‘Insecure’ showrunner talks transgender storylines, death threats to mother over Britney Spears case

Prentice Penny spoke about numerous topics on the SiriusXM radio program, 'The Clay Cane Show.'

Prentice Penny thegrio.com
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO)
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With HBO’s Insecure drawing to a close, many are looking to get inside of the minds of its creators to reflect on the impact of the hit comedy series. Series show runner Prentice Penny recently provided some behind-the-scenes insight on the show during a SiriusXM interview on The Clay Cane Show, including why he elected not to include a transgender storyline.

Penny also spoke about his mother, Judge Brenda Penny, and the disturbing response to her involvement with the Britney Spears conservatorship case.

Prentice Penny thegrio.com
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO)

Host Clay Cane acknowledged that Insecure approached various groundbreaking storylines during it’s run, but he brought up an interview he had with series creator and lead actress Issa Rae, when he asked her, “Have y’all ever thought about handling a topic where it explores a transgender character or a transgender person.”

Penny admitted the writers were never able to properly pull together a storyline involving such a delicate topic.

“I think, for us, if we couldn’t do it the way that we thought we could do it, then let’s just not try to do it,” Penny said. “We knew if we were going to do it we wanted it to be a transgender actor playing the part, not somebody playing transgender who’s not transgender…it could go wrong more ways than it could go right.”

Penny added that he was happy to see other shows, specifically FX’s Pose, tackle the subject better than he believes Insecure could have.

Britney Spears thegrio.com
Singer Britney Spears attends The 2015 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

After waxing poetic about writing room debates and character development, Cane ended the 20-minute interview by asking Penny to address an incident in which his mother received racially insensitive messages and threats of violence over Spears’ conservatorship case.

The pop star was engaged in a very public battle to have her father, James Spears, removed as conservator of her $600 million estate. Brenda, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, ruled to suspend James as conservator in September, establishing accountant John Zabel as temporary conservator.

Prior to her decision, Brenda received death threats via social media from people who were displeased with her presence on the case, as reported by Page Six. In July, one tweeted, “brenda penny i hope you die in your sleep,” while another posted, “Judge Brenda Penny needs to f–king die! Someone investigate that b–h right now!”

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department had to monitor social media for the judge’s safety. When Cane asked how Penny and his mother were handling the slander from so-called Spears fans, he spoke on the resilience of his mother.

“My mom is a Black woman in America,” Penny said. “She’s a tough lady.” While he didn’t want to expound due to the case still being ongoing, Penny did say such behavior is uncalled for, no matter the circumstances.

“I don’t want to get into the weeds with that because she is still over the case… I’m just super proud of my mom and all she’s accomplished,” Penny said. “I hate when something gets to be an excuse to be racist. That case has real issues and real things that are around it, no matter who the judge is. I think it’s sad that whomever would use it as an excuse to espouse racist names and ideas, feels sad and it feels unnecessary. So for that, independent of the case, I just would think anybody would do that — it’s just not necessary.”

Watch the interview below.

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