In her post, she reflects on growing up in a primarily white, conservative area in Australia and how playing her character Kat Edison “pushed [her] to be better” personally and professionally.
“For the first time in my career, I got to play a character who was centered in her own narrative,” Dee wrote. “She wasn’t just the white character’s ‘best friend.’ She was empowered and confident, she approached the exploration of her queer identity with an open heart, and was met with nothing but love and acceptance from her friends. Kat Edison: unapologetic, outspoken, brave, the woman I always wished I could be.”
Dee said she took inspiration from her character to speak openly and constructively about the show’s lack of diversity behind the camera.
“I’m ready to take a cue from my girl Kat. What would Kat do? She would take a stand and advocate for herself and all other marginalized voices to influence change,” she wrote. “I am ready to push harder and speak louder for what matters to me: The diversity we see in front of the camera needs to be reflected in the diversity of the creative team behind the camera.”
She continued: “It took two seasons to get a single BIPOC in the writers’ room for ‘The Bold Type.’ And even then, the responsibility to speak for the entire Black experience cannot and should not fall on one person. We got to tell a story about a queer Black woman and a lesbian Muslim woman falling in love, but there have never been any queer Black or Muslim writers in the room. In four seasons (48 episodes) we’ve had one Black woman direct two episodes.”
A source familiar with the show told Variety that “The Bold Type” has had queer women of color on staff. The show had a lesbian woman of color in season 2 and bisexual woman of color in season 3. In season 4, the writers’ room consisted of three people who identified as LGBTQ+, and five writers were people of color. Eight out of the 10 writers were female, says the source.
Dee also said Kat’s latest storyline, in which she had a relationship with a privileged, conservative woman, “felt confusing and out of character,” and it was “heartbreaking” to see it played out in a way she would not have chosen personally.
“I’m critical because I care, because I’ve seen firsthand the incredible impact of this show, and I believe in its potential to be better,” she wrote.
Concluding her post, Dee wrote that her message wasn’t a judgement, but rather a “call to action.”
Producers of “The Bold Type,” Freeform and Universal Television showed support for Dee in a statement issued to Variety.
“We applaud Aisha for raising her hand and starting conversations around these important issues. We look forward to continuing that dialogue and enacting positive change. Our goal on ‘The Bold Type’ is and has always been to tell entertaining, authentic stories that are representative of the world that Kat, Jane and Sutton live in — we can only do that if we listen,” they said.
“The Bold Type” centers on a trio of millennial women who are best friends and navigate their lives in New York City. The series has been nominated for several Teen Choice Awards and GLAAD Media Awards.