There Isn’t a Black Female Scientist in the Ghostbusters Reboot, and People Aren’t Happy

Ghostbusters movie poster
Columbia Pictures
Ghostbusters movie poster
Columbia Pictures

Editor’s note: This post contains tweets that some may find offensive.

After years of rumors and being put on the back burner, the Ghostbusters remake, with its all-female cast, actually happened. And on Thursday, the trailer for the much-talked-about movie was released.

Bad-ass female scientists? Sure, they’re there. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon all play scientists in the reboot. And just like in the original movie, there’s a black character, too. 


But let’s talk about Ernie Hudson for a second.

You see, last year when the reboot was talked about, Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore, discussed his role and how it has seemed to haunt him 30 years later. Hudson didn’t go into the movie playing the “fourth Ghostbuster”; he actually thought his role would be a more important one, according to an article he wrote in Entertainment Weekly:

I look back on Ghostbusters in a very fun way, but it’s got so many mixed feelings and emotions attached to it. When I originally got the script, the character of Winston was amazing and I thought it would be career-changing. The character came in right at the very beginning of the movie and had an elaborate background: he was an Air Force major something, a demolitions guy. It was great.

Now I’ve heard, over the years, that the part had been written for Eddie Murphy—all of which Ivan Reitman says is not true. But it was a bigger part, and Winston was there all the way through the movie. After a long audition process, I finally got the part and made the awful mistake of letting it be known that I really, really wanted it. In Hollywood in those days, you set your quote—so if anybody calls about wanting to work with you, they had to meet your quote. I had just worked with Columbia on Spacehunter, and my quote was pretty decent. For Ghostbusters, they came in at only half of my quote, because they said this role was going to make my career. I said to my agent, “I don’t care. Just take it, because I believe that.” So we go to New York and we rehearse for three weeks or whatever and I’m ready to roll.

The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking.

The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.

I’m panicked. I don’t sleep that night. It was like my worst nightmare is happening. The next morning, I rush to the set and plead my case. And Ivan basically says, “The studio felt that they had Bill Murray, so they wanted to give him more stuff to do.” I go, “Okay, I understand that, but can I even be there when they’re established?” And of course, he said no, there’s nothing to do about it. It was kind of awkward, and it became sort of the elephant in the room.

So that’s the story of how Hudson’s role evolved from something … into the role he’s now known for.

Fast-forward 30 years later; enter Leslie Jones, the new “fourth Ghostbuster.” But at least this time she’s on the poster, unlike Hudson. So I thought that, just maybe, Jones’ character would be a scientist like the rest of her fellow Ghostbusters.


Sassy, loud and black? Check. That’s Jones’ character. And people on social media weren’t pleased at all.


But what does Jones have to say about the character? Well, someone mentioned it.

Illustration for article titled There Isn’t a Black Female Scientist in the Ghostbusters Reboot, and People Aren’t Happy

Jones’ response kind of reminds me of something Harriet Tubman said: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”

So basically, if Jones is OK with being a stereotype, I guess we shouldn’t care, right?