The Wire star Wendell Pierce wants to voice Cleveland in Family Guy after white actor Mike Henry stepped down from playing the African-American character.
Henry has voiced Cleveland since Family Guy debuted in 1999, and also starred in spin-off series The Cleveland Show from 2009 and 2013, but announced he would step down last week (June 28, 20), in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
On Sunday, Pierce put himself forward as a replacement, tweeting,
Now that Mike Henry has consciously given up the role of Cleveland,I am publicly starting a campaign to voice the role myself on The Cleveland Show. #WendellIsCleveland @TheClevelandSho @SethMcFarlane_ pic.twitter.com/Ux3F0uk1p6
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) June 28, 2020
and tagging in Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
Announcing his departure, Henry tweeted: “It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”
It comes after bosses at rival cartoon show The Simpsons announced white actors would no longer voice characters of color on the series, following on from Hank Azaria‘s decision to quit the controversial role of Indian shopkeeper Apu.
Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate have also vacated parts voicing characters of color in animated sitcom Central Park.