the character for decades, to stop playing Apu intensified in 2017 after comedian Hari Kondabolu released the documentary “The Problem With Apu.” The doc explored how people of South Asian descent felt about growing up with Apu as one of their only representatives on American television.
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