At a time that should have been marked by celebration and excitement, Laci Mosley was battling internet trolls’ racist attacks after news of her role on “iCarly” was announced. The actress plays Harper, Miranda Cosgrove’s best friend, in the reboot.
Mosley recently spoke with the Los Angeles Times about the online vitriol she faced, how the network responded and how Hollywood can do better. In the interview, she explained that many longtime “iCarly” fans attacked her character as a “Black replacement” for Jennette McCurdy, who played Sam Puckett in the original series and has since left acting.
“She’s not a replacement of Sam,” Mosley told the outlet. “She’s not a substitution. She’s a completely different person.”
“She’s queer, she’s Black — and not in a stereotypical way,” she continued. “We don’t even address her queerness as something odd. Harper never has a coming out. She’s just queer. It’s normal. No one cares, you know, and I love that about the role. But also, she’s really fun. She pushes Carly into doing crazy things all the time.”
Mosley said many of the online comments were quickly flagged for being offensive and credited the “iCarly” and Paramount+ teams for coming to her defense. However, she said she still receives racist messages from fans around three times a week.
“Black women deserve protection. We deserve care. We deserve to not be the mules for every single cause — and then when we need help and support, that’s nowhere to be found,” Mosley said.
She added, “I look forward to the point where being Black and getting a job in Hollywood is not a political statement. We are talented. We work very hard, a lot of times much harder to get where we are and we don’t deserve to be punished for that.”
The article also referenced other Black stars who have faced racism after joining a major franchise, like Star Wars actor John Boyega.
“I see John Boyega on too many Instagram Lives fighting racists because he should have the support that I had,” Mosley said. “I’m so grateful for that because I know the actresses who have broken these barriers down for me in the past did not have this kind of support.”
In an Instagram post about the interview, she added, “I can’t lie, when I put this topic to bed I didn’t plan on speaking on it publicly anymore for my own mental health. When the LA Times asked me to share my thoughts on the ordeal I knew I had a chance to shift the focus off of me and back to what Hollywood SHOULD be doing to protect and empower its Black and POC talent. It’s already so hard to pursue this daunting craft, it shouldn’t be made harder by hate. I hope to see more studios follow in Paramount+’s footsteps in the future.”