Teen Wolf Showrunner Jeff Davis Responds to Racism Allegations
Recently, bothGirlsandBunheadshave been called out for a lack of diversity amongst their characters. MTV’s Teen Wolf is getting similar criticism from viewers, and creator/writer Jeff Davis responded to concerned fans on Tumblr. After he received even more backlash, he deleted the post.
The discussion started after Davis toldAfter Elton, “In my eyes, I’m trying to create a world where there’s no racism, there’s no sexism, there’s no homophobia… I’d like to create a world where none of that matters. You have the supernatural creatures for that, to work as an analogy.”
Teen Wolf isn’t without diversity. Its lead actor, Tyler Posey, is Latino, though some point out that his character — whose last name is McCall — is not. But the ethnicity of the core cast aside, other criticism surrounds an African-American character named Boyd, who is played by Sinqua Walls.
Tumblr user of-poseys wrote, “But the biggest screw up Jeff Davis has made on the subject of race is with Boyd … Boyd has no family, no story, no background, no home … Erica gets a storyline. Isaac gets a storyline. Matt the photographer gets a storyline. So where's Boyd's?”
Davis’s response to such complaints (which can still be found onOh No They Didn’t) was, “First off, the lack of story development for Boyd’s character. I have said numerous times in interviews that the new supporting characters are there to ‘support’ the main characters. I have 41 minutes a week in which to tell a story. It’s not easy to service every character equally!”
Davis added that Sinqua was close to being cast on another TV pilot and was often out for auditions. “That makes it very difficult to invest in a character if I’ve got be able to craft a script so that he can be easily written out in case the actor gets another job,” he wrote. (Indeed, Sinqua Wallshas since been cast on an arc for Once Upon a Time, causing fans to wonder if he’ll appear in Season 3 at all.)
There’s a lot of truth to what Davis says about not having much time to flesh out all of Teen Wolf’s characters. There are six main players in addition to an expansive supporting cast. Viewers know little about Boyd — but that’s been true of a lot of the people surrounding Scott, Allison, Derek, and the rest. Even Allison’s (Crystal Reed) mother (Eaddy Mays) was fairly one-note for the majority of Season 1, giving little hint to the importance her character would have for the series.
There are still two episodes left, which means there’s time to explore Boyd’s insecurities and loneliness, but what might dash hopes a little is what Davis wrote about his hesitancy to include certain subjects on the show: “I also worry that as a white male who grew up in a pretty ordinary middle class suburb I may not have the insight to be particularly adept at tackling issues of race head on…If I skirt the issues of race and sexual politics, the reason is most likely that I don’t feel like I’m going to be very good at tackling those issues within a show about teenage werewolves.”
We disagree. People make the connection between the Argent family’s treatment of werewolves and intolerance (to some people’s dismay that anyone should be called“racist” against supernatural beings). And Davis and his writers gave Erica — a new character who has had little more screen time than Boyd — a story and a personality with one line (“You make a good Batman”). It sounds like fans are looking for at least that much from Boyd.