Anneliese van der Pol, best known for starring in Disney Channel’s “That’s So Raven,” has been outspoken about the “racism” she saw unfold during the show’s initial casting.
The actress, who played Chelsea Daniels on the hit show, revealed that the show initially featured Raven-Symoné, who later played the title character, in a supporting role.
“When I went to audition, the show was called ‘Absolutely Psychic,’” Romano told fellow child star Christy Carlson on her “Vulnerable” podcast Tuesday. “It wasn’t called ‘That’s So Raven’ at all.
“At the time, Raven wasn’t the lead. She was the partner. They were looking for a lead and I went in to audition for the lead. I think the character’s name was Molly.”
The actress claimed that Symoné successfully landed the role of “sidekick,” but a massive change was made to the show when the production team noticed her incredible talent.
“When they filmed, they realized that Raven was the funniest and had a huge following, so they bumped her up to number one and then started auditioning again,” van der Pol recalled.
“I think that was kind of racism at a low level, I guess if that’s even a possibility. They couldn’t really see a black girl leading a show. They only saw her as a partner.”
Page Six has reached out to Disney for comment.
The show, which turned out to be an international hit, starred Symoné, van der Pol and Orlando Brown as three best friends navigating high school.
Raven’s brother Corey was played by Kyle Massey, and her parents were played by Rondell Sheridan and T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh.
The show focused on the main character Symoné’s psychic abilities and ran from 2003 to 2007.
During its 4-year run, which consisted of 100 episodes and four seasons, the sitcom earned two Emmy nominations.
A spin-off was commissioned in 2017, in which Symoné and van der Pol returned to reprise their respective Disney roles due to popular demand.
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The reboot saw the friends navigating motherhood together.
In addition to the spin-off, van der Pol dabbled in other on-screen projects, including “Vampires Suck,” “Extremely Decent,” “Shalom Sesame,” and “5 Weddings.”
He also appeared in various Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.