Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa responded to Vanessa Morgan speaking out about her “sidekick” role as Toni Topaz. “She’s right,” the writer said on Twitter while noting they “hear” and “love” the actress.
“We’re sorry, and we make the same promise to you that we did to her. We will do better to honor her and the character she plays, as well as all of our actors and characters of color,” the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina creator pledged on June 4. “Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it.”
He added all the writers for the CW show made a donation to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. “Change is happening and will continue to happen. Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller,” the CCO of Archie Comics added. “We know where the work must happen for us, in the writers’ room.”
On May 31, Vanessa, 28, took to Twitter to express her frustration with the status quo in Hollywood. “Tired of how black people are portrayed in media,” she began in a written statement. “Tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry, scary people. Tired of us also being used as [sidekick], non-dimensional characters to our white leads or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show. It starts with media.” The Canadian actress acknowledged she’s “not being [quiet] anymore.”
Vanessa started as a recurring character during season 2. She became a series regular the following season because of a romance between Toni and Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch). However, fans pointed out many other black actors on Riverdale have disappeared over time.
Ashleigh Murray, who played Josie McCoy, left the show last year for a role on Katy Keene. Her Pussycat Doll band members Valerie Brown and Melody Valentine (Hayley Law and Asha Bromfield) were written out of the show in 2018, along with reformed bad boy Chuck Clayton (Jordan Calloway).
Riverdale’s creator wasn’t the only person to rally behind Vanessa. “We love you, V. And support you 10000 [percent],” Lili Reinhart, 23, tweeted on June 2. “Love you,” the Shannara Chronicles star, 28, responded with a red heart emoji.
“Don’t even get me started with how Riverdale treated the Pussycats. We had so much more to contribute than standing in the background and adding sass to a storyline,” Asha added, which Ashleigh retweeted on her own account.
We can’t wait to see where Riverdale goes from here.