Actor Hank Azaria has told Slash Film that he will no longer be voicing the controversial character Apu on The Simpsons. Azaria is white and uses an exaggerated accent as Apu, who is Indian.
“We all made the decision together,” he told the outlet. “We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and (feel) good about it.”
Azaria voices several of the series’ characters, but it’s unclear if Apu will continue to appear on the show.
Azaria’s work has recently come under scrutiny following the release of the film The Problem with Apu from comedian Hari Kondabolu, which examined the problematic nature of pop culture stereotypes.
On Twitter, Kondabolu discussed the move and said that he hopes that Apu will continue to appear on the show.
“If Hank Azaria is indeed no longer doing the voice of Apu, I do hope they keep the character and let a very talented writing staff do something interesting with him. If not to better the show, then to at least spare me some death threats,” he wrote. “My documentary The Problem with Apu was not made to get rid of a dated cartoon character, but to discuss race, representation and my community (which I love very much). It was also about how you can love something (like the Simpsons) and still be critical about aspects of it (Apu).