On December 14th, former American Gods actor Orlando Jones announced that on September 10th, he had been let go from the popular adaptation of Neil Geiman’s book series. Despite his character Mr. Nancy aka Kwaku Anansi being popular among both readers and fans of the show, he would not be back for the show’s third season.
Recently Orlando was interviewed by TheBlerdGirl; in the interview, he discussed the treatment that he and other actors faced on set. When late season two, showrunner Charles Agley was brought in, Jones and company received news of a Season 3 renewal and were brought in for an initial script reading. When discussing the table read, Jones stated, “Jones: (01:55) The first person who said, this script has got some issues and is not working was Neil Gaiman, and we expected to see changes obviously. And those changes didn’t really come forth.”
The cast and crew expected changes to be made by the showrunners and writers as Gaiman working on Good Omens at the time. Neil even approached Jones about writing a character bible for Mr. Nancy since Gaiman would be too busy with Good Omens to contribute. Jones: (02:24). Over time, Jones also contributed to writing for other characters played by people of colour, including Shadowmoon, Bilquis, Ibis and the Djinn. Jones worked with writer Rodney Barnes and was given producer credit for his contributions, thanks for insistence from the Writer’s Guild.
Despite believing that this work would lead to a possible writer’s credit going into season three, on September 10th, Jones received an unexpected phone call telling him that the show would be going in a different creative direction. Jones goes on to speak about his experiences watching Agley and company take credit for writing contributions that he made to episodes of season two.
Throughout the interview, he details several instances on set where he experienced toxic behaviour from the producers and showrunners who expected more out of him than what he was contracted to be paid for before his eventual dismissal.
Even though he was unceremoniously fired, Jones was still under contract. Because of this, he was not allowed to seek out work on another show or network until the term of the contract were up. This effectively put his career in a chokehold and led to him making the video that sparked the story in the first place.
In addition to Jones being fired, other actors, including Mousa Kraish, Djinn’s actor, were let go as well.
While it may seem like this is all a case of abuse of power in the workplace, it’s crucial to remember the story goes deeper than that. With more actors leaving the show and more details coming to light about the production company Freemantle.
The very same production company behind responsible for firing Gabrielle Union from America’s Got Talent earlier this year when she stood up against Anti-Asian racism.
A massive shoutout to Karama (TheBlerdGirl), for reaching out to Orlando Jones and for allowing him to speak his truth. While still asking all the hard questions, like why wait so long before exposing the company and its showrunners for their toxic behaviour?
You can listen to the full interview here.
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Edited By Keshav Kant