A staple of the Family Guy voice cast has announced that he will leave his most iconic role, Deadline has confirmed. Mike Henry (The Orville), who has voiced the black character Cleveland Brown since the show’s debut in 1999, revealed his decision to leave the role on Twitter.
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. pic.twitter.com/FmKasWITKT
— Mike Henry (@mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020
Henry also starred as Cleveland on his own spin-off show, The Cleveland Show, from 2009-2013. Much like other main cast members, Henry voices several characters on Family Guy, including the Latinx maid Consuela and Cleveland’s son Rallo Tubbs. While Henry has not addressed these roles directly, his words imply that he will leave these as well: “persons of color should play characters of color.”
The announcement comes at the end of a week filled with similar casting decisions. Kristen Bell is leaving her role as a biracial character on Central Park for a new character, and Jenny Slate will no longer portray a biracial character on Big Mouth. In addition, The Simpons crew revealed that all characters of color currently played by white actors will be recast.
Henry also voices the white characters of Bruno and Herbert. It is unknown, however unlikely, whether Henry will leave these roles as well. Despite Henry’s announcement, no other members of the Family Guy production staff have spoken on the decision.
Family Guy is available to stream on Hulu.