Riverdale star Bernadette Beck has slammed the show for not fully developing its black characters and only casting her to “fulfil a diversity quota”, making her an easy target for trolls.
- READ MORE: Riverdale season 4 – release date, fan theories, cast, trailers and everything we know so far
The English actress, who played Peaches ‘N Cream on the third and fourth seasons of the teen drama, said that she was ignored on set or asked to behave “sassy”.
“I get it, there’s always a protagonist and antagonist, but I never had much of a story plot or enough character development to even be considered an antagonist,” Beck told Elle in an interview.
She continued: “And I’m not the first black actress to show up on set, stand there, chew gum, and look sassy and mean. I feel like I was just there to fulfil a diversity quota. It’s just to fulfil points.”
Beck described being depicted in a “negative, unattractive light” and said that playing such an unlikeable character only contributed to the online hate she gets from Riverdale fans.
“If we are depicted as unlikable or our characters are not developed or we’re looked at as the enemy all the time, that affects our public persona,” she said. “What kind of opportunities are we losing out on even after… if we don’t necessarily get that, and we’re looked at with disdain, what does that do to us?”
This comes after the creator of Riverdale apologised to star Vanessa Morgan after she raised concerns about pay disparity in the show.
Morgan, who plays Toni Topaz in the show, said in a recent series of tweets published in June that she was “tired” of black characters being shown as “thugs, dangerous or angry, scary people,” adding that she was “the only black series regular but paid the least”.
Morgan continued: “To my black fans, I have now made it my purpose to fight for us. To the six-year-old me who had no role model that looked like me on TV. This is for you.
“We aren’t your token black non-dimensional characters. This is being black in Hollywood. I will fight for YOU. And I will no longer take roles that don’t properly represent us. PERIOD.”
The show’s writer and creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa publicly apologised to Morgan, writing: “We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She’s right. We’re sorry and we make the same promise to you that we did to her.”
He continued: “We will do better to honour her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of colour.
“Change is happening and will continue to happen. Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller. Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it.
“All of the Riverdale writers have made a donation to @BLMLA, but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers’ room.”