“It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years,” Henry tweeted. “I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”
Henry has been part of the Family Guy cast since the series first debut in 1999, and he also voiced Cleveland and Rallo Tubbs, Clevland’s black step-son, on the spin-off series The Cleveland Show. Currently, Henry also voices a character named Consuela, who is a Latina maid on Family Guy. There’s no word yet whether he will continue to play her or not.
Mike Henry joins a handful of other white actors who voice characters of color in animated series to announced in recent days that they will be exiting their roles. Jenny Slate announced earlier this week that she would no longer play the role of Missy, a black character on Netflix’s Big Mouth, and Kristen Bell announced her departure from the role of Molly, a mixed-race character on Apple TV+’s animated series Central Park. The creative team behind The Simpsons already released a statement on Friday that they will no longer employ white actors to voice non-white characters.