Following years of criticism regarding the two-dimensional character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on "The Simpsons," White actor Hank Azaria said he will no longer voice the South Asian Kwik-E-Mart owner, the BBC reported on January 18.
"All we know is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something," Azaria told /Film. "We all made the decision together. We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it."
In 2017, comedian Hari Kondabolu released the documentary "The Problem With Apu," which argued that the character is a drawn-out stereotype whose "small screen portrayal is connected to all the other racist propaganda that litters the American cultural landscape," Colorlines reported.
Instead of making changes, the Fox series appeared unaffected. In fact, a year later, the producers and writers created an episode that invited even more criticism; it featured Marge and Lisa chatting political correctness—followed by Lisa turning to an autographed photo of Apu that read "Don’t have a cow, Apu."
Now fans wait and watch to see if a South Asian actor will voice the character or if Apu will no longer appear on the show. Kondabolu tweeted on January 17 that it was never about axing Apu, but addressing racism.
My documentary “The Problem with Apu” was not made to get rid of a dated cartoon character, but to discuss race, representation & my community (which I love very much). It was also about how you can love something (like the Simpsons) & still be critical about aspects of it (Apu).
rn— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) January 17, 2020