Fans furious as Starz’s American Gods cuts yet another character – the fiery gay djinn, Ifrit
Fans of Starz’s American Gods are in uproar after showrunners made the decision to cut a key storyline – that of the fiery djinn, Ifrit, an LGBT+ character of colour.
The show had been praised for its passionate portrayal of the romance between Ifrit and Salim, a young Muslim immigrant. American Gods author Neil Gaiman described his reaction to the love story as “absolute amazement and absolute joy.”
Sadly the show has been dogged by behind-the-scenes drama when the ambitious first season went over budget and conflicts arose between the studio and network. Several showrunners were reportedly fired and many actors left the project, including A-list stars Kristen Chenoweth and Gillian Anderson.
It seems actor Mousa Kraish is the latest casualty of the show’s cuts after he confirmed to his followers on Twitter that he would not be returning to the American fantasy drama in the upcoming third season.
“I can confirm that I wasn’t asked to come back this season. It has been an honour to play the Jinn and live in his fiery-eyed skin,” he wrote.
“This character has introduced me to so much and I was proud to represent not just the Middle Eastern community in such a positive role you don’t normally see television but also the LGBTQ community that supported this character of colour that you don’t see on television.”
This character has introduced me to so much and I was proud to represent not just the Middle Eastern community in such a positive role you don’t normally see television but also the LGBTQ community that supported this character of color that you don’t see on television…
— Mousa Kraish (@MousaKraish) December 16, 2019
I also want thank @starz & the amazing team there. ❤️ The door isn’t closed for me. If I’m ever asked to come back & portray the Jinn I will do it happily & proudly to be able to stand in front of my friend @AbtahiOmid & shine with the two characters who go beyond the page…
— Mousa Kraish (@MousaKraish) December 16, 2019
The news came shortly after actor Orlando Jones, who played the West African trickster god Mr Nancy, announced that he too had been axed from the show.
Mr Nancy’s story touches on themes of slavery and institutional racism in the US. Orlando claimed he was told by producers that his character sent “the wrong message for black America”.
Orlando refused to stay silent, posting a video on Saturday that made clear his thoughts on being fired from the show. “I will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” he announced.
“All I can say is what I was told. And all l what I was told was, ‘angry gets sh*t done’ is the wrong message for black America, and that the new showrunner [Charles Eglee, a white man] writes from a black male perspective.”
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Correction: I was fired from #americangods on September 10th 2019. Just like Gabrielle Union, Mel B, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum have all said working with @fremantle is absolute nightmare. Stay tuned. I will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. #AngryGetsShitDone ?? @ariannahuff @huffpost @tmz_tv @nbcnews @abcnews @todayshow @tamronhall @snoopdogg @b.cjmac.ross @hollywoodreporter @hollywoodinsider @wendyshow
Fans lamented the loss of the show’s diversity after Kraish’s sad announcement, which followed so soon after Jones’.
You are beauty, dignity, and grace. Your embodiment of Jinn was passion, brilliance, and heart. #ChicEglee is clearly insane and @americangodsus will suffer as they struggle to only tell the story of het-cis white men.
I am broken hearted and disgusted.
— kmccreery_actress (@kittenspeaks) December 17, 2019
It’s horrible that such a powerful portrayal of a queer person of color is being cut out. As if these kinds of portrayals aren’t what made this show good and groundbreaking.
— ?⎊ ✪ ⍟ AMANDA STEELE ✵❄️ (@adamantaflame) December 16, 2019
Oh no! Not you too! You were an amazing Jinn! The portrayal of the relationship between Jinn and Salim was simply superb. So sad to not to see you on this season’s show. However, I know you will have great things coming – so looking forward to seeing!! ?
— Jasmine Rosario (@Jasmine07981464) December 16, 2019
What the hell is wrong with this show this season!! I’m sooo angry first @TheOrlandoJones and now you?? Seriously? I’m so so angry that I want to give up on it but its not fair for the rest of the cast
I think the whole fandom is not happy with that
— Mariane B?? (@celebslover24) December 16, 2019
It REALLY blows that American Gods lost not one, but two leading characters of color (one of whom was part of one of the only healthy depictions of a gay Muslim relationship on TV) in the same week.
— lauren ??? (@laurenjcoates) December 16, 2019
what the fuck?? why all these non-white or/and lgbt characters are being fired from american gods? help @neilhimself
first anansi and now the jinn???
— Maria Clara Lacerda (@mariaclara_b) December 16, 2019
I am heartbroken to hear this. You were such a champion of this show and such a strong and fascinating part of it, not to mention a big representation for the LGBT+ community. Thank you. ❤️
— Chelsea Doyle (@ChelseaDMorning) December 16, 2019
Such a racist & heterocentric turn from a show that started out strong with a fantastic diverse cast. As a fan of the book it breaks my heart. R.I.P. to a show that could have been great. The actors & Gaiman deserved better.
— BringBackLookingHBO (@looking4evah) December 15, 2019