Orlando Jones, who has played the indelible trickster Mr. Nancy for two seasons on Starz’s American Gods (a show that has been plagued with an astounding amount of behind-the-scenes drama), posted a video on social media Saturday morning to say he’s been fired from the show. The actor claims this was a decision made by new showrunner Charles Eglee (of The Walking Dead and Dexter fame) in September, as Eglee doesn’t believe the character of Mr. Nancy appropriately fits into the show’s narrative any longer.
“Don’t let these motherfuckers tell you they love Mr. Nancy. They don’t,” Jones explained in the video. “I’m not going to name names but the new season-three showrunner is Connecticut born and Yale educated, so he’s very smart and he thinks that Mr. Nancy’s angry, get-shit-done is the wrong message for black America. That’s right. This white man sits in that decision-making chair and I’m sure he has many black BFFs who are his advisers and made it clear to him that if he did not get rid of that angry god Mr. Nancy he’d start a Denmark Vesey uprising in this country. I mean, what else could it be?” Jones added that Fremantle, which produces American Gods, was “a nightmare” who “treated you like a second-class citizen for doing your job too well” — and that the show was “exceptionally nasty and evil” with how they chose to fire him.
Jones was most recently promoted to a writer and producer position for American Gods’ second season. In the video, he also thanked the “wonderful” and “magnificent” previous showrunners, Neil Gaiman and Bryan Fuller, for “allowing me to play this role.”
Update, December 15: Fremantle, in a statement to Deadline, confirmed that Jones would not be appearing in the third season of American Gods. However, the production company insisted it was an appropriate creative decision that reflected Gaiman’s original novel. “The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material. Mr. Jones’ option was not picked up because Mr. Nancy, among other characters, is not featured in the portion of the book we are focusing on within season 3,” the statement said. “Several new characters, many of which have already been announced, will be introduced into Shadow Moon’s world that will further contribute to the show’s legacy as one of the most diverse series on television.”