One of Jada Pinkett Smith‘s stunt doubles is speaking out on the casting controversy surrounding “Gotham.”
The show has recently come under fire after Deadline.com reported that a White stuntwoman had been covered in makeup to appear Black while standing in for Jada. Warner Bros., which produces “Gotham,” apologized for the whole thing and swore it would immediately fix the problem.
“A mistake was made this week in casting a stuntwoman for a guest star in a particular scene on the show,” the studio said in a statement. “The situation has been rectified, and we regret the error.”
The most frustrating part about this is the fact that stuntwoman Kelsee Devoreaux was told by producers that there wasn’t any stunt work required for Jada’s character, Fish Mooney, RadarOnline.com reports. Kelsee has worked with Jada quite a bit as a stunt double over the years, so this means that there was a Black woman available for the job they used a White stunt double for.
While WB stated that it has things under control, Kelsee said that is not the case. “This situation has not been resolved,” she told Radar, adding that literally nothing has changed since issue of Blackface on “Gotham” came to light. “The stunt-coordinator who may have been responsible for this is still working on the show!”
She continued, “If being resolved means the person responsible for this has not been fired, then nothing has been resolved.”
The studio might not be pressed enough to make any changes, but Kelsee said that the White stunt double definitely was. “The Caucasian stuntwoman was so freaked out and uncomfortable by this situation, that she called another stuntwoman, and that stuntwoman in turn contacted SAG immediately,” Kelsee reported .
The union didn’t have any comment on this specific situation, but it stated that the practice of using makeup to change a stand-in’s racial appearance is not acceptable.
“With respect to this issue in general, the relevant SAG-AFTRA contract is clear: the practice known as “painting down” is presumptively improper,” a SAG rep insisted. “In other words: the practice of “painting down” is unacceptable anywhere and particularly so in a production center like New York City with so many qualified stuntwomen of color trained for this type of work.”
This could all be a complete work of fiction, though. Jada’s camp insists that WB was being honest when they told Kelsee that there was no stunt work needed to Jada’s role on the “Batman” off-shoot drama.
One of Jada’s rep’s released a statement, asserting, “Jada has never had a stunt woman on ‘Gotham.’ This is false and Jada is completely unaware of any of this ever happening.”