Vanessa Morgan Says She Was Paid Less Than Her 'Riverdale' Castmates

Vanessa Morgan from 'Riverdale' took to social media to share her feelings on how Black characters are shown on TV and treated behind the scenes.

Devan McGuinness - Author

Jun. 4 2020, Updated 11:18 p.m. ET

vanessa morgan riverdale
Source: The CW

There are a lot of people who are speaking their truth and putting what needs to be said out in the world. It's empowering to watch and infuriating listening to the stories that have been swept under the figurative rugs for so long. Actress Vanessa Morgan from Riverdale is sharing her truth and a trending hashtag #HearVanessaMorgan is all over Twitter showing support. 

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Why is Vanessa Morgan from 'Riverdale' trending?

Vanessa Morgan, who plays Toni Topaz on Riverdale, was signed to the cast in Season 2 as a reoccurring member but was promoted to a regular character in Season 3. At the time, she was the only Black cast member of the show after Ashleigh Murray left at the end of that season. 

On May 31, Vanessa announced on Twitter that she was "not being quiet anymore" and was speaking out about how Black people in media are portrayed – including her character on Riverdale

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"Tired of how black people are portrayed in Media. Tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people," Vanessa tweeted. "Tired of us also being used as side kick non dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show. It starts with the media." 

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She wasn't done there either. On June 2, Vanessa took to her social media in reply to a fan who shared support for the actress and called out another issue. She got paid less than her other cast mates on the show. 

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"Lmao too bad I’m the only black series regular but also paid the least," she wrote, adding a laughing emoji and the clapping hands emoji before adding, "girl i could go on for days."

Vanessa sent a follow up tweet asking her fans not to go after the other Riverdale cast. "My role on Riverdale has nothing to do with my fellow castmates/friends," she said. Adding, "They don’t write the show. So no need to attack them, they don’t call the shots & I know they have my back." 

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Asha Bromfield, who previously played as Melody Jones on Riverdale shared her support for Vanessa and her story as well. 

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"Don't even get me started with how Riverdale treated the Pussycats," Asha wrote. "We had so much more to contribute than standing in the background and adding sass to a storyline. I stand with you @VanessaMorgan." 

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#HearVanessaMorgan started to trend on Twitter.

Fans were quick to come to support Vanessa and it didn't take long for the hashtag to pick up steam and start trending. Fans flocked to the hashtag with support and urged the higher ups on Riverdale to take notice, change, and do better. 

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"This woman right here is the most talented human being in this world and she deserves a whole lot more and needs to be treated EQUALLY to her white costars on the show," one person wrote.

"An amazing and talented actress who portrays such an amazing, important and underrated character. she deserves more and better. give her the TREATMENT, quality of screentime and respect she deserves," a second fan wrote.

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"I love her, and she deserves the world. i’m glad she spoke out about how she’s underpayed on the show, cause now the cast and the fans will make sure she gets the payment she deserves," another wrote. 

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Vanessa was touched by the support of her fans and said she has the "best fans in the whole world." 

The creator of Riverdale, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, responded to the hashtag with a statement. 

"We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She's right. We're sorry and we make the same promise to you as we did to her," he wrote. "We will do better to honor her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of color. Change is happening and will continue to happen. Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller. Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it. All of the Riverdale writers made a donation to @BLMLA, but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers' room."

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