An actress who read the script for the upcoming Neil Patrick Harris series, which was co-created by Darren Star, says she was surprised by its stereotypical portrayal of a Latina character.


The upcoming Netflix comedy Uncoupled has removed a role from the series after an actress who read the script while considering it called the character "hurtful and derogatory."

Uncoupled centers on Neil Patrick Harris' Michael, a gay man in his mid-40s who is down on his luck after his partner of 17 years suddenly walks out on him and he is forced to navigate the modern dating scene. The role that actress Ada Maris was up for was Carmen, Michael's Latina housekeeper.

Maris, who has starred on shows like Nurses and Mayans M.C., told Variety that while she was excited by the prospect of working on a project with the streaming service, she was taken aback by Carmen's lines in the audition material.

"It wasn't even funny — it was hurtful and derogatory," she said. "I was shocked because I walked in expecting something very different given the way things are nowadays and the progress we've made."

Darren Star, Ada Maris, and Neil Patrick Harris
| Credit: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images; Dominik Bindl/Getty Images; JC Olivera/WireImage

The show is produced for Netflix by MTV Entertainment Studios and JAX Media, and was created by Darren Star and Jeffrey Richman, who also wrote the pilot script together. Carmen appears in two scenes in it, one of which describes her as "nearly hysterical on the phone" seeing Michael's partner's possessions missing from the apartment. It features her delivering lines in broken English, including "Mister, I just get here and they stole!" and "They stole! They rob you! I don't know how they get in."

In her second scene, Carmen says, "No, I do that. You don't clean good — you always leave a ring."

Maris was surprised to see a project helmed by prominent gay men like Star and Harris characterize a member from another marginalized community in such a stereotypical way. "You are modern gay men," she said. "How would you like to watch or play an outdated, offensively stereotypical gay part?"

Harris is not a writer on the show and was not involved in the casting process for Carmen.

While it is unclear if Maris influenced any decisions about the character, the script was reportedly updated at one point to have Carmen say her lines grammatically correctly, with her mood in the first scene later being described as "agitated."

A Netflix spokesperson tells EW, "We're sorry that Ms. Maris had a negative experience, and this character will not appear in the series."

As to why she spoke out about the small part on Uncoupled, Maris told Variety, "I just want [writers] to think the next time they write a character like that. I'm speaking out for the younger actors coming up so they face even less of that than my generation has."

She added, "These media images shape our ideas of ourselves. That's why it's really important that the portrayals be more realistic, not hurtful. We need to see ourselves more like we really are."

After hearing the news that the Carmen role had been cut from Uncoupled, Maris said in a statement to EW, "While it is gratifying to learn that the original character has been cut from the show, wouldn't it be even more so to see a wonderful new Latino character take its place?"

EW has reached out to representatives for Star and Harris for comment.

This article has been updated with a statement from Maris.

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content: