Apu has been an issue The Simpsons for many years. Hank Azaria first addressed the topic publicly on the documentary The Problem with Apu. The issue gained more attention when The Simpsons produced an episode in Season 29 that specifically addressed the topic. Voice actor Hank Azaria told Stephen Colbert he would be willing to step aside as the voice, but Al Jean and Matt Groening have avoided the topic of Apu.
This shows The Simpsons has empathy for all of their audience and that they’re open to evolving. No information has been released about finding a replacement for Apu, but the idea of transitioning Azaria’s voice to an actual Indian actor has been mentioned. Updating characters shows The Simpsons‘ strength to recognize they can improve on the way they did things in the past.
There have been rumors about what The Simpsons would do about Apu. Producer Adi Shankar said sources told him the show would phase out Apu, but showrunner Jean denied that. Groening said Azaria never mentioned wanting to stop doing the caricature voice while he when they were working together. However, Azaria has confirmed he will not do the voice anymore. “All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s someway to transition it or something,” Azaria said.
Given the previous aversion to answering questions about Apu from the shows’ creators, it sounds like a surprisingly unanimous decision. Azaria indicated there was no resistance to phasing him out as the voice. It is very good news for the Indian community, that they’ve been heard.
“What they’re going to do with the character is their call. It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore. We all made the decision together. We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.” Azaria said.