Hank Azaria steps down from the role of voice artist for the Indian character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in The Simpsons.
The recognized voice artist would no longer be the voice of the character amidst a long been controversial. Azaria told SlashFilm that he wouldn’t be doing the voice anymore unless there’s some way to transition it or something. He said that the team made the decision altogether. “We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it,” he added.
The animated series came into debates for the stereotypical portrayal of the Indian character. The documentary “The Problem with Apu” by Hari Kondabolu in 2017 first highlighted the issue. It talked about the depiction of South Asians as racial stereotypes by white actors. While talking to BBC, Mr.Kondabolu said that Apu was problematic being defined by his job and the number of children he has in his arranged marriage.
Some also safeguarded the show saying that all its characters were stereotypical. Azaria also appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert saying that it’s the most important thing to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. “I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writer’s 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”.