*A biracial stuntwoman has been hired to double for biracial actress Zendaya on Disney Channel’s “K.C. Undercover” this season, but only after complaints by black stuntwomen and an investigation by SAG-AFTRA over Zendaya’s original stunt double.
Last season, Zendaya, whose father is black and mother is white, was doubled by a white stuntwoman who was the wife of the show’s stunt coordinator.
Several black stuntwomen told Deadline.com that they believed the show hadn’t lived up to the union’s contract, which states that stunt coordinators must “endeavor to cast qualified persons of the same sex and/or race” as the person they’re doubling.
Disney maintained all along that it was “in compliance with the SAG-AFTRA agreement,” and after looking into the matter, the union agreed, finding the show’s production company, It’s A Laugh Productions, “to be in compliance with the contract language.”
Even so, Adam Moore, the guild’s National Director of EEO and Diversity, noted that he talked to the producers “about how they can, in the future, do a better job of identifying and bringing in underrepresented stunt performers, particularly women of color.”
Meanwhile, a Disney Channel spokesperson said the original stunt double and her husband “departed the series for personal reasons within the past two weeks.”
“Interviews took place for stunt doubles to replace (last season’s stunt double),” spokeswoman Patti McTeague told Deadline. “Series producers and Zendaya participated in the interviews. Producers interviewed 14 candidates – African-Americans, Latinas, Asians and Caucasians.” She added that the criteria for hiring a stunt double is “comparable build (5’11”, approximately 110 lbs.) and skin tone to Zendaya, requisite skill set and availability for the entire run of the season.”
McTeague said the new double they hired for Zendaya is a veteran stuntwoman from New Zealand who is “Caucasian and Maori” – the native people of New Zealand. “She begins work this week.”