The entertainment industry has taken a stand against racial discrimination amidst the ongoing protests. The Simpsons, which is an animated TV comedy, is said to put an end to having white actors dubbing for characters of colour, as mentioned by the producers of the show. “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” they stated briefly.
The statement did not elaborate much but this step is taken right after years of public pressure about the Fox television show’s Indian convenience store character Apu, who is voiced by Hank Azaria. Hank Azaria mentioned earlier this year that he would no longer play this particular character because this character has been on the receiving ends of lots of criticism as this is a negative portrayal of Indian-Americans.
Hank Azaria is also known to voice The Simpsons characters of Black police officer Lou and the Mexican-American Bumblebee Man. Harry Shearer is known to play Dr Hibbert, who is a Black character. The recent statement has not made it very clear whether Apu or the other characters would still be remaining as a part of the series.
Bumbling Homer Simpson, housewife Marge, troublemaker Bart, prodigy Lisa and baby Maggie, have all now captured the changing face of America for more than 3 decades as the longest-running scripted show on the U.S. television. The Simpsons is also known to be syndicated in over 100 countries.
The Simpsons have faced this criticism before and the producers of the sitcom did not take the criticism well. They had tried to address the issue which has rubbed the viewers in the wrong way. In a 2018 episode, Lisa can be heard saying, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”
She then goes on to look at a picture of Apu that featured Bart’s catchphrase “Don’t have a cow!” To this Marge says, “Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” and Lisa replies, “If at all.” As mentioned it was in early this year that Azaria had taken the decision of not continuing to play the character of Apu anymore.
The actor said, “All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore unless there’s some way to transition it or something”. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon was a role Hank Azaria had been playing since the character was created in the year 1990.