Riverdale creator apologises to Vanessa Morgan

5 June 2020, 16:19

Vanessa Morgan teases new song with Riverdale co-star Drew Ray Tanner

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

After Riverdale fans began trending #hearvanessamorgan, creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa issued an apology on behalf of the writing staff for the way she and her character have been treated.

Riverdale show-runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has apologised to Vanessa Morgan in a statement after she called out the show for using her “as the token biracial bisexual,” as well as expressing how tired she was over the way black people are portrayed on screen.

In a Twitter exchange on Monday (June 1), Vanessa, who plays Toni Topaz on the show, also said that she was "the only black series regular but also paid the least." Following some backlash toward her co-stars, she urged fans and followers not to blame them, saying "they don’t call the shots & I know they have my back."

READ MORE: Vanessa Morgan calls out Riverdale for not giving black actors storylines

Fans and co-stars rallied around Vanessa to voice their support, including Ashleigh Murray (Josie McCoy) and Asha Bromfield and Hayley Law, who played Melody and Valerie. The two Pussycats were quietly written out of the storylines in season 2. Lili Reinhart also responded with words of support.

Yesterday (June 4), fans began tweeting #hearvanessamorgan in response to her tweets and soon after, Aguirre-Sacasa made a statement on behalf of the Riverdale writers' room.

In a statement published on social media on Thursday (June 4), Riverdale show runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa wrote:

"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. We will do better to honor 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 made a donation to @BLMLA, but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers' room."

Toni was introduced in early season 2 and fans quickly fell in love with her. In the same season, we met her grandfather, Thomas Topaz, a descendent from the Uktena and one of the founding members of the Southside Serpents. It's clear that Toni's family history is embedded in the very heart of Riverdale, but it's been over two years since then and we've yet to see more.

READ MORE: Teen dramas need to start writing actual storylines for their women of colour

Over the past few seasons, the fans also have been incredibly vocal in regards to Toni's lack of backstory and Vanessa's lack of screen time, particularly in season 4, where Toni appeared to have been either relegated to the background or used as part of Cheryl's storyline without having a solid storyline of her own.

Here's hoping we finally see a genuine change when Riverdale returns in January 2021.