Jenny Slate, known for her roles in films and TV shows such as “Parks and Rec,” “Big Mouth” and “Saturday Night Live,” has responded to recent backlash over her character in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
The hit A24 film follows a woman named Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) who is able to jump across the multiverse. Slate’s athleisure-wearing character is a customer of Evelyn’s laundromat and ends up wielding her dog as a weapon in combat.
Slate’s character was originally credited as “Big Nose,” a name that several viewers interpreted as antisemitic due to its perceived association with the derogatory stereotype that Jewish people have larger noses than non-Jewish people.
In an interview with The Independent, Slate, 40, defended her character and the film’s directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, saying that she never interpreted the name as derogatory because they had told her about the cultural context behind it.
The filmmakers, also known as “the Daniels,” explained that “Big Nose” is a term used in Chinese culture to refer to white people.
Slate, who is Jewish herself, noted that regardless of names, she was “always very clear” about her decision to play the character.
According to Slate, Kwan and Scheinert also reached out to her after the backlash emerged.
[They] made me aware of it, like, ‘There’s this discussion and it sort of breaks our hearts that you would ever feel that there was something antisemitic or that we were commenting on you, or saying that you’re not beautiful.’ And I was like, ‘You guys explained this to me right away. I thought it was funny.’
While Slate stands by her decision to play her character, the film has since revised her credit to “Debbie the Dog Mom.”
Prior to the recent controversy, Slate’s performance in the film received positive reviews from critics.