The Simpsons to stop using white actors for voices of non-white characters

Announcement comes after a number of white actors said they would step down from their roles voicing black and PoC characters

Apu in The Simpson episode Much Apu About Something

The Simpsons will no longer use white actors for the voices of characters from other ethnic backgrounds, producers of the show have said.

The animated sitcom has been the subject of criticism for years over white actor Hank Azaria’s portrayal of Indian-American convenience store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

Earlier this year, Azaria announced that he would be stepping down from the role.

“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” producers said in a statement.

The move comes after pressure on the entertainment industry to offer more opportunities for non-white performers, amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.

US actors including Mike Henry and Kristen Bell have announced that they will no longer be providing voiceovers for people of colour.

Bell, who provided the voice of Molly, a mixed-race character in the cartoon series Central Park, said doing so displayed “a lack of awareness”.

“Casting a mixed race character [with a] white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience,” she added.

Other entertainers, including Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and YouTube star Jenna Marbles, have apologised after resurfaced videos showed them using blackface.

Fox Network's statement on Friday did not confirm whether Apu or other characters would continue to feature on the show.

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