Actor Hank Azaria has said that he will no longer be voicing Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on The Simpsons in the wake of a controversy over the character’s portrayal in the show.
The long-running animated series came under intense scrutiny in recent years after Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu highlighted the stereotypical depiction of Indian immigrants in Hollywood.
Talking to Slash Film, Azaria said he has decided to part ways with the character.
“I won’t be doing the voice anymore unless there’s some way to transition it or something… 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,” the 55-year-old actor said.
Last year, The Simpsons had addressed the criticism over Apu’s characterisation in the episode No Good Read Goes Unpunished. However, the show failed to pacify the viewers and was slammed on social media for its tone-deaf response to the controversy.
Later, Azaria also opened up about the controversy during his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The actor said he is willing to step aside from the part as it would be the right thing to do.
“I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers’ room including how (Apu) is voiced or not voiced. I’m perfectly willing to step aside. It just feels like the right thing to do to me,” he had said.
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