To the Fandoms Helping Out:

We want to keep this event Abbie Mills specific. We are joining together to combat systemic discrimination in the media. However due to Abbie Mills’ unique place in television we want to make sure to keep this event focused on Abbie herself. 

Please remember when speaking of the discrimination that Abbie faces, speak directly to her blackness, while Abbie is woman of color she faced discrimination specific to that blackness. In 3 seasons of television:

  • Abbie Mills was not kissed and had no onscreen romance
  • Abbie sacrificed herself thrice for the world, her partner Ichabod never did
  •  she was repeatedly sidelined and displaced while white women were pushed into her place (said women were then horribly written besides)
  • Sleepy Hollow itself was originally promoted as diverse show making their treatment of the black actors and characters on this show that much more egregious
  • the “don’t need no man trope” which is specific to black women was applied to her by the writers room: “Abbie loved Ichabod, but Ichabod was in love with Abbie.”
  • Abbie also faced colorism from her own fandom as some viewers repeatedly called for her to be replaced by her light-skinned, acceptably curly haired sister
  • originally Abbie was supposed to die mid-season, that’s right as far as the writer’s of Sleepy Hollow were concerned this co-lead, only black woman leading a genre show, arguably fan favorite’s death didn’t even warrant a season finale
  • her final words to her partner were that “her purpose was to carry him forward and she had nothing more to do”, in an interview with one of the writers they said: “she had served her purpose”
  • she existed solely for the benefit of a man
  • while she started strong Abbie was diminished in every way as her S1 love interests were written out apropos of nothing to make room for story line’s that centered the conflict around her white male partner (now I like Ichabod, but their storylines needed to be equally important)
  • all POC supporting cast were either killed off or slowly disappeared from the show: John Cho, Orlando Jones, Jill-Marie Jones, Amandla Stenberg,Nicholas Gonzalez. 
  • Nicole Beharie herself was not invited to the season 2 DVD commentary, she recently had to ask the Sleepy Hollow fox twitter account to follow her, she was told that no one wanted to see her at conventions without Tom Mison

Essentially they hired an amazing Julliard trained actress and diminished her and the character she played in every conceivable way. The simple human wastage is disgusting, the constant slights are an outrage, and the blend of racism and sexism she endured is beyond the pale. And all of it is specific to her blackness so remember that when we work this trending event. 

She is not simply a WOC, but a black woman. The strong woman who doesn’t need a man trope is specific to her blackness, being a pack mule whose feelings are not considered is specific to her blackness, being considered disposable is specific to her blackness and being only considered for her usefulness to her white co-workers is specific to her blackness.

When we are tweeting we cannot forget her blackness. Some of you will feel an urge to say WOC rather than black when speaking of her. Resist this urge, that is the racism that we all internalize growing up in this world. To combat the problem it must be identified and properly. Please refer to her blackness and use the term misogynoir to talk about what happened to Abbie Mills, Nicole Beharie and her fans.
'Huntsman,' 'Sleepy Hollow,' And Why It Matters When Female Stars Are Kicked Out Of Their Franchises
You can be the co-lead of a popular network series, one with a massive online fan base no less, but the recent axings of several female stars makes the thinking in Hollywood clear: they are expendable in a way that the male co-star rarely is.
By Scott Mendelson

More dragging:

“When you’re a woman in Hollywood, no matter your stature, no matter your billing, and no matter your importance to the television show or film franchise in which you appear, you may well always have a target on your back. At the end of the day, the only indisposable part of the franchise or the hit television show is the guy. Even starring as Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman wasn’t enough. And nor was being the co-lead in shows like Sleepy Hollow or Castle. No matter how much the fans love you, those in charge love your male co-star that much more.”
‘Anyone Can Die?’ TV’s Recent Death Toll Says Otherwise
It has been a deeply frustrating and blood-soaked spring. Just about every week lately, it’s felt as though TV was hosting a Red Wedding for any character who wasn’t a heterosexual white guy. Women of color, men of color, LGBTQ characters and white female characters have been killed off left and right.
By Maureen Ryan

Great article by @moryan

“It doesn’t feel true when a network TV drama, “Sleepy Hollow,” kills off its African-American female lead in order to provide motivation for the show’s white, male lead — whose lifespan, its worth noting, now stretches more than 200 years and counting. (There are reports that actress Nicole Beharie wanted to leave the show, which is understandable, given how poorly handled the show’s narrative and character development has been since early in season two.).. “

