Simpsons ends use of white actors to express people of color

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Actor Hank Azaria, the voice of the Indian character Apu, said in January that he was resigning


The American animated comedy series The Simpsons will no longer use white actors for the voices of characters of other ethnic origins, say the producers of the series.

The show, which airs on Fox Network, has faced years of criticism against the voice-over of white actor Hank Azaria of the Indo-American character Apu.

Azaria said earlier this year that he was leaving his post.

The entertainment industry is under increasing pressure to provide more opportunities for non-white artists.

Friday’s announcement comes in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, which were sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd in American custody on May 25.

“To move forward, the Simpsons will no longer have voices from non-white white actors,” the producers said in a brief statement.

  • What has changed since the death of George Floyd?

In January, Azaria said he would no longer play the voice of Indian convenience store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, a role he had played since the character’s creation in 1990.

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Hank Azaria said it was important to “listen to the Indians and their experience”


“We all made the decision together … We all agreed. We all think it’s the right thing, “he said at the time.

The show had been accused of using the character in a way that reinforced racial stereotypes.

Azaria – who provides the voices for other characters, including black police officer Lou and Mexican-American man Bumblebee – said he found it “very upsetting for me personally and professionally” that anyone would feel marginalized because of Apu.

The Fox Network statement on Friday did not specify whether Apu or other characters would continue to appear on the show.

  • Apu: “A stereotype hidden from view”
  • Not all Indians think Apu is a racist stereotype

Other white American actors to announce that they will no longer provide voiceovers for people of color include Mike Henry and Kristen Bell.

Mr. Henry provided the voice of the black character Cleveland Brown in the animated series Family Guy for 20 years.

“I love this character, but people of color should play characters of color,” he tweeted on Friday.

Ms. Bell, who provided the voice of Molly, a Métis child, in the Central Park cartoon series, said it showed “a lack of awareness.”

“Launch a mixed race character [with a] The white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and the experience of black Americans, “she added.

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