When Will the Entertainment Industry Properly Support Their Black & Brown Talent?
Every time a BIPOC actor gets harassed by fandom, it never shocks me, but I get more and more confused as to how nothing changes. The latest victim of this was comedian and podcaster Laci Mosley, for the iCarly reboot, of all things.
Based on the Nickelodeon show starring Miranda Cosgrove as web talk show host Carly Shay, the revival features Mosley as Carly’s best friend, Harper. People were angry that Harper was the “Black replacement” for Carly’s best friend in the original series, Sam, played Jennette McCurdy, who has retired from acting.
Rather than just being sad about McCurdy’s retirement, but understanding that it was just another organic evolution of the show, Mosley started to get racist messages on social media from toxic viewers. As a result, rather than enjoy this new big break in her career, Mosley has had to deal with racist, vile people for just being cast on a show.
“She’s not a replacement of Sam,” Mosley told the L.A Times. “She’s not a substitution. She’s a completely different person. She’s queer, she’s Black — and not in a stereotypical way. We don’t even address her queerness as something odd. Harper never has a coming out. She’s just queer. It’s normal. No one cares, you know, and I love that about the role. But also, she’s really fun. She pushes Carly into doing crazy things all the time.”
Back in May, Mosely wrote on Instagram that the messages were “the most racism I’ve ever experienced in my life over the course of 72 hours” and overshadowed the joy and celebration of working on this reboot.
“I love being Black. I hate how Black people are treated on this planet. I took this role on iCarly because the room is diverse (@chescaleigh you’re a dream) our show runner @ali_schouten is so incredibly kind and caring and the cast is talented and some of the best people I’ve ever met. I was shocked when a celebration of all the hard work we’ve put into making this reboot was overshadowed by the most racism I’ve ever experienced in my life over the course of 72 hours. I felt silly being so upset because I’ve been in this little brown body my entire life and racism isn’t new but it still hurts. I’m not “replacing Sam” I’ve never met her but I know she’s extremely talented and I hope she does not condone some of y’all’s behavior. Racism kills. I can’t beg you to love me or yourselves enough to be kind to people but I can block you and protect my peace. Thank you to my friends and family who have reached out to check on me I really appreciate you all. Black is beautiful and no amount of slurs or vitriol you dump online will change that.”
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While Mosley felt supported during the ordeal, not all marginalized actors are so fortunate. Mosley wants other companies to step up in turn.
“I hope that more networks will take the lead of Paramount+ in standing up to their fans when they treat their Black cast members or their people of color cast members poorly like this,” she said.
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In addition to Mosley, writer/co-producer Franchesca Ramsey was also targeted because of her outspoken progressivism and dragged for any complaints people had about the show, despite being one of several writers.
Mosley is right. Studios and networks need to do more to protect their Black talent and actors of color, because this keeps happening. No matter how big or small the fandom is, anti-Blackness creeps in like a virus and sucks all the enjoyment out of these experiences. It is exhausting, and we are all tired of it.
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