Hank Azaria will no longer voice Apu on ‘The Simpsons’
It’s been two years since Hari Kondabolu’s documentary The Problem with Apu helped shed light on South Asian stereotypes in popular culture — in particular The Simpsons character Apu, who has been voiced from the beginning by white American actor Hank Azaria (who does many voices on the show). The Simpsons addressed the controversy, in a way many considered flippant, on an episode in 2018, and creator Matt Groening said he’d hate for Apu to go away. While there has been no official statement from Groening or FOX, Slashfilm reports Hank Azaria has confirmed that he will no longer voice the character Apu on The Simpsons.
Azaria broke the news while promoting the upcoming season of his IFC series Brockmire at the ongoing Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles. “All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something,” Azaria said, adding “What they’re going to do with the character is their call. It’s up to [Al Jean and Matt Groening] 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.”
Azaria told Stephen Colbert in 2018 that he’d be “willing to step aside or help transition it into something new”