Critics may think it’s just another case of political correctness gone mad, but now even actor Hank Azaria has lent his support to those unhappy about his voicing of ‘The Simpsons’ character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
The actor, who voices a number of characters on the long-running cartoon, addressed the controversy during an appearance on ‘The Late Show’ with Stephen Colbert. The show has come under fire in recent weeks after a new documentary, ‘The Problem with Apu’, claimed that the character was a stereotype of Indian immigrants to the US. Azaria now says he is willing to “step aside” if producers wanted to cast an Indian voice actor to take over the character.
“I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it,” Azaria said. He also added that he wanted a more diverse writing staff working on the cartoon. “I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers room…including how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced. I’m perfectly willing to step aside. It just feels like the right thing to do to me.”
Twitter users had a mixed reaction to the news that Azaria is willing to step down as the voice of the beloved Indian convenience store owner, with some decrying and defending the PC culture that gave rise to the controversy.
@HankAzaria you did nothing wrong. People can be angry about your character, but it’s a comedy character. How far back do we have to go to be PC? Comedy can bring attention to issues without being offensive. It’s called satire.
— Matt Cobb (@LostSheep78) April 25, 2018
I’m indian, and cool with Apu. No need to make a big deal out of it. Let’s move on…
— Pavan Mediratta (@PavanMediratta) April 25, 2018
I mean Simpsons is my childhood, the whole point is that it’s ridiculous. Every character in the damn show is a stereotype of an ethnicity or profession. PC culture will destroy everything eventually, just a matter of time.
— E’tou Le Mosogedi (@ETMUK) April 25, 2018
There’s nothing “pc” about being offended. People have revealed that the character offends them and they have the right to be listened to.
— Stefan Livesey (@StefanLivesey) April 25, 2018
Thank you both. Creating a conversation, as Hari did, is so hard. Being willing to give up your privilege, as Hank as said he would be willing to do, is challenging. (Not that they’re the same thing in any way.)
It means a lot to me as an Indian American woman. 🙂
— Aditi Juneja (@AditiJuneja3) April 25, 2018
The maker of the documentary, Hari Kondabolu, also took to the social media platform to register his appreciation to Azaria for addressing the issue.
But what do you think? Is Apu an outdated and racist stereotype of a south Asian convenience store owner? Or are all these bearded lefty snowflakes manufacturing another controversy as a means to signal their virtue to like-minded liberals in their social media echo chambers? Let us know…