The Simpsons drop Indian character Apu over racial backlash
Long-running TV cartoon will no longer feature the Kwik-E-Mart owner
The Simpsons is not going to include Indian character Apu in future episodes after a backlash against alleged racial stereotyping, a producer has said.
Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who been a part of the show since the first season, will be written out of the TV cartoon series to “avoid controversy”, Adi Shankar said.
“I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether,” he told IndieWire.
“They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.”
Shankar considers the decision a mistake, saying: “If you are a show about cultural commentary and you are too afraid to comment on the culture, especially when it’s a component of the culture you had a hand in creating, then you are a show about cowardice.”
Hank Azaria, the actor who voices Apu, has previously said that he is willing to “step aside” following criticism over the character.
The controversy mainly arises from a documentary last year from comedian Hari Kondabolu, The Problem With Apu, that saw him interview figures from the world of entertainment including Aziz Ansari, Whoopi Goldberg and Kal Penn to look into the problematic nature of the iconic shop owner.
The Simpsons, which first aired in 1989, is currently producing its 30th season.