Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter reveals the real reason he had his character, Otto, bit off his own tongue. Sutter made the revelation while answering a fan question on Twitter. The fan inquired if Otto was always meant to stay in jail, or if there had ever been plans for him to get out.
"No. He was always going to be inside," Sutter replied. "So many members live out their lives in prison. I wanted to tell a piece of that story. Plus my time and availability as an actor were limited. I bit off my own tongue so I wouldn't have to memorize any more lines. Besides, Otto was best in small doses over a long period of time."
Following Sons of Anarchy, Sutter went on to create Mayans M.C., a spinoff series from the motorcycle drama. That show will be going into its third season on FX. Notably, Sutter was fired from the Mayans in 2019, with the network claiming it was due to him creating a hostile work environment on set. Sutter later explained that he believes it was over a joke that he wrote into an episode, which may have upset executives at Disney, the network's new owner. "Here’s what I did wrong on the studio network side, the reason why I had to go away. It all started with a joke. And not a very good one," Sutter said.
"There was a line in the Season 2 premiere. EZ [JD Pardo] and Coco [Richard Cabral] were getting off the bus at the school where the drugs were being processed," he recalled. "There was supposed to be a really gnarly playground out front. Filled with debris, dangerous-looking swings, sharp objects, rusty jungle gym, etc. As they exited, Coco sees EZ’s distracted and says: 'Lighten up Boy Scout,' and gesturing to the playground, says, 'We’re going to Disneyland.' EZ replies: 'Yeah? Guess this is where Walt buried all the Jews he had killed.' Coco comments: 'That’s dark man…' And exits."
Sutter continued that although the joke came out of character, in any other environment it would have been "typical" of his dark humor brand. "I’m not an idiot," he said. "I knew it would ring some bells. Whether real or imagined, I was already experiencing the tightening of the noose. It was manifesting in production issues, creating more hurdles, etc. I’ve learned over the years through trial and error – a lot of error – how to push back to protect story from corporate conformity."