‘ICarly’ restart: it’s time for Hollywood to fight racist trolls

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Laci Mosley was excited when she sat down for the life-changing video call: During the virtual meeting with Ali Schouten (“Champions”), showrunner of the “iCarly” revival now airing on Paramount +, the “Black Lady Sketch Show “The actress learned that her character would be a“ fully developed ”person with dreams and aspirations.

“When we spoke on the Zoom call, I was like, he’s mine,” Mosley told The Times.

But the excitement quickly turned to pain when Mosley became the target of racist viewers shortly after her casting was announced this spring. Based on the Nickelodeon original in which Miranda Cosgrove played pioneering web talk show host Carly Shay, the new version, which premiered in June, features Mosley as Carly’s best friend, Harper. Mosley was inundated with racist social media posts, many of which used racial slurs, from toxic viewers who complained that Mosley’s character was supposed to be a “black replacement” for Carly’s best friend in the movie. original series, Sam Puckett (Jennette McCurdy, who has since quit acting).

“She’s not replacing Sam,” Mosley said. “She is not a replacement. He’s a completely different person. She’s queer, she’s black – and not in a stereotypical way. We don’t even approach its weirdness as something weird. Harper never comes out. She’s just weird. It’s normal. Nobody cares, you know, and I like it in the role. But also, she’s really fun. She pushes Carly to do crazy things all the time.

While many posts have since been deleted due to their offensive content, the pain the experience caused Mosley will not go away as quickly.

“I was shocked when a celebration of all the hard work we put in to make this reboot was overshadowed by the most racism I have ever experienced in my life in the 72 hours,” Mosley wrote on Instagram in May in response. hate messages. “I felt silly for being so upset because I’ve been in this little brown body my whole life and racism isn’t new but it still hurts… Black is beautiful and no amount of insults or vitriol that you throw online will not change that. “

Mosley’s experience is reminiscent of other black women, as well as women of color, who have been targeted by fans of popular franchises, including Amandla Stenberg, who came under racist attack after being cast as Rue in the 2012 film adaptation of “The Hunger Games,” and Kelly Marie Tran, who suffered sexist and racist abuse against her and her “Star Wars” character. More recently, anti-black Twitter trolls even attacked Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy.

Laci Mosley as Harper in the Paramount + series “iCarly”.

(Lisa Rose / Paramount +)

“I look forward to the point where being black and getting a job in Hollywood is not a political statement,” Mosley said. “We have talent. We work very hard, many times much harder to get to where we are and we don’t deserve to be punished for it.

Mosley’s response to the situation led to her own wave of attacks, and she suddenly found herself on the defensive.

Reply on Twitter on a TMZ video who captures his curse against trolls, Mosley wrote: “I shouldn’t have sworn in that answer, but I was really caught off guard by the onslaught of racist trolls.” I deleted a lot of comments but they keep coming across all platforms. Being a black woman is exhausting. We all deserve better. “

The fans pointed out that such monitoring of Mosley’s reaction to racist attacks is a form of misogynist, a term used to describe how black women are particularly discriminated against based on their race, gender, and other factors, including their vocal tones.

Mosley credited the “iCarly” and Paramount + teams for coming to his defense in the face of intimidation. Mosley said writer / co-producer Franchesca Ramsey made sure “to protect this character and protect me as a person inside and out. She was one of the main people to talk about racism and vitriol. Plus, she made sure we had a black hairstylist and she’s done so many things on all avenues as a producer to protect black actors in particular. “

While Mosley felt supported during the ordeal, not all marginalized actors are so fortunate. Mosley wants other businesses to scale up in turn.

“I hope more networks will take the initiative of Paramount + to stand up to their fans when they treat their black actors or members of color badly like this,” she said.

Three friends are watching something on a phone sitting on a sofa

Laci Mosley, from left to right, Miranda Cosgrove and Nathan Kress in “iCarly”.

(Lisa Rose / Paramount +)

Yet despite the denunciations, Mosley said she still received messages calling her an insult about “three times a week.” And while fans became more supportive and some hateful commentators apologized to Mosley, she explained that the Hollywood system will have to change if the work of black actors, even the most prominent among them, is to be sustainable.

“I see John Boyega on too many lives on Instagram to fight racists because he should have the support I had,” Mosley said. “I’m so grateful for this because I know the actresses who broke these barriers for me in the past haven’t had that kind of support.”

Boyega, best known for his role as Finn in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy and his Golden Globe-winning role in “Small Ax,” has received racist attacks from viewers throughout his career. Last year Boyega gave an interview to Britain’s GQ in which he advised Disney not to “bring out a black character, to market him to be much more important in the franchise than he is. is, then put it aside “.

The consequence of not supporting black talent goes beyond the harm done to individuals: a recent report found that Hollywood loses over $ 10 billion in annual revenue due to its poor black inclusion record .

While black actors such as Amber Riley (“Glee”) have created movements like #unMUTEny in response to anti-darkness in Hollywood, aimed at “ending the black silence in the entertainment industry, holding on to the power structures responsible for suppressing black experiences and facing microaggress with courage, ”the experiences of Boyega and Mosley illustrate the long road to accountability and reform.

“Black women deserve to be protected. We deserve care. We deserve not to be the mules for every cause – and then when we need help and support it is nowhere to be found, ”Mosley said. “Breonna Taylor deserves to be alive and her killers definitely deserve to be in jail. We’ve seen so many times that black women’s work is monetized, stolen, you know, and we’re being abused.… It’s about time that black women get their fair share because black women have been fighting for everyone from day one.



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