Actor quits as voice of Apu on the Simpsons amid 'racism' debate

18 January 2020, 08:39

Apu will no longer be voiced by actor Hank Azaria
Apu will no longer be voiced by actor Hank Azaria. Picture: The Simpsons

By Asher McShane

The voice actor who plays Simpsons character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has announced he will be stepping down from the role following a long-running racism debate over the character.

Actor Hank Azaria, who is white, has been the voice of Apu since 1990. Apu’s character has been accused of reinforcing racial stereotypes.

It is not clear if the character will remain in the show as a result.

"All we know there is I won't be doing the voice anymore, unless there's some way to transition it or something," Mr Azaria told website SlashFilm.

"We all made the decision together... We all agreed on it. We all feel like it's the right thing and good about it."

Mr Azaria - who is also the voice of Moe Szyslak and Chief Wiggum among others said he found it "very upsetting to me personally and professionally" that anyone might be marginalised because of Apu.

In a 2018 episode the show’s creators addressed the controversy. In one scene Marge changes a bedtime story to make it more politically correct, but Lisa objects.  She says: “It's hard to say. Something that started a long time ago, decades ago, that was applauded and was inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?"

She then signals to a photograph of Apu by her bedside, which is signed: "Don't have a cow - Apu".