Hank Azaria, voice of Apu on The Simpsons, says he is 'happy to step aside' amid racism controversy

The controversy surrounding Indian character Apu on The Simpsons received a new perspective after Hank Azaria's latest comments on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

FP Staff April 25, 2018 15:25:02 IST
Hank Azaria, voice of Apu on The Simpsons, says he is 'happy to step aside' amid racism controversy

The controversy surrounding the sole Indian character on the long-running animated series The Simpsons has received a new perspective after Hank Azaria's latest comments to the host of The Late Show Stephen Colbert.

Hank Azaria voice of Apu on The Simpsons says he is happy to step aside amid racism controversy

Hank Azaria and the character Apu/Image from Twitter.

Hank Azaria appeared as a guest on the latest episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. When asked by Colbert what he thinks should happen to character of Apu going forward, Azaria, who has voiced the character since its inception, said, "I've given this a lot of though and my eyes have been opened, and I think the most important thing is to listen to South Asian people, Indian people, in America when they talk about what they feel and what they think about his character; what their American experience of it has been".

Azaria said that in the world of television, listening to voices means inclusion of those voice in the writing process. He went on to say, "I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the room, not in a token way but genuinely informing whatever new direction this character may take, including how it is voiced or not voiced. I’m perfectly willing and happy to step aside or help transition it into something new."

Azaria also stressed that he hopes The Simpsons takes the step forward to increased inclusion as it is the "right thing to do".

Azaria also expressed that the he never intended the character to have negative impacts on the lives of actual South Asians living in America. He said, "The idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad. It certainly was not my intention. I wanted to bring joy and laughter to people," Azaria told Colbert."

The controversy surrounding The Simpsons caught speed once again after the makers of the show, in the episode No Good Read Goes Unpunished, addressed the character of Apu and received widespread criticism for its defense. Comedian Hari Kondabolu, who wrote the documentary The Problem With Apu about how marginalized groups are represented in pop culture, called Sunday’s scene a “jab” at progress .

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