Over a year ago, Hank Azaria stepped down from voicing Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the heavily accented Kwik-E-Mart owner on The Simpsons whom he had voiced for 30 years, winning several Emmys for his performance in the process. The decision came after the outcry over his voicing Apu had reached a boiling point in the wake of a documentary called The Problem with Apu, which criticized the character’s outdated stereotypes.
In the aftermath of his exit from the role, during which he also stepped down from voicing other characters of color, Azaria had somewhat side-stepped the criticism surrounding the stereotypes, saying that “it was not my intention.” But the actor has now stepped up to apologize for participating in “structural racism” in voicing the part of Apu.
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Three years ago, Hari Kondabolu released a documentary called The Problem with Apu, which snowballed into a years-long discussion about The Simpsons and the racial stereotypes it may have perpetuated with a mostly white writer’s room and voice cast. Earlier this year, it resulted in Hank Azaria stepping down from voicing Apu to leave room for an actual Indian actor to voice the character.
And what of the other character of color who Azaria voiced, Carl Carlson? Black actor Alex Désert has made his debut as Homer Simpson’s nuclear plant coworker in the season 32 premiere, replacing Azaria after 30-plus years.
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Back at the beginning of the year, Hank Azaria decided to vacate the role of convenience store owner Apu on The Simpsons after the character became embroiled in controversy for not just encouraging stereotypes of Indian characters, but for being voiced by an actor who was white. Now The Simpsons will be following suit across the board by no longer having white actors voice any characters of color from here on out.
The Simpsons isn’t the only FOX animated series making changes with how they cast characters of color. Family Guy voice actor Mike Henry will be walking away from voicing the role of Cleveland Brown, a character he has played since the beginning of the series back in 1999. Read More »
A month after Hank Azaria announced that he was stepping down from voicing Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in The Simpsons, the actor is opening on his reasons for leaving. Azaria had voiced the character of the Springfield convenience store owner (in addition to numerous other characters) for 30 years, even winning three Emmy Awards for his voice acting performance.
But the character has come under fire in recent years for being a broad, outdated South Asian stereotype, with Hari Kondabolu’s documentary The Problem with Apu in particular bringing attention to the character. It was the outcry, and The Simpsons‘ botched attempt to address the issue in the episode “No Good Read Goes Unpunished” that led to Azaria quitting the gig, the actor revealed.
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Posted on Friday, January 17th, 2020 by Fred Topel
/Film has been covering the issue of Apu on The Simpsons since Hank Azaria addressed Hari Kondabolu’s documentary The Problem with Apu two years ago. The issue gained more attention when The Simpsons produced an episode, “No Good Read Goes Unpunished”, that specifically addressed it.
Voice actor Hank Azaria told Stephen Colbert he would be willing to step aside as the voice, but subsequent to that, Al Jean and Matt Groening have preferred not to talk about Apu in interviews with /Film. After a panel for the final season of his IFC series Brockmire, Azaria himself answered /Film’s question about Apu.
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The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, a video essay explores the art of sales by looking at the unconventional methods of Michael Scott from The Office. Plus, the Zack Galifianaikis web series Between Two Ferns returns with two new guests, and The Simpsons voice star Hank Azaria breaks down his career on the big and small screen. Read More »
The problem with Apu has reached a fever pitch ever since The Simpsons decided to clumsily brush off criticisms of the character’s Indian stereotypes. But the voice actor behind Apu, Hank Azaria, has a much more dignified response to the controversy.
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Posted on Saturday, January 13th, 2018 by Fred Topel
Last year, comedian Hari Kondabolu released a documentary called The Problem with Apu, addressing problems the titular character from The Simpsons, a convenience store owner of Indian-American descent. Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, was on a Television Critics Association panel for season two of his IFC series Brockmire when he was asked about the documentary. Azaria was grateful for the chance to respond, but does it mean The Simpsons will make any changes to the character?
Find out what Hank Azaria had to say about The Simpsons Apu problem below. Read More »
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Posted on Monday, January 16th, 2017 by Angie Han
HBO kicked off its winter 2017 programming this past weekend with The Young Pope, but they also took that opportunity to remind you there’s even more great stuff coming up on the horizon. Like The Wizard of Lies, the first-ever HBO project starring Robert De Niro. He plays Bernie Madoff, whom you may remember as that investment advisor who was arrested in 2008 for perpetrating one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history. Michelle Pfeiffer stars as his wife, Ruth Madoff. Watch the Wizard of Lies teaser below. Read More »
Technically, The Simpsons is the longest running scripted TV show of all time. With their 28th season, they have long surpassed the two shows in second place, Law & Order, and Gunsmoke. However, when it comes to the latter program, Gunsmoke is actually still the longest-running scripted TV show by episode count, because even though it lasted just 20 seasons, those seasons in total contained 635 episodes. But The Simpsons will soon blow that record out of the water as well.
Fox has confirmed that The Simpsons has been renewed for a 29th and 30th season, and when all is said and done, that will take their episode count well past Gunsmoke‘s record-holding number. However, with all the trouble Fox had getting all the cast back for the last renewal, can we expect any more issues this time? Find out after the jump. Read More »