Orlando Jones Wasn’t “Fired” From ‘American Gods’ Over Race, But Plot, Insists Producer Fremantle – UPDATE

He was on-screen, as well as writing & producing on the Starz's series based on Neil Gaiman's novel, but now it seems Mr. Nancy is out the door Starz

UPDATE, 3:45 PM: EXCLUSIVE: The departure of Orlando Jones from the third season of American Gods is not about race, says Fremantle, it is about story.

“The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material,” says a spokesperson for the company to Deadline. “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,” they added.

Earlier today, the actor went online to make public his exit from the now Chic Eglee showrun series. Having never even been invited to join the Toronto-based production of the third season, Jones cited a clash with Eglee was the reason for him being fired, so to speak.

“I’m not going to name names but the new season 3 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,” Jones said on Twitter this morning as you can see in the full video below. “This white man sits in that decision-making chair and I’m sure he has many black bffs who are his advisors 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?” the actor, who served as a writer and producer on Season 2 of the somewhat troubled show stated.

Not so, says Fremantle hours later.

“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,” the spokesperson speaking Saturday asserted.

While that may be the official word, what can’t be lost on a number of fans of both Neil Gailman’s award winning book and the Starz series on which it is based is how much and how often the adaptation has strayed in Seasons 1 & 2 from the 2001 novel – as adaptations usually do.

In production right now mainly in the Canadian metropolis, Season 3 of American Gods is primarily focused on the chilling Lakeside portion of EP Gaiman’s fictional tome.

Starting in Chapter Nine of the battling deities novel, Shadow Moon, played by Ricky Whittle in the series, finds himself hiding out from the New Gods in a sub-zero Wisconsin town where mystical forces and the body count both seem to be rising. Icy Lakeside and its mysteries return poignantly later in the book as the war between the Odin-led Old Gods and the Mr. World-fronted New Gods heats up.

Seems on the small screen, there was no space in all that for the Jones portrayed trickster Mr. Nancy AKA Anansi. None at all.

PREVIOUSLY, 9:50 AM: The tumultuous run of American Gods looks to have taken another turn, with Orlando Jones declaring he has been fired from the Starz series for having “the wrong message for black America.”

In a video post on social media this morning, the Sleepy Hollow actor, who plays the trickster god Anansi, AKA Mr. Nancy, on the Fremantle-produced show based on Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed 2001 novel let loose – as you can see below:

In a subsequent tweet, Jones added, “Thank you #AmericanGods fans. I know ya’ll have LOTS of questions about the firing. As always I promise to tell you the truth and nothing but. ❤️ Always, Mr. Nancy.”

Fremantle and Starz did not reply to request for comment on what went down with Jones during the current production of Season 3 of American Gods up in Toronto. However, sources tell Deadline that current showrunner and Walking Dead alum Charles “Chic” Eglee and the outspoken Jones never even spoke to each other before production started, though Jones was in apparent talks for roles on both sides of the camera for Season 3 – until he wasn’t.

While the producers and the premium cabler were silent on what went down with Jones, a fellow Fremantle ex-employee was not. Still awaiting the results of NBC’s outside probe into what the deal really was on the Fremantle produced America’s Got Talent, fired Season 14 judge Gabrielle Union backed Jones. With a retweet that read “Ohhhhhhhhhhh … let’s chat my friend. #StrongerTogether,” the L.A.’s Finest star clearly put Fremantle in an even brighter and more uncomfortable spotlight.

Jones’ seemingly controversial departure from American Gods is sure to be a shock to viewers, as he has been a fan favorite. A pivotal part of the Bryan Fuller and Michael Green-developed American Gods since its April 2017 debut on the premium cabler, Jones was also drafted into service as a writer and producer on the show’s rocky second season. After the exit of Fuller and Green before Season 2 and the wide spread disaffection with replacement Jesse Alexander on the drawn out second season, it was hoped that Eglee could provide some much-needed stability on the Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane led series for Season 3.

Jones now joins Season 1 cast members Pablo Schreiber, Gillian Anderson and guest Kristin Chenoweth in having left the show.

Which means, even with the likes of Power’s Lela Loren and Marilyn Manson joining American Gods for the forthcoming season, that desired smooth sailing for the series looks to have hit the rocks once again

Speaking of sailing, Jones’ set the thematic standard on American Gods with his introduction in the second episode of the first season. Deep in the bowls of a slave ship, Mr. Nancy revealed to captured Africans what awaited them on the other side of the Atlantic, both in chains and afterwards as second class citizens, as Jones said today.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/12/orlando-jones-fired-american-gods-racism-gabrielle-union-fremantle-starz-neil-gaiman-1202809444/