‘GLOW’s Sunita Mani Posts Letter Demanding More Inclusion And Authentic Storytelling On Netflix Comedy Prior To CancellationDeadline
The cancellation of GLOW is a big loss when it comes to the representation of women on TV and although it moved the needle, actress Sunita Mani, who played Arthie Premkumar on the Netflix comedy series, recently posted a letter on Instagram co-signed by her castmates Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Shakira Barrera, Kia Stevens, and Ellen Wong about representation on the comedy which was sent to the show producers and creators earlier this year during the show’s hiatus before the cancellation.
The letter cited the reckoning happening in the country when it came to race after the murder of George Floyd which sparked a poignant Black Lives Matter movement. Although the show has a foundation in diversity and inclusion, Mani and the aforementioned cast members voiced their concern about how people of color were portrayed in the series and how some of the storylines perpetuated racial stereotypes.
“GLOW has been marketed as a diverse ensemble, but for all of us diverse cast members, it has never lived up to these ideals,” said Mani “Since Season 1, the show has planted racial stereotyping into our character’s existence, yet your storylines are relegated to the sidelines in dealing with this conflict or have left us feeling like checked-boxes on a list. Unfortunately, we feel that the promise of this show has not been fulfilled. There is incredible support, love, and camaraderie amidst the GLOW cast, and it should go without saying that we are not here to take down our white castmates or our show, but to elevate us all in a deeper, more significant way. With zero persons of color in the writer’s room this season, it is a huge oversight to be writing our narratives without anyone else to represent us besides ourselves.”
The cast suggested that producers of color be hired so that characters and storylines were authentic. They also requested that the producers address “how portraying stereotypical and racially offensive wrestling personas has impacted our characters’ professional lives and personal dignity.”
The letter sparked “poignant Zoom conversations”. They also said that Season 4 would have been “such a catharsis.” The producers listened
“They were in the process of making Season 4 reflect some of the system problems we outlined,” Mani continued. “I was so afraid to speak on these issues to my bosses, whom I respect and I think are so brilliant, but was deeply moved by the support of my fellow castmates. This was a huge deal — creating space for change — and it was a testament to the love and support that was, by no twist of fate, an intentional element seeded by our shows creators and germinated in the entire cast.”
The passionate letter ended with “As Sam and Arthie say on getting canceled in Season 2: ‘We’ll die on our own terms, right? F*ck yeah, we will'”
Read the full letter below.