‘Hurtful’ Maid Role Axed From Netflix Show, But Why Not Just Rewrite the Character?

Lead Photo: Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images
Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images
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A role in an upcoming Netflix series deemed as “hurtful and derogatory” by one of the actresses who was considering auditioning for it was cut from the script.

Actress Ada Maris (Mayans M.C.) wrote an open letter to actor Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and creator Darren Star (Emily in Paris) about a character in their show Uncoupled. When Maris received the script to decide if she wanted to audition for a part, she found the character Carmen, a Latine maid, to be stereotypical.

“I was shocked because I walked in expecting something very different given the way things are nowadays and the progress we’ve made,” Maris told Variety last week.  “You are modern gay men. How would you like to watch or play an outdated, offensively stereotypical gay part?”

Netflix responded in a statement to Variety that they were “sorry that Ms. Maris had a negative experience,” and that the character would “not appear in the series.”

It’s not clear if Maris’ letter had anything to do with Netflix cutting the character from the series completely. Variety notes that in a later script, Carmen’s dialogue was changed to not include the character speaking in “broken English.” Whatever the reason the character was axed, we’re wondering if that was the only solution producers could come up with for the role.

The question is, why not rewrite the Carmen character so she’s not so stereotypical and offensive to Latine audiences? It’s not the fact that Carmen is a Latine maid that is aggravating to Latine viewers and actresses like Maris. It’s that Hollywood only sees Latine maids as subservient and foreign, like the one who was apparently featured in the Uncoupled script, and now are missing an opportunity to include a Latine character who was fully formed and not a throw-away trope.

“I’m just fed up,” Maris said. “If I’m not going to say anything now, when am I going to say something? I just want [writers] to think the next time they write a character like that. I’m speaking out for the younger actors coming up, so they face even less of that than my generation has.”