[Oscar Chan / Edge Columnist]
Voice actor Hank Azaria who voices Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in the Simpsons show, apologized to all Indian people for voicing Apu. Apu was a very controversial character and the portrayal of Indians through this character caused backlash for being culturally appropriate. The voice actor for Apu has discussed that he intended to give laughter and joy, he did not mean for Apu to become a negative representation to Indians. After 30 years of voicing Apu, Azaria is going to stop voicing Apu, he says “I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something,”.
Simpsons has been a long running show with many controversies especially now with emphasis on equality, diversity, and political correctness. The show still has not apologized for a lot of its problems such as whitewashing and racist casting.
The Simpsons show has noticed the issue but brushed it off jokingly in the episode “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” one of the parts show Marge and Lisa reading a book together from Marge’s childhood. After reading it, Marge notices how racist the book is and says “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”.
Hari Kondabolu, the creator of the documentary “The problem with Apu” said in a tweet “The Simpsons response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress.”. Simpsons instead of bringing back Apu, instead dodges the problem and mocks the problem.
Azaria went to his son’s school and interviewed some of the Indian’s at the school, one of the kids he interviewed, “There was a 17-year-old, he’s never even seen The Simpsons but knows what Apu means. It’s practically a slur at this point.”
According to Azaria, the decision for Azaria to stop voicing Apu was unanimous among the team and there was no hesitation on Azaria’s part, it was agreed on together.
Simpsons is a show that has been running for 31 years, it can adapt the show, it is not a movie. It can fix its problems episode by episode, and the show is ignoring that fact along with the problem that they fix. It is unfortunate there are still many problems that have been happening for years aswell and Simpsons still has not addressed any of these officially.
As of now, it is unconfirmed whether Apu will be returning to the show, there have been many suggestions such as hiring an Indian voice actor for Apu. Though none of this is confirmed, there could be a chance Apu will return to The Simpsons.