The Internet is still buzzing about white actor Travis Turner playing the role of a Black kid named PSI in the Netflix animated series “Spy Kids: Mission Critical.”
On Thursday we shared a clip of Turner being asked if he was worried about offending the Black community for playing such a role. In his response, the actor said since he grew up in motels and has a track with Snoop Dogg, he’s qualified to voice a Black person.
Since then, Bill Bellamy was asked about the casting decision, and he questioned why a Black actor wasn’t hired.
“There’s a lot of actors, African American actors, that you can get to do that,” he said. “So they get a white kid to do a Black voice, you know it’s going to be, like, controversial, because it doesn’t make sense. It would be like a Chinese voice in animation … They would be mad, right?”
The veteran comedian also called the Netflix casting directors lazy and placed the blame of not hiring a Black person squarely on their shoulders.
“My take is they should [recast],” Bellamy suggested. “I think they should cast a kid who is just as talented that can play the role and it can be more authentic.”
“It doesn’t make sense. Why would a guy play something that he’s not unless it’s in a joking way,” he added. “This is a real character that he’s trying to play. I’m not mad at him as a young actor. He got a job. It is what it is. For the casting directors, they’re in control of that part of it. He got the job, so I’m not hating on him. I’m just saying do you have to be that lazy, casting people.”
Since Turner received backlash for his comments, he sent an apology on social media. Netflix, however, has yet to explain why they chose him for the PSI role.
“I feel like it is very important that I apologize for the insensitive remarks that were made late last night when asked about my voicing of a character of color in an upcoming cartoon,” he wrote.
“My intention was not to be disrespectful towards a race of people, only to express my own personal struggle and how I relate to the stories told in modern hip-hop … Relating and comparing my upbringing to the struggle that African American people have experienced for generations was very wrong and not my intention,” added Turner.
You can read the rest of his apology below.