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Starz Boss Jeffrey Hirsch Addresses Orlando Jones ‘American Gods’ Exit

Starz president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch briefly discussed Orlando Jones departure from “American Gods” during an appearance at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Tuesday.

Jones starred as Mr. Nancy on Seasons 1 and 2 of the show, but described what he called his “firing” from Season 3 by showrunner Charles “Chic” Eglee in a social media post in December.

Hirsch said that the book on which the show is based is incredibly dense and “Chic and the team decided to be in an area where Mr. Nancy didn’t play a prominent role.” Hirsch also called Jones “a tremendous talent and a really great person” and that “American Gods” is “one of the most diverse shows on television.”

Jones spoke exclusively with Variety in the wake of his social media post, saying, “All I can say is what I was told. And all what I was told was, ‘angry gets s— done’ is the wrong message for black America, and that the new showrunner writes from a black male perspective.”

Jones also said that he was asked to take on writing duties in Season 2 of the series, writing for not only his own character but for others as well and particularly for the other characters of color.

Fremantle, which produces the series, disputed Jones’ characterization that he was fired from the series, saying instead that his option was not picked up as the season was going to focus on parts of the story not featuring Mr. Nancy.

“I know I’m not going to be on ‘American Gods’ and you’re trying to play like it’s some option thing that you’re not picking up, but you fired me, I get it,” Jones said at the time. “But you also took me out of all this other work that I could do… To now say what they’re saying, which is, ‘Oh, we didn’t pick up his option,’ is laughable. Because if that’s the case, why couldn’t you have told me that months ago? Why did you take me out of work? Why did you hurt my family? Why did you not talk to me at all [and] never deign to have a conversation with me? And, and then not even tell the fans?”

(Pictured: Orlando Jones)

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