BoJack Horseman’s Alison Brie Regrets Playing Vietnamese-American Character (Reports).
Alison Brie, one of the voice talents for Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, has announced that she regrets playing her Vietnamese-American character. Brie’s comments come amid announcements from other white actors who voice minority characters choosing to step away from their roles. Most notably, the voice actor for the character of Cleveland Brown on Family Guy, a show which is still on-going, has stepped down from his position so that the showrunners can accurately recast the role. Many of these actors, including Brie, have stated how important it is to accurately represent these communities by casting minority actors in these roles.
Brie has made a name for herself in both TV and film as an actress with portrayals on various shows such as Community and Mad Men. She’s lent her voice to Unikitty in The Lego Movie and its sequel and notably as the character Diane Nguyen on BoJack Horseman. The aforementioned TV show’s cast also featured other talented actors such as Will Arnett as talking horse, BoJack Horseman, and Aaron Paul as his roommate, Todd Chavez. BoJack Horseman aired for six seasons on the flagship streaming service and chronicles the life of the former TV actor as he plans a celebrity comeback while also dealing with his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Brie’s character, Diane, was a ghostwriter for BoJack’s autobiography which was being written to accomplish said goal.
On her Instagram, Brie wrote that she wishes she had not voiced the character of Diane Nguyen on BoJack Horseman. As a white actress, she recognizes the fact that when it comes to characters of color, they should always be voiced by people of color. Brie also acknowledged the fact that the show missed a great opportunity to represent the Vietnamese-American community “accurately and respectively,” and she commends other voice actors who have taken a similar action in recent days.
Before Brie made this announcement on social media, BoJack Horseman’s showrunner, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, also responded to questions on Twitter regarding the casting of the character. In a thread, Bob-Waksberg went into detail regarding the casting of Diane and explained that his understanding of the issue has been evolving since concerns first surfaced in the early seasons of the show. He has since come to realize why it’s not okay, and even provided a link to a previous interview he gave on the subject. Bob-Waksberg also addressed the fact that while there has been Asian writers who’ve worked for the show, they never had a Vietnamese writer for the entire six season run of BoJack Horseman and he acknowledges that was a mistake.
With the current state of the world, many people – especially non-minorities – are starting to realize the importance of accurately representing diverse communities in pop culture. When it comes to non-white characters in shows such as BoJack Horseman, it is important for the showrunners to realize they should be more accurately casting for the roles of said characters. When it comes down to it, as Bob-Waksberg eluded to, it is important to criticize those that disregard characters of color and engage them in a healthy conversation on the topic.
As times are starting to change, both for the real world and the entertainment one, the need for shows to create accurate representations of people of color is becoming all the more prevalent. This not only requires casting actors of the appropriate ethnicity in live-action and animated roles, but making a commitment to hire more minorities at all levels of production, from from the production assistants to writers and directors. It’s a good sign of progress that those who create and star in many of today’s TV shows and movies are beginning to make the necessary changes, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.