Simpsons actor Hank Azaria quits Apu role amid continued ‘racism’ controversy over hit show’s Indian character
The veteran actor has voiced the Indian shopkeeper since 1990, but Azaria has now revealed that his time portraying the Kwik-E-Mart owner has come to an end.
The 55-year-old, who also plays Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum and various other characters in the long-running show, told Slashfilm: “All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something.
“We all made the decision together ... We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it,” he added.
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is an Indian immigrant who owns a convenience store in Springfield, the fictional town in which The Simpsons is set. He first appeared in ‘The Telltale Head’ episode in 1990. However, the character’s creators faced racism accusations in recent years, with the controversy intensifying following the 2017 documentary ‘The Problem with Apu.’
The documentary argued that Apu was offensive to South Asians; it was the work of comedian Hari Kondabolu. “Let the death threats begin!” Kondabolu quipped on Twitter, when it emerged that Azaria would no longer voice Apu.
If @HankAzaria is indeed no longer doing the voice of Apu, I do hope they keep the character & let a very talented writing staff do something interesting with him. If not to better the show, then to atleast spare me some death threats.— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) January 17, 2020
“My documentary ‘The Problem with Apu’ was not made to get rid of a dated cartoon character, but to discuss race, representation and my community (which I love very much). It was also about how you can love something (like The Simpsons) and still be critical about aspects of it (Apu),” he said.
The shelving of Apu appears to have gone down poorly with fans, with many questioning the motivations of those attacking the character. However, others wondered why the show’s creators couldn’t simply find an Indian actor to play the part.
As someone who is ethnically East Indian (not that that should matter or give me cred), Apu was pretty entertaining. The only Indians complaining about it are the ones who wish to act woke for public approval. The rest of us are fine with folks having a good laugh at our expense.— George Brahm (@GeekPhilosopher) January 18, 2020
Literally every character on the show is a parody/satire of a certain ethnicity.. it’s been that way for 30 years.. so somebody please tell me why Apu is any different.— Josh Mcdaniel (@JoshMcd38861645) January 18, 2020
Hey I an idea: Maybe Apu can be voiced by an actual south Asian actor?? Just a thought!! https://t.co/or0WGHGl1g— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) January 18, 2020
What do you think? Was Apu a racist stereotype that needed to go or do some people just need to relax.
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