Starz CEO Explains Why Orlando Jones Was Let Go From ‘American Gods’ Ahead of Season 3

TCA 2020: Jones said he was let go because new showrunner Chic Eglee said his character sent “wrong message for black America”


Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch responded to the controversy over Orlando Jones’ exit from “American Gods,” saying that his character, Mr. Nancy, doesn’t play a prominent role in the portion of Neil Gaiman’s book that will serve as the basis for the third season.

“The book is a very rich and dense book of story. Unfortunately, the season that we’re putting up in Season 3, Mr. Nancy does not have a role in the story,” he said on Tuesday during his executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour.

In December, Jones went on Twitter and said that he was fired from the Fremantle-produced series in September. He further said that new showrunner Chic Eglee felt Mr. Nancy sent the “wrong message for black America,” adding that he was treated as a “2nd class citizen” at production company Fremantle. At the time, a spokesperson for “American Gods” and Eglee rebutted Jones’ comments, saying that Jones was let go because his character is not featured in the portion of the book they are focusing on in the upcoming season.

Hirsch reiterated that on Tuesday, and when pressed further declined to comment on Jones’ accusation about what Eglee said to him.

“It is one of the most diverse casts on television, and we think Chic is doing a great job on mapping a great show,” he said. “Chic and the team decided to be in area where Mr. Nancy doesn’t play a prominent role, so that’s where we are.” Eglee took over as showrunner for the third season of the drama, which has had its fair share of production troubles. Eglee is the third different showrunner in as many seasons on the fantasy series.

Shortly after Jones’ comments, SAG-AFTRA announced it was looking into the matter.