Sleepy Hollow is not horsing around this time: Nicole Beharie has departed Sleepy Hollow following Abbie Mills’ very real death in Friday’s Season 3 finale.
In an exclusive statement to TVLine, Beharie says, “Sleepy Hollow has been an incredible experience in every way. I loved playing Abbie. It’s been such a gift to have taken this wild ride… Alas, ‘Abbie Mills has done all she was meant to do.’ I’m excited about what the show has in store for us next. I’m rooting for my co-stars and crew… they have been my inspiration, my teachers, family, my friends, over the last few seasons. I want to thank the fantastic producers, writers, and directors who have worked tirelessly to bring this show to life. I want to thank Fox for their faith and support. But, most of all, [I want to thank the] Sleepyheads for all of your love – what an honor. I will never be the same. Stay tuned.”

Fox, 20th Century Fox and the producers of Sleepy Hollow issued a statement of their own, calling “the tragic death of Abbie Mills” a “bold move” for the series. “We feel we provided a wonderfully poignant conclusion for Abbie and showed some of the best moments between the Witnesses that we’ve seen on-screen. We thank Nicole Beharie for bringing Abbie and Sleepy Hollow to life. We are currently discussing Season 4, and should the series be picked up for another season, we have some exciting scenarios and new avenues we want to explore.”

Last November, Sleepy Hollow appeared to do away with Abbie in the fall finale, but Beharie’s witness turned up at the end of the midseason premiere alive and well.  In an exclusive post mortem with Kim Roots, showrunner Clifton Campbell confirms that this time around Abbie “is dead,” adding, “We’ve had a terrific run with her. She’s been an absolute delight. She helped build out the mythology of the show, and we’ve had a tremendous run with her.”

That said, while “the character is gone,” Campbell hints that Beharie could make the occasional appearance in a potential Season 4 in some other form. “In Sleepy Hollow it’s always surprising to see how the reflections of one character or another can influence the show moving forward,” he teases.

Lastly, in case you’re wondering, yes, Abbie’s final exit was the subject of last month’s blind item.


it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of who this story is really about. Apparently the writers considered Ichabod to be the lead, and Abbie an important but not necessarily vital element. Sure, there’s some hand-waving about a potential fourth season plot that has Ichabod tracking down someone who inherits Abbie’s job as Witness—taking on her soul, which actually sounds a little creepy if you think about it. But Nicole Beharie won’t be around for that, which is, quite frankly, absurd. I’m not sure if there were behind-the-scenes issues we aren’t privy to, but Beharie’s a critical element of the series. Tom Mison is a fine actor, but without the two of them together, what’s the damn point?
—  A.V. Club

On the surface, there has been a lot of forward movement on television for black women. We’re now able to see an incredible breadth of black female characters, including Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) on Empire, Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) on Underground, and Dr. Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) on Black-ish. But all representation isn’t created equal, and it’s important to not confuse this new hyper-visibility for total progress. Genres like science fiction and fantasy — which trade in visceral pleasures and fun rather than the literary, downtempo feeling of so-called “prestige” television — don’t make much room for black women. Instead they demonstrate a frustrating lack of imagination when it comes to crafting any interiority or narrative purpose for their black female characters.

This year has been pretty terrible for women in television, particularly genre television, which tries to keep audiences on their toes by making it seem like anyone can die at any time: Important characters like Arrow’s Laurel Lance/Black Canary have been brutally killed off, with their deaths framed as primarily painful setbacks for the typically white, male leads. As Maureen Ryan states in Variety, this doesn’t feel true when “I can think of dozens of gay, female, and non-white character deaths that were used to prod growth or vengeance in white, straight or male characters — but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen that dynamic play out in reverse.” Out of the many startling deaths to happen this television season, it’s the loss of Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) on Sleepy Hollow that hits the hardest.

In its first season, Sleepy Hollow found success thanks to the chemistry of its leads, Abbie and the out-of-time Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison). The show quickly developed a dedicated, vocal POC following thanks to the diversity of its cast and its depiction of Abbie as a capable, badass, funny, smart lead in a genre that often had great female characters but rarely any who were women of color. She completely lived up to her destiny as a “Witness,” an emblem of good and slayer of evil named in the Book of Revelation as key to fighting against the apocalypse itself. But between the first and second seasons, the show went through great upheaval, switching showrunners and changing up its writing staff. That wound up reflected onscreen in a second season that effectively sidelined Abbie and her importance in the narrative.

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