'Riverdale' Creator Addresses Vanessa Morgan's Calls For Diversity On The Show

Savannah Walsh
Photo credit: Young Hollywood - Getty Images


Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has responded to star Vanessa Morgan's criticisms about racial diversity and representation on TV. On May 31, Morgan, who plays Toni Topaz on the CW teen drama, tweeted, "Tired of how Black people are portrayed in Media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people. Tired of us also being used as side kick non dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show."

On Thursday, June 4, Aguirre-Sacasa addressed Morgan's concerns on Instagram. In his statement, he vowed to do better in future seasons of the show and apologized for failing to give diverse characters substantial storylines in the past.

We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She's right. 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. CHANGE is happening and will continue to happen. Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller. Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it.

The showrunner, who also created Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Katy Keene, mentioned that all of the Riverdale writers made donations to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, "but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers' room."

His comments come after Morgan returned to Twitter to defend her Riverdale co-stars. "My role on Riverdale has nothing to do with my fellow castmates/friends," she tweeted on June 2. "They don’t write the show. So no need to attack them, they don’t call the shots & I know they have my back." Co-star Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty on the show, replied, "We love you, V. And support you 10000%."

Former co-star Hayley Law retweeted Morgan's original statement and wrote, "I've felt this from the beginning. We are so much more."

Morgan, who has appeared on Degrassi: The Next Generation and Finding Carter, also declared a commitment to honoring her Black fans, stating that she would no longer play "token black non dimensional characters." She wrote, "To my black fans, I have now made it my purpose to fight for us. To the six year old me who had no role model that looked like me on TV. This is for you. We aren't your token black non dimensional characters. This is being black in Hollywood. I will fight for YOU."

She followed that statement by adding, "And I will no longer take roles that don't properly represent us. PERIOD."

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