GLOW star Sunita Mani has shared a letter the cast sent to Netflix asking them to improve the show’s diversity and inclusion prior to the show’s cancellation.
The actor, who played Arthie Premkumar on the Netflix series across three seasons, explained on Instagram why she and five other cast members – Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Shakira Barrera, Kia Stevens and Ellen Wong – wrote about how the show’s characters of colour often reinforced certain 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,” Mani wrote in the letter.
“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.”
The letter continued: “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.”
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**A statement on GLOW** I want to relay the above in hopes of transparency making things better for all. I made a joke about that recently and now I’m asking you to take me seriously, sorry! The above is not posted to save Glow, it’s just some personal stuff that we want to share. I loved playing Arthie Premkumar❤️
The letter also addressed the lack of inclusivity in the GLOW writer’s room, explaining how this harmed the narratives of characters of colour.
“With zero persons of colour 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,” Mani wrote.
The actor also explained that the response had been positive before Netflix cancelled GLOW ahead of season 4.
“Our show creators and producers heard us,” the letter said. “They were in the process of making Season 4 reflect some of the system problems we outlined.
“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 cast mates.”
Mani continued: “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.”
Seasons 1-3 of GLOW are streaming on Netflix now.