According to the "American Gods" star, his character was removed from the show by its new showrunner because he thinks the character sends the "wrong message for black America."
UPDATE 12/16/2019 5:10 a.m.
In an interview for Variety, Jones said that he and Gabrielle Union did touch base over the weekend after she publicly reached out to him.
"This is exactly what Gabrielle is describing," Jones said of the culture at each show that he says cost both actors their jobs. "I’m literally trying to save you from yourself, because you’ve got these characters here, and you don’t want to do anything for them, but then you want to say that you care about the LGBTQ+ community... so help me understand how, what my role is here. How am I your enemy? And that’s how Gabrielle felt."
He said that both agreed this wasn't about money for them, though he decried elsewhere in the interview that by waiting so late to fire him from the show, he lost opportunities to pursue other work. "It’s about the people who are going to come behind us, who are going to find themselves in this same position," Jones told the outlet.
Gabrielle Union is interested in talking to Orlando Jones after he released a passionate video via Twitter Saturday morning, claiming that he had been fired from Starz' "American Gods" because the series' new showrunner Charles Eglee felt his character, Mr. Nancy, sent the "wrong message for black America."
According to the actor, he was fired back by Fremantle, one of the parent companies that produces "America's Got Talent," which is coming up under investigation for the recent firing of Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough after one season, with the former claiming she was let go because she spoke out about racism and was criticized for her hairstyles, which were deemed "too black," according to sources.
Union recently spoke with the network about her ouster, calling it "productive," and there is an expected investigation into her allegations against Simon Cowell and the reported "boys club" that has permeated the popular summer reality show.
Jones' situation is somewhat different, as he is a cast-member on a scripted show based on a book. Nevertheless, he went in on Fremantle as well, saying he was fired at the same time as Union. He further alleges that Union, along with former "AGT" cast-members Nick Cannon, Mel B and Heidi Klum (who were let go two summers ago) have all described Fremantle as a "nightmare."
Correction: I was fired Sept 10, 2019 like @itsgabrielleu @OfficialMelB @NickCannon @heidiklum all have said @FremantleUS is a nightmare. They treated you like a 2nd class citizen for doing your job to well. Stay tuned. More to come. #AngryGetsShitDone pic.twitter.com/DQYtaMfs8O— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) December 14, 2019
"They treated you like a 2nd class citizen for doing your job to well," he added. According to Fremantle, though, Jones is simply being let go because of the source material, i.e. Neil Gaiman's novel.
"The storylines of 'American Gods' have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material. 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 three," the company said in a statement received by TMZ.
Jones, on the other hand, had a much more incendiary response in his video, saying, "There will be no more Mr. Nancy. Don’t let these motherf--kers tell you they love Mr. Nancy. They don’t."
The character, as written, is an African trickster deity through which modern commentary on racial issues can be addressed and expressed directly. Series creators Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, who hired Jones back in Season 1, have said they welcomed Jones' input on the character to keep it authentic.
With Season 2, when he became a full cast-member, Jones told Entertainment Weekly he found himself moving more into writing and producing a bit for the show after the departures of Fuller and Green, when Jesse Alexander stepped in as showrunner.
"I’m not going to name names but the new season three showrunner is Connecticut-born and Yale-educated, so he’s very smart and he thinks that Mr. Nancy’s angry, get s— done is the wrong message for black America," Jones continued. Reps for Eglee responded to People by saying simply that he "was not born in Connecticut."
Of his firing, Jones said in a third tweet, "They were exceptionally nasty and evil the way they did it."
Union was among several celebrities who responded to Jones' posts, writing, "Let's chat my friend," with the hashtag #StrongerTogether.
Jones has not yet respond, at least publicly, to Union's offer to meet, but we can only assume that if and when they do it will be both candid and passionate, and one or both of them will let their fans know what their next move is.
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