Simpsons actor 'willing to step aside' from Apu role

Hank Azaria says he’s “keen to step apart” from his position voicing Simpsons character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

It follows a documentary made by Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu that argued the Indian character relies on racial stereotypes.

Talking on The Late Present with Stephen Colbert, the actor stated his “eyes have been opened” by the talk and that he by no means supposed to trigger offence.

He additionally distanced himself from the show’s controversial response.

Shopkeeper Apu has been a part of the long-running animation collection since 1990, with Azaria adopting an Indian accent to voice him.

The character is one in every of a number of voiced on The Simpsons by Azaria – he’s additionally the voice of Chief Wiggum, Comedian Ebook Man and bartender Moe Szyslak.

There was a concentrate on the portrayal of Apu since Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary The Downside with Apu.

The director advised the BBC last year that the character was problematic as a result of he’s outlined by his job and what number of youngsters he has in his organized marriage.

He added Apu was one of many solely representations of South Asians on US tv when he was rising up and that different youngsters imitated the character to mock him.

Azaria advised Colbert: “The concept anybody younger or previous, previous or current, being bullied primarily based on Apu actually makes me unhappy.

“It actually was not my intention. I wished to deliver pleasure and laughter to individuals.”

When requested about the way forward for the character, Azaria stated he was open to alter and referred to as for the South Asian group to be higher represented within the business.

“I’ve given this lots of thought, and as I say my eyes have been opened,” he stated. “I believe a very powerful factor is to hearken to Indian individuals and their expertise with it.

“I actually wish to see Indian, South Asian writers within the writers room… together with how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced.

“I am completely keen and comfortable to step apart, or assist transition it into one thing new.

“It not solely is sensible, it simply seems like the correct factor to do to me.”

Following the interview, Mr Kondabolu took to Twitter to thank Azaria for his phrases.

The Simpsons’ try to handle the controversy in a latest episode sparked a combined reception.

In No Good Learn Goes Unpunished, Marge is seen studying a e book to daughter Lisa that has been modified from its authentic model to one thing extra politically right.

“One thing that began a long time in the past and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What are you able to do?,” says Lisa.

The present then panned to an image of Apu, with the slogan “haven’t got a cow”.

In an announcement to ABC Information, 20th Century Fox, the community that airs the present, stated merely, “The episode speaks for itself.”

The makers haven’t publicly commented additional, however one author, Al Jean, has vowed to “discover a solution that’s fashionable and, extra necessary, proper”.

Discussing the episode for the primary time, Azaria advised Colbert he had “nothing to do with the writing or the voicing [in that episode]”.

“I believe if anybody got here away from that section considering they should loosen up…that is undoubtedly not the message that I wish to ship.”

Observe us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. In case you have a narrative suggestion e mail leisure.information@bbc.co.uk.

Printed at Wed, 25 Apr 2018 13:29:36 +0000