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The Simpsons need to change Apu's out-of-date character, says his actor Hank Azaria
By: Barfi Culture Team
Published: 25th April 2018

Hank Azaria, the man who does the voice for Apu in The Simpsons, made a startling admission on TV last night: the character's time was up. He needed to change.

It was made on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert after months of renewed controversy around Apu's character.

Azaria also said he was "willing to step aside" and let the character develop in a different direction.

The debate was sparked by comedian Hari Kondabolu's recent documentary The Problem With Apu - on the negative impact he had on South Asians in America.

The documentary featured Aziz Ansari, Kal Penn, Sakina Jaffrey, and Whoopi Goldberg on their experiences growing up with Apu, and their frustrations with how the character is portrayed.

"As I say, my eyes have been opened," Hank Azaria told Colbert last night. "The most important thing is we have to listen to South Asian people, Indian people, in this country when they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character, and what their American experience of it has been."

"And as you know, in television terms, listening to voices means inclusion in the writers' room. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers' room, not in a token way, but genuinely informing whatever new direction this character may take, including how it is voiced or not voiced."

"I'm perfectly willing and happy to step aside or help transition it to something new. I really hope that's what The Simpsons does. It not only makes sense but it feels like the right thing to do."

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In response, Hari Kondabolu tweeted a "thank you" and added: "I appreciate what you said & how you said it."

Others also weighed in


Not everyone agrees. Dr Rohin Francis wrote for Barfi Culture 'In defence of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon', arguing the character was much more rounded than many gave him credit.

Comedian Hari Kondabolu's special for Netflix titled 'Warn Your Relatives' will be out to stream on May 8th.


Article published on 25th April 2018 in the Culture section




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