Actor Hank Azaria has announced he will no longer voice the controversial Indian-American character, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, on The Simpsons. Azaria has been the voice of Apu for 30 years since the character first appeared in the episode ‘The Telltale Head’ in 1990.
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is an Indian migrant in the fictional series, The Simpsons, who runs a convenience store, the Kwik-E-Mart. Besides Apu, Azaria has also voiced other characters of the show, such as bar owner Moe Szyslak and police chief Clancy Wiggum.
The producers of the show and the Fox, its network, have not commented on whether the character will be voiced by someone else or be retired from the show. The actor said the decision to remove him from voicing Apu was mutual and “we all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing,” according to Slashfilm, an industry news blog.
“All we know there is 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,” Azaria said, according to Slashfilm. “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 character of Apu has faced controversies due to its racial overtones, which became prominent following the release of a documentary, ‘The Problem with Apu’, by comedian Hari Kondabolu. He argued the character of Apu stereotypes the people from South Asia.
If @HankAzaria is indeed no longer doing the voice of Apu, I do hope they keep the character & let a very talented writing staff do something interesting with him. If not to better the show, then to atleast spare me some death threats.
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) January 17, 2020
However, on Friday, Kondabolu said in a tweet that he hopes ‘The Simpsons’ retains the character of Apu and lets “a very talented writing staff do something interesting with him”.