Riverdale fan-favorite Vanessa Morgan is speaking up about her experiences as a Black actor in Hollywood, and it appears her concerns are actually being addressed. On May 31, Morgan took to Twitter to call out the industry's negative portrayal and sidelining of Black actors. In the days after that, she followed up with more specific criticisms directed at Riverdale, making it clear she's not happy with how she's been treated by those in charge of the series. Now, according to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, there are going to be some changes. The Riverdale EP responded to Vanessa Morgan's tweets on June 4 with an apology and a promise to "do better."
Morgan's series of tweets began when she posted a photo of text that voiced her frustration about the media's depiction of Black people. "I'm tired of how Black people are portrayed in media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous, or angry, scary people," her tweet read in part. "Tired of us also being used as sidekick, non-dimensional characters to our white leads."
Since her initial message, Morgan has tweeted several more times to further express her concerns. "To my Black fans, I have now made it my purpose to fight for us ... We aren't your token black non-dimensional characters," she wrote. In another tweet, she added: "I will no longer take roles that don't properly represent us. PERIOD."
Morgan's Riverdale-specific tweets pointed out she's the only Black series regular on the show. She also wrote that she is "used as the token biracial bisexual" and that she is "paid the least," though it's unclear which other cast members' salaries are included in that comparison. (Elite Daily reached out to Riverdale reps for comment about these tweets but has not heard back.)
Morgan's candidness about her experience resulted in fans getting the hashtag #HearVanessaMorgan trending. As of June 4, there were more than 11,000 tweets showing support for Morgan, as well as other Black actors who have appeared on Riverdale.
On the night of June 4, Riverdale creator and executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa responded to Morgan's tweets. He posted a photo of text to Instagram and Twitter that acknowledged her views and promised Riverdale would do better to honor Morgan and Toni, as well as other actors and characters of color.
Morgan retweeted Aguirre-Sacasa's apology to her, but has not yet responded publicly to him as of June 5, so it's not totally clear where she stands with Riverdale or its leadership team. However, though some fans worried Morgan would leave Riverdale following her recent statements, it looks like her time on the show may continue — hopefully in a direction that can serve as a model for the rest of Hollywood to follow.
Rubber will meet the road soon enough. Since the coronavirus halted production, Riverdale hasn't begun filming Season 5 yet, which means there's plenty of opportunity for the writers and producers to make the changes Aguirre-Sacasa promised.