‘I was made out to be a very unlikable character’

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Two months after actress Vanessa Morgan spoke out on Twitter about the media’s portrayal of Black people, pointing directly to being a “nondimensional” character and a “sidekick” to white characters, her fellow Riverdale cast member, Bernadette Beck, is talking about how her role on the show made her feel as though “I was just there to fulfill a diversity quota.”

Beck, who plays Peaches ‘N Cream in Seasons 3 and 4 of the hit CW show, echoed Morgan’s sentiments in an interview with Elle where Beck spoke to both her disappointment with the lack of development of her character on-screen, as well as her on-set experiences.

“I was made out to be a very unlikable character and therefore, an unlikable person in people’s eyes,” she told the publication. “I was, for no reason, depicted in a very negative, unattractive light. 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 fulfill a diversity quota. It’s just to fulfill points.”

She went on to explain how the portrayal of her character had implications off-screen as fans of the show began to dislike Beck as a result of the lack of vulnerability and depth to Peaches. She then became an easy target for cyberbullying and harassment.

“I didn’t understand when I first got on that show that it meant something for your character to be likable,” she said. “Some people say it’s just a TV show, but I’m thinking about the implications long-term. 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. What kind of opportunities are we losing out on even after Riverdale? Our white co-stars are getting all this screen time and character development. They’re building up their following, generating more fans, selling out at conventions, and fans have more of an emotional connection with them. But if we don’t necessarily get that, and we’re looked at with disdain, what does that do to us and how does that stain our reputation moving forward?”

Beck even expressed that she felt forgotten as an actress on the Riverdale set and claimed that she’s had to go out of her way to ask the director about her character’s placement in a scene.

“I was completely forgotten in the scene more than once,” she said. “The director [would] be walking off set and I’d have to chase them down because I had no idea where to stand, what to do — I just hadn’t been given any instruction. You can’t treat people like they’re invisible and then pat yourself on the back for meeting your diversity quota for the day.”

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the show’s creator, responded to Morgan’s statement on social media where he wrote, “We will do better to honor her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of color.” He has yet to publicly address Beck’s sentiments.

Yahoo Entertainment reached out to The CW and did not immediately receive a response. Warner Bros. Television, which co-produces the show with CBS Television Studios, declined to comment. 

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