The Racist Undertones in Tim Burton’s “Wednesday”
Racism has been a prevalent issue which has prolonged in society. One might presume that with the progression of the world, people have set aside these insignificant differences, however, that is not the case.
Released on November 23, 2022 Tim Burton’s “Wednesday” became one of the most watched English Language series on Netflix. The viewers had nothing but praises for Jenna Ortega, the 20 year old actress who played Wednesday Addams in the series. However, with a further analysis of the rest of the characters, the media instantly pointed out the racist undertones in “Wednesday” and the promotion of them via Netflix.
Tim Burton’s questionable casting of only white actors to play lead roles, has been highlighted in his 40 directorial credits. When asked to justify his choices Burton stated that black or brown people don’t fit the aesthetics of his projects. A belief that the public was appalled by and continued to scrutinize. In 2016, Burton gave his defense on casting only white actors and stated that the media was unjustly overreacting – a response which was not taken well and ended up flooding his twitter with hate. These people found a
pattern in his recruiting policies and since he couldn’t defend his actions, the criticism was anything but unexpected.
A deeper look into the cast of Wednesday quickly reaffirmed Burton’s racism and subjected the series to mixed reviews. Critics have taken issue with Joy Sunday (Bianca Barclay) playing the mean girl at Nevermore Academy and her mother playing the absent and manipulative mother in the series. Both of them have been portrayed in a negative light and shown as problematic people who exploit others for the sake of their own satisfaction, Brandy Jane appears in her daughter’s life after years only to blackmail her into helping with Morning Song, an app which claims to be for self help but only really scams people for money.
Additionally, Lucas, played by Imam Marson, is a black actor who has been portrayed as the town bully and the privileged son of a corrupt mayor. It is also questionable how Mayor Walker, played by Tommie Earl Jenkins owns Pilgrim World, a museum which honors colonizers and pilgrims.
Multiple people raised their concerns on social media in regards to these issues:
The public’s anger and disappointment is not unjust and the misrepresentation of the colored community should be addressed by both Tim Burton and Netflix. It is disappointing to see how a popular media platform continues to promote a series which has actively been called out for racism by multiple people. Even though Tim Burton’s questionable casting is a widely discussed issue, most people still resort to enjoying his work and promoting it on their platforms. This cycle of racism can only cease to exist when everyone realizes the depth of this issue and the message it conveys to the viewers: racism still exists.