The controversy surrounding The Simpsons‘ Apu has exploded in recent years. Though he’s traditionally been seen as a beloved resident of Springfield, 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu helped raise serious questions about whether such a stereotypical Indian-American character should still be on television nowadays. Since then, the show has come under fire for failing to respond to the controversy, but they’ve now finally taken a stance on the issue.
Longtime Simpsons star Hank Azaria has revealed that he’ll not be voicing the Kwik-E-Mart proprietor any longer. Not that there’s a voice actor waiting to replace him, mind you. Instead, it seems that the production team is simply planning on resting Apu until they can figure out how to reboot him for the 2020s.
The star – who’s not leaving the series and will continue to voice other favorites like Moe Syzlak, Chief Wiggum and Professor Frink – told /Film:
“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s someway to transition it or something. What they’re going to do with the character is their call,” Azaria said. “It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore. We all made the decision together. We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
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Back in 2018, Azaria publicly stated on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that he would be willing to step aside as Apu if that was what was decided. Despite the actor’s understanding of the importance of the situation, creator Matt Groening has downplayed the need to change the character, maintaining they had no plans to recast. Clearly, things have been reappraised behind the scenes and everyone’s agreed that putting Apu on ice for a while is the best way to go.
With The Simpsons showing no signs of ending, though, especially as it’s under new management at Disney, hopefully the writers come up with a way to continue Apu that better reflects the world we live in today.