Last month, The Office actor Leslie David Baker launched a Kickstarter to produce Uncle Stan: Coming out of Retirement, a spin-off series about his character Stanley Hudson. The announcement was met with excitement and praise, but Baker has revealed that it’s not all sunshine and pretzels. In an Instagram post, he shared some racist messages he’s received since announcing the planned show.
“For those of you who don’t believe racism is still alive in the world… here’s the proof,” he wrote.
The screenshots Baker shared are Instagram DMs and Reddit comments by various strangers. They include racial slurs, feature lynching photos, and accuse Baker of stealing the Kickstarter money for personal profit.
“Our goal has simply been to entertain and give the fans a quality series,” wrote Baker in his post. “These rants are evidence that there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done here in America regarding racism. Bigotry and hate will not be allowed to irradicate art or Black people. Enough said.”
In an interview with USA Today, Baker explained why he felt compelled to speak out about the private harassment and abuse he was getting:
“You cannot fight racism and combat those types of stereotypical attitudes if you pretend that they don’t exist. All too often in America, people have been so concerned about being made to feel uncomfortable, because they aren’t confronted by racist behavior. It’s not riding down the street in the hood with the burning cross, but instead it’s been replaced with the new technology.”
Several of Baker’s co-starts from The Office, including Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer, reportedly reached out to him to express their support after hearing of the news. Many fans have done the same, but Baker also said a few have scolded him for “perpetuating racism” by exposing it. “That’s like blaming somebody who gets mugged for being mugged and daring to talk about it,” said Baker. “If you’re on the receiving end of a racist diatribe, and then you pretend that it doesn’t exist, that does not help people learn from it.”
The Uncle Stan Kickstarter surpassed its $300,000 goal, and therefore should begin production as soon as it’s safe to do so. Until then, get lost in some quality Scranton nostalgia with Kevin Malone’s extensive oral history podcast and the cast’s most recent reunion for a surprise virtual wedding. If your young ones are into The Office, too, check out Fisher-Price’s new Little People collection featuring Dunder Mifflin’s finest.