One of the voice actors on Fox’s long-running animated show ‘The Simpsons’ is now apologizing for his part in developing a character that has become very divisive and offensive over time.
Hank Azaria, who has been part of the show since the beginning of its run as a half-hour program, feels remorse for playing “big part in creating the problem to begin with” in regards to “Apu Nahasapeemapetilon,” a popular character he had voiced until exiting that role in 2020.
“Apu” has been problematic for a long time and those problems, especially when portrayed in a “racially stereotypical” style, was showcased in a 2017 documentary called ‘The Problem with Apu,’ where Hari Kondabolu explored the impact the character had, particularly negative, on those of Indian and South Asian heritage.
Here is a trailer below for ‘The Problem:’
Azaria tells actor Dax Shepard on an episode of his ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast “Apu’s” influence when he was speaking at his son’s high school. After asking other students their thoughts on the character, he heard from one who wasn’t familar with ‘Simpsons,’ but knew about the Kwik-E-Mart employee.
“It’s practically a slur at this point,” Azaria told Shepard. “All he knows is that is how his people are thought of and represented to many people in this country.”
Azaria also felt compelled to “apologize for his role” in making “Apu” part of television and pop culture history:
“I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that,” he said. “Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize. And sometimes I do.”
The actor now wants to see actors of color playing characters of color on ‘Simpsons.’
Another one of Azaria’s characters, “Carl Carlson,” one of “Homer Simpson’s” co-workers at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and who happens to be a Black man, is now voiced by actor Alex Désert.
To listen to Azaria on the ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast, click here.
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Article Courtesy of Complex
First and Second Picture Courtesy of New York Daily News Archive and Getty Images
Video Courtesy of YouTube