Riverdale boss apologizes to Vanessa Morgan, vows to honor actors of color
"We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She's right."
Riverdale creator and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa broke his silence this week after one of his stars, Vanessa Morgan, made earlier remarks about how she's "the only black series regular" on the show "but also paid the least." Aguirre-Sacasa offered an apology to the actress and made a promise to "do better" by all the actors of color on the show.
"We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She's right," he wrote in a statement, shared on Twitter late Thursday night. "We're sorry and we make the same promise to you that we did to her. We will do better to honor her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of color."
"CHANGE is happening and will continue to happen," he continued. "Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller. Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it. All of the Riverdale writers made a donation to [Black Lives Mater Los Angeles], but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writer's room."
On Sunday, Morgan, who plays Toni Topaz on the CW drama inspired by Archie comics, began tweeting about "how black people are portrayed in Media" in light of the on-going Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd by police. "Tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous, or angry scary people," she wrote. "Tired of us also being used as sidekick non-dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show. It starts with the media. I'm not being [quiet] anymore."
She later replied to comments on Twitter, "Lmao too bad I'm the only black series regular but also paid the least." She also added, "And I will no longer take roles that don’t properly represent us. PERIOD."
Riverdale season 4 was cut short due to social-distancing measures without episodes for prom or graduation. Aguirre-Sacasa mentioned in an interview with EW that "prom would be a great season premiere next year." "We're essentially starting the season with the last three episodes of season 4, and partly because they're dynamite episodes," he said. "I mean big, big, big changes happen. We are continuing the mystery and the relationship drama straight into season 5." Beyond that, we'll see how the writer's room adapts the show to this new vow.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.