Alison Brie Says She Regrets Voicing Vietnamese-American Character on BoJack Horseman

Alison Brie took to Instagram to express that she regrets voicing Diana Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American character on Netflix's Bojack Horseman.

By Pamela Avila Jun 28, 2020 2:19 AMTags
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Alison Brie is holding herself accountable. 

On Friday, June 26, the 37-year-old took to Instagram to express that she regrets voicing Diana Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American character on Netflix's BoJack Horseman

"In hindsight, I wish that I didn't voice the character of Diane Nguyen," Brie shared on Instagram. "I now understand that people of color should always voice people of color. We missed a great opportunity to represent the Vietnamese American community accurately and respectfully, and for that I am truly sorry. I applaud all those who stepped away from their voiceover roles in recent days. I have learned a lot from them." 

Brie's statement comes after stars like Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell announced that they'd be exiting their voice roles as biracial characters on Big Mouth and Central Park, respectively. Additionally, Mike Henry, who voiced Cleveland Brown on Family Guy since 1999, stepped down from his role on Friday.  

The show's creator, Raphael Bob-Waksberg also took to social media to address the same concern. 

A Twitter user asked Bob-Waksberg, "How come Diane Nguyen on  @BoJackHorseman was voiced by a white woman? @RaphaelBW I'm genuinely curious."

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He answered through a series of tweets, "This is something I am happy to talk about! I can tense up when asked about my mistakes (because I'm worried I'll say the wrong thing) but it's good for me to reflect on them and I hope others seeing me do so will help them not make the same mistakes!"

"In the first few seasons of BoJack, I was asked about the casting of Diane a few times on twitter and reddit but I evaded the question, mostly because my own understanding of the issue was evolving (it still is!) and I didn't want to give a defensive or half-thought-out answer," he added. "I thought when I was ready I'd write something - like a blog post or twitter thread - explaining why I had cast a white actress to voice an Asian character and why it was okay, but the more I thought about it (and listened to other people) the more I felt like it WASN'T okay." 

He explained that after season 4, he was "never going to feel 'ready' to talk about it, and I just had to do it, ready or not." 

Further, this isn't the first time a fan has brought up these concerns. In January 2018, he addressed the issue after a fan asked why it was Brie, a white woman, voicing the Vietnamese-American character. "Short answer: I love my entire cast, but if I were doing it today, I would not cast the show (or any show) with all white people. I've really soured on the idea of "color-blind" casting as an excuse to not pay attention," he said at the time

Matt Baron/Shutterstock; Netflix

And in an interview with Uproxx, Bob-Waksberg addressed it even further. "For a while I thought, maybe I shouldn't be the one having this conversation. Maybe it's better if other people are talking about the show—people of color, people who have lived experience, people who can actually talk about this more eloquently than I can," he told the publication. "Maybe it's better for me to just make the show and try to listen to what people are saying and adjust [accordingly]."

"But more and more I feel like this is my show and these are decisions that I've made and it's my responsibility to talk about them even if it's going to be awkward and even if it's going to feel weird for me… I think it's worth talking about and I feel like my silence can be read as 'There's not a problem here' and I'm not comfortable with that anymore," he added. 

On Twitter, he also shared that he "should have hired a Vietnamese writer, and a Vietnamese actress to play Diane—of if not that, changed the character to match who we did hire." 

Netflix's BoJack Horseman ran for six seasons and ended on January 2020. Brie's charcter of Diane Nguyen appeared in all sizes season of the show.