Right out of the gates, Starz president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch was asked about his feelings in regards to Orlando Jones’ heated comments about his exit from American Gods, how his character of Mr. Nancy is sending the wrong message to black America, and his feelings about Season 3 showrunner Chic Eglee.
“Orlando is a tremendous talent and is a great actor and person,” Hirsch said. “The book is rich in story and [Mr. Nancy] doesn’t have a prominent role in the story… that’s where we are.”
Hirsch added that he is excited about Season 3 and that Eglee is doing a great job. Beyond that, he didn’t go into detail about Jones’ comments or his exit.
Hirsch’s response about Jones echoed that of Fremantle, which told Deadline that Jones’ departure was not about race, but about story. “The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material,” said 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.”
In December, Jones took to Twitter to talk about his exit and was blunt, saying, “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.
He continued, “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?”