Upcoming Netflix comedy series Uncoupled has dropped a Latina housekeeper character, after an actor criticised their stereotypical portrayal.
Ada Maris – an American actor who has starred in shows like Nurses, The Brothers Garcia and FX’s Mayans M.C. – read the script for the comedy series, which features a small role for a housekeeper named Carmen in the first episode.
Speaking to Variety, Maris said: “When I opened it and saw that it wasn’t even funny – it was hurtful and derogatory – I was shocked because I walked in expecting something very different given the way things are nowadays and the progress we’ve made.”
According to the publication, the character is introduced as being “nearly hysterical on the phone” and speaks in broken English when she thinks a burglary has happened. “Mister, I just here and they stole!” the line reads. “They stole! They rob you! I don’t know how they get in.”
Outraged by the portrayal of a Latina housekeeper, Maris penned an open letter, shared with Variety, to the show’s creator Darren Star (Sex And The City) and lead actor and executive producer Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) urging them to be more sensitive in their depictions of marginalised communities.
“You are modern gay men,” Maris said. “How would you like to watch or play an outdated, offensively stereotypical gay part?”
A statement from Netflix confirmed the character had been removed. “We’re sorry that Ms Maris had a negative experience, and this character will not appear in the series,” a Netflix spokesman told the publication.
Harris was not involved in writing the episode or casting the role of Carmen. It’s unclear if the role was written out during pre-production or following Maris’ complaints.
Uncoupled stars Harris as a successful forty-something professional in New York, who after splitting from his husband of 17 years, has to navigate the modern dating scene. Filming on the show began last month in New York.
Harris is also set to star in sci-fi sequel The Matrix Resurrections opposite Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss. The film releases in cinemas on December 22, 2021.