‘The Simpsons’ Season 31: Hank Azaria says he will not voice Apu anymore, calls it 'the right thing' to do
As the popular animation comedy walks halfway into Season 31, one of its major characters, Apu, will not have Hank Azaria as the voice artist, as the actor bid farewell to his long-running stint on the show.
If you have been an ardent, regular fan of ‘The Simpsons’, you might be in for a little bad news here. Hank Azaria, the actor behind the famous Kwik-E-Mart owner, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon will not be featuring as a part of the voice cast anymore. Azaria declared that he will be parting ways from the three decades long (and still counting) animated comedy. And there might be instances aplenty that could be pegged to this big change.
“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore unless there’s some way to transition it or something,” Azaria told Slashfilm at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on January 16. “We all made the decision together… We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it."
It all started in 2017 (or rather much before), when a comedian and Simpsons fan made a truTV documentary, titled ‘The Problem With Apu’ which explained how Apu’s character on the show was a severe stereotype of South Asians (Indian to be specific). However, the show tried to address the issue later in 2018, but that backfired as social media users slammed them. The showrunner, Al Jean, however, continued his attempt to find the “right solution” to the same.
As reported by BBC, even Azaria had his two cents on the issue. In an interview, he had said that he found the characterization was "very upsetting to me personally and professionally”.
In another interview with EW, he was reported saying, “The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased or worse based on the character of Apu on The Simpsons, or the voice or any other tropes of the character is distressing, especially in post-9/11 America.”
The actor also addressed the topic on an edition of ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’. According to Azaria, Apu is anything but a ‘one dimensional’ character. As he further adds, “I see him as having a lot of wonderful qualities and great assets.”
As it stands today all we know that is Azaria will not be a part of the show anymore and what will happen to Apu’s character or the voiceover is still a question that will probably be answered sooner or later.
Azaria also voices characters like Moe Szyslak and Chief Wiggum on the show.