The Simpsons is closing a chapter surrounding the controversy over Apu. The animation comedy will no longer hire white actors to portray non- white characters according to Entertainment Weekly.
Hank Azaria (Comic Book Guy), who is white, has served as the voice of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon the Kwik-E-Mart owner. In a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly, Azaria explained in a statement that he was departing from his long time role, What they’re going to do with the character is their call,” Azaria explained, “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 feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
— Hank Azaria (@HankAzaria) June 1, 2020
Controversy around Apu heightened following the release of documentary, The Problem With Apu. The special on truTV aired in 2017 and is narrated from The Simpsons fan Hari Kondabolu. The documentary details in what ways the show’s Indian character brings forth a stereotype of South Asian people.
Azaria has been voicing Apu for 30 years playing the thickly accented Indian-American character via CNN. Other animated comedies are running alongside The Simpsons. Jenny Slate (Gifted) is leaving her role in Big Mouth where she played a biracial character. Kristen Bell (Bad Moms) is additionally setting aside her biracial character on Apple TV+’s Central Park. Also, Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show) gave an announcement that he will no longer be the voice behind Family Guy’s African-American character Cleveland, after playing that role for over twenty years.