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American Gods’ Mousa Kraish, Who Plays the LGBTQ Jinn, Was Not Asked Back for This Season

Mousa Kraish as the Jinn in American Gods

Following the uproar around Orlando Jones’ firing from American Gods, Jinn actor Mousa Kraish wrote on Twitter, “I can confirm that I wasn’t asked to come back this season.” This begs the question of what the hell the troubled TV show thinks it’s doing.

As our Jessica Mason covered this weekend, Jones’s exit from the series has been hugely upsetting to fans and troubling to those who wonder where the show is headed, especially, as Jones told Variety, “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 [Chic Eglee] writes from a black male perspective.” Eglee, who is sixty-eight and white, is taking over as showrunner for the third season; on American Gods, showrunner is rather like the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position at Hogwarts, such is the turnover. Now it also appears that Eglee’s vision for the third season does not include the popular, groundbreaking character of the Ifrit played by Mousa Kraish.

Kraish’s feed has long been one of the few consistently bright and positive corners of Twitter. (His bio reads “advocate for human rights and the guy most likely to high five you with love when you walk by me,” and shows Kraish taking a sweet selfie with a cat.) Pair his overwhelming warmth with the cultural importance of his queer Middle Eastern character, the Jinn, and his loss feels like a final nail in the coffin of the once-promising American Gods series.

Jones was one of the first to respond from the cast, writing:

If you weren’t sufficiently emotional, here’s the response from Omid Abtahi, who played the Jinn’s lover Salim:

This fan summed up our sentiments exactly:

American Gods author Neil Gaiman seemed to be trying to put a positive spin on the news by suggesting that Kraish could return in the future:

OK.

More publicly angry about the news was original American Gods co-creator and co-showrunner Michael Green:

And Green’s co-creator and showrunner Byran Fuller was “heartbroken”:

Replies on Twitter underscored the importance of Kraish’s role as the boundary-breaking Jinn:


Uhh …

Hmm …

It’s clear from Kraish and Gaiman’s comments that there’s the potential for the Jinn to return in later seasons. But that’s reliant on many factors, including whether Kraish would actually want to come back, and if there’s any kind of viable American Gods property remaining in the future. Kraish was recently accepted into Sony TV’s Diverse Directors’ Program class for 2019-2020, and we can’t wait to see what he does next. It can only be better than whatever American Gods has become.

(image: Starz)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.