The Simpsons Voice Actor Will No Longer Play Apu

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FILE - In this January 16, 2020 file photo, Hank Azaria speaks during the AMC Networks TCA 2020 Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. Azaria told the industry blog, slashfilm.com, that he has no plans to continue voicing his character of Apu on "The Simpsons". "We all feel like it's the right thing and (feel) good about it". It's up to them and they haven't sorted it out yet.

On Friday, Azaria confirmed he would no longer voice the character in an interview with the website Slashfilm.

In his documentary, The Problem with Apu, he said Apu was one of the only representations of South Asians on U.S. television when he was growing up and other children imitated the character to mock him.

Creators of The Simpsons found themselves under fire in late 2017 with the release of a documentary by comedian Hari Kondabolu, who interviewed fellow entertainers of Indian and South Asian origin to document their feelings about the character. During a recent media interaction, Azaria revealed that he is officially stepping down as the voice of the controversial character on the popular American animated sitcom. "It was also about how you can love something (like the Simpsons) & still be critical about aspects of it (Apu)", he wrote on Twitter. All we've agreed on is I won't do the voice anymore.

In the documentary, Kondabolu references Azaria's depiction of Apu as, "a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father".

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It may be that Apu simply stops appearing on the show; he would not be the first Simpsons supporting character to be retired for one reason or another.

While the makers The Simpsons refrained from directly addressing the issue, they addressed the controversy in a 2018 episode.

The scene ended with Lisa turning to the camera and saying: "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect".

She then looked at a picture of Apu on her bedside table that was inscribed with Bart's catchphrase, "don't have a cow". Producers and Fox Broadcasting Co. wouldn't confirm to The Associated Press Azaria's exit or an end to Apu, a recurring character that has drawn criticism for reinforcing racial stereotypes.

"It certainly was not my intention".

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