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Riverdale Boss Responds to Vanessa Morgan's Claims of Racial Discrimination on the Show: 'She's Right'

'We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She's right.'

Sadie Gennis

Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has responded to actress Vanessa Morgan speaking out about the show's poor treatment of Black actors and Black characters, including her allegation that she is paid the least out of the show's series regulars. Morgan is currently the only Black series regular in the cast.

On Thursday evening, Aguirre-Sacasa posted a message to his social accounts that read: "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 color. 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 BLM, but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers' room."

Aguirre-Sacasa's response comes after Morgan called out the media, including Riverdale, for using Black actors as props to promote an image of diversity without actually writing well-rounded characters for them to play on screen. On Sunday, Morgan tweeted that she was "Tired of how black people are portrayed in Media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people. Tired of us also being used as side kick non dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show. It starts with the media. I'm not being [quiet] anymore."

Morgan joined Riverdale in Season 2 as Toni Topaz, a member of a local gang and a love interest for Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch). In the actress' tweets on Tuesday, she referred to how the series has used Toni "as the token biracial bisexual" and called out Riverdale for not giving her equal pay to her white co-stars once she was promoted to series regular in Season 3.

"Lmao too bad I'm the only black series regular but also paid the least 😂👏🏽 girl i could go on for days," she wrote.

The actress stated that her issues with the series have nothing to do with her co-stars, who Morgan stated "have my back," and asked fans not to attack them.

Morgan also defended her Riverdale co-star Ashleigh Murray, who played Josie McCoy on the CW series before leaving for the Lucy Hale-led spin-off Katy Keane. Josie and the Pussycats were promoted heavily when Riverdale first premiered, but the band members were rarely given storylines of their own.

In a since-deleted tweet, a fan claimed Murray was kicked off Riverdale for being difficult to work with. On Sunday, Murray responded saying, "Lol you clearly have me mixed up with someone else. I love the Pussycats more than any show ever did. If it were up to me, we'd have our own show. And you obviously don't watch Katy Keene because sis is surrounded by women. So f-- all the way off."

Morgan responded in support of Murray, expressing her anger at "BLACK women being called DIVAS for sticking up for themselves" and noting that Riverdale "should write for [Josie] like the white characters."

Hayley Law, who played Pussycat Valerie Brown, and Asha Bromfield, who played Pussycat Melody Jones, have also voiced their support of Morgan and spoken out about the show's treatment of its Black characters.

Law responded to Morgan, writing, "I've felt this from the beginning. We are so much more." Bromfield tweeted, "Don't even get me started with how Riverdale treated the Pussycats. We had so much more to contribute than standing in the background and adding sass to a storyline. I stand with you  @VanessaMorgan."

Bromfield also retweeted a thread "of all black characters in riverdale who are sidelined/ignored/disappeared without reason," which included Morgan's Toni, Murray's Josie, Law's Valerie, Bromfield's Melody, and 10 other characters.

On Wednesday, Morgan wrote that she is committed to fighting for better Black representation in the media, and shared that she will only wear and support Black designers for red carpets and events.

Black lives matter. Text DEMANDS to 55156 to sign Color of Change's petition to reform policing, and visit blacklivesmatter.carrd.co for more ways to donate, sign petitions, and protest safely.