The Simpsons: Hank Azaria quits as Apu after years of controversy
Kwik-E-Mart owner’s character is a racist stereotype, according to critics of show
The Simpsons: Hank Azaria says about quitting as Apu, ‘We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it’
The Simpsons actor Hank Azaria has said he will no longer voice the character of Apu, following years of controversy and accusations of racism.
Azaria provides the voices for numerous characters in the long-running show, including Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum and Comic Book Guy. But it appears his time as the Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is over.
He told Slashfilm: “All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice any more, unless there’s some way to transition it or something. We all made the decision together... We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
Apu is an Indian immigrant who owns and manages a convenience store. Known for his catchphrase “Thank you, come again,” he first appeared in The Simpsons’s first season in the episode The Telltale Head. The character has been dogged for years by allegations of racism. Azaria is white.
The controversy intensified in 2017 following the documentary The Problem with Apu, written by and starring the comedian Hari Kondabolu. He argued the character was a problematic stereotype of South Asians. The Simpsons writers addressed the issue but were accused of making the problem worse.
During a 2018 episode, Marge was reading a novel that had been adapted for modern audiences to make it less offensive. 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. What can you do?”
She then looked at a picture of Apu on her bedside table that was inscribed with Bart’s catchphrase, “Don’t have a cow”. Marge added, “Some things will be dealt with at a later date;” Lisa replied “If at all”. – PA