Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Tim Burton Is Facing Backlash Over Wednesday For This Reason

Tim Burton's "Wednesday" has been the talk of TV Twitter lately but not always in the best of ways.

After debuting on November 23, the popular Netflix series managed to rack up positive reviews and record-breaking streaming numbers — with more than 341 million hours watched in its first week on the app, per Deadline. No other English-language TV show has been able to bring in those results for Netflix over the course of its first week. The supernatural coming-of-age story follows Jenna Ortega's Wednesday Addams as she adjusts to life at Nevermore Academy, a Vermont-based reform school for other peculiar outcasts like herself. Reviewer Randy Myers, of the San Jose Mercury News, describes the production as being "Tim Burton in perfect sync with the material." 

On the surface, "Wednesday" is a show that seems innocent and fun, with a familiar premise based on "The Addams Family" characters and franchise. However, there's something that many fans have found extremely wrong with the spinoff, which is getting talked about a lot as of late. 

'Black characters are either bullies or morally compromised'

For some "Wednesday" viewers, it feels like Tim Burton purposely chose to cast Black actors as the show's main antagonists — with many feeling the move was calculated and extremely racist. As a result, fans have been taking to social media to voice their outrage.

On Twitter, one person said: "Me trying to badly to push pass the racist and anti-Black undertones in the Wednesday Addams Netflix show." Another upset user wrote: "I really wanted to like it but I think it's unforgivable that all the Black characters are either bullies or morally compromised. And why is Wednesday hostile towards them? Wtf. What kind of ridiculous writing is this?"

The casting choices, specifically, that viewers are most upset about pertain to New York-born actor Joy Sunday — who plays resident mean girl Bianca Barclay at Nevermore — and Hollywood newcomer Iman Marson, who plays a local bully. While choosing Black actors to portray the bad guy roles in "Wednesday" is terrible enough for many viewers, there's something else about Marson's character and his family that's fueling even more online backlash. 

Fans can't believe that a Black family owns 'Pilgrim World'

In "Wednesday," the family of Iman Marson's character, Lucas Walker, runs the show's fictional Pilgrim World and is proudly responsible for preserving our settlers' controversial past within it. His father, Noble Walker (Tommie Earl Jenkins), is the mayor of Jericho and owns the colonizer theme park, which — as Wednesday Addams puts it in Episode 1 — is devoted to "zealots responsible for mass genocide." It doesn't take a genius to see how casting Black actors to run such a place could be considered tone-deaf and ethically immoral, which is exactly what people are calling it on social media. 

Anti-racism consultant Jon Cornejo, on November 29, tweeted: "A Black mayor who owns a museum celebrating pilgrims and colonizers in #Wednesday is really wild for me." He added: "I am so tired of characters that are played by Black actor but written as white. Where director has done nothing with how their Blackness would've impacted their journey and role in society. This color blind approach is not the one."

As pointed out by viewers, diversity in Tim Burton projects has repeatedly been an issue of his over the years. After making the 2016 fantasy flick "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," Burton was called out for having a predominately white cast, with Samuel L. Jackson being one of his only non-white stars — and him serving as an antagonist. Burton told Bustle at the time: "Things either call for things, or they don't ... I remember back when I was a child watching 'The Brady Bunch' and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let' s have an Asian child and a Black. I used to get more offended by that." Jackson, himself, called out Burton for his lack of diversity, telling Bustle: "I had to go back in my head and go, how many Black characters have been in Tim Burton movies? And I may have been the first."