Four years on from stepping down from the role, Hank Azaria has apologized for voicing Apu in The Simpsons.
It has taken a while, but over the last few years, TV shows and movies from the past are being called out for their insensitive portrayal of minorities. Whether it be scenes in which actors appeared in blackface or animated projects that included white actors voicing non-white roles. The Simpsons was guilty of the latter via its casting of Hank Azaria as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
As is the case with most Simpsons actors, Azaria voices a number of the show’s characters and has done for decades. Moe Syzlak, Chief Wiggum, and so many more. However, his voicing of Apu had a spotlight thrust upon it in 2017 via a documentary called The Problem With Apu. The doc led to Azaria relinquishing his role as the Kwik-E-Mart owner.
Azaria recently appeared on Armchair Expert and discussed his time as Apu, apologizing for the hurt it caused to the Indian-American community. “Part of me feels like I need to go around to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize,” Azaria revealed. “I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that.” Azaria filled the role of Apu for 27 years, from the show’s inception to when he stepped down.
Azaria even goes as far as to describe his portrayal of Apu as a slur at this point. The actor has visited schools and spoken to Indian children who have been directly affected by Apu. “All he knows is that is how his people are thought of and represented to many people in this country,” Azaria said when discussing an interaction he had with a 17-year-old Indian boy.
Despite Azaria leaving the character in the past four years ago, the creators of the show have clarified Apu will return. However, up until this point, a replacement actor has not been replaced. Should that ever happen, the role will presumably go to an Indian-American actor. As Azaria puts it in the above interview, “It’s more authentic, they’ll bring their experience to it, and let’s not take jobs away from people who don’t have enough.” Episodes of The Simpsons featuring Apu remain on Disney Plus. However, older movies featuring problematic scenes in regard to racial stereotypes have been removed from children’s profiles on the streaming service.
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Josh has been gaming for as long as he can remember. That love began with a mild childhood addiction to the Sega Genesis, or Mega Drive since he lives in the UK. Back then, Sonic 2 quickly became his favorite game and as you might have guessed from his picture, the franchise has remained close to his heart ever since. Nowadays, he splits his time between his PS4 and his Switch and spends far too much time playing Fortnite. If you’re a fan of gaming, wrestling, and soccer, give him a follow on Twitter @BristolBeadz.
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