Early last month, Leslie David Baker—the actor best-known for the character Stanley on the hit show The Office—announced he was launching a Kickstarter campaign in order to get an unofficial spinoff about everyone’s favorite office grump up-and-running.
As previously reported by The Root, the plot of Uncle Stan: Coming Out of Retirement revolves around the “pretzel day” enthusiast leaving his tranquil Florida habitat to help his nephew in Los Angeles with his struggling flower/motorcycle shop. The Kickstarter exceeded expectations, raising well over its $300,000 goal. However, the good news has not come without its fair share of negativity.
Last week on Instagram, Baker posted racist messages he received from trolls who are attempting to dull his joy. There was one lengthy message as well as several racist images of Black men hanging.
“Our goal has simply been to entertain and give the fans a quality series,” Baker wrote in the caption of the images. “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 (sic) art or Black people. Enough said.”
Baker spoke to USA Today about the messages he received, noting that racism is still alive and well in America, and some of the sentiments have only gotten worse with time.
“You cannot fight racism and combat those types of stereotypical attitudes if you pretend that they don’t exist,” he tells the news publication. “All too often in America, people have been so concerned about being made to feel uncomfortable, because they aren’t confronted by racist behavior... 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.”
Despite the inappropriate comments, Baker has received tons of support from fans and his The Office co-stars including Rainn Wilson (Dwight), Jenna Fischer (Pam), Angela Kinsey (Angela) and Kate Flannery (Meredith) who have either shown their support publicly or reached out to him to see how he was feeling. He’s also not going to let racism and trolling stop him from delivering what the fans want to see. While Uncle Stan doesn’t have an official network home, he’s hoping to provide supporters with the ‘What happens next?’ scenario.”
“I kept getting asked the same questions over and over about the character of Stanley,” he said. “‘Well, what is he doing now? Does he still do crossword puzzles? He went to Florida and retired and was supposedly doing woodwork. Is he still doing that? What is his journey?’ According to the audience, they didn’t feel that his journey was over yet, so we’re gonna see where that takes us.”
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