The Simpsons would cast someone ‘ethically correct’ to play Apu now, says producer

The character was voiced by white actor Hank Azaria

Annie Lord
Wednesday 25 March 2020 09:49
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Apu in The Simpson episode Much Apu About Something

Al Jean, a producer on The Simpsons said that if they brought back the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, this time they would cast someone “ethnically correct”.

The character has attracted controversy in recent years because he was voiced by white actor Hank Azaria.

In response to criticism that Apu perpetuates harmful racist stereotypes, the shop owner was quietly phased out years ago, returning only as a background character.

Speaking to Radio Times, producer Al Jean said: “If we were casting the character now, we’d cast someone who was ethnically correct to play Apu.

“The way we always wrote him, though, was as a hardworking, thoughtful family man who was smarter than everyone else in Springfield. The majority of the jokes were about Springfield not appreciating what a gem he is. So we’re proud of him.”

Last month, Hank Azaria announced he would be leaving the role, saying: “Once I realised that that was the way this character was thought of, I just didn’t want to participate in it anymore. It just didn’t feel right.

“I didn’t want to knee-jerk drop it if I didn’t feel that was right, nor did I want to stubbornly keep doing it if that wasn’t right. But then I started thinking, if that character were the only representation of Jewish people in American culture for 20 years, which was the case with Apu, I might not love that.”

Azaria revealed earlier this year that he had no idea that the character was causing offence during the series’ peak.

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