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Hank Azaria Willing To Stop Racist Stereotype If The Simpsons Wants Him To

Written by Tim Midura on Thursday, April 26 2018 and posted in News with Benefits

Hank Azaria Willing To Stop Racist Stereotype If The Simpsons Wants Him To

But only if they want him to.

Source: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

For the last 29 years Hank Azaria has been the voice of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on The Simpsons. As with most social injustices, no one really cared until a documentary was made, allowing armchair activists to post their support on social media. The character was recently the focus of a truTV documentary by Hari Kondabolu called The Problem with Apu. In the doc, Kondabolu discussed the problems of the character's stereotypical portrayal and how it influenced society's treatment of Indian-Americans.

Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Azaria responded to the criticism of the character, stating he was willing to stop voicing him, if that's what The Simpson wants him to do.

"I'm perfectly willing and happy to step aside, or help transition [the character] into something new. I really hope that's what The Simpsons does. Not only does it make sense it feels like the right thing to do."

The Simpsons as a show recently addressed the criticism, with a segment that featured Marge reading Lisa a fairy tale she edited that turns into the two of them talking directly to the audience. Lisa talks about shifting perspectives of art saying, "It's hard to say. Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" The camera then pans to a photo of Apu which has "Don't have a cow, man!" written on it. Marge then says, "Some things will be addressed at a later date," to which Lisa adds, "if at all." Which completely dismisses the criticism.

Azaria disagreed with the show's handling of the situation, telling Colbert that he wants the producers to get more diversity in the writer's room.

"That's not the way I feel about it, that's not the message I want to send. As you know in television terms, 'listening to voices' means inclusion in the writers' room. I really want to see Indian and South Asian, writers in the writers' room, not in a token way, genuinely informing whatever new direction this character may take. Including how it is voiced or not voiced."

The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8pm on Fox.


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About the Author - Tim Midura

Born in the frozen tundra of Massachusetts, Tim Midura has long possessed a love for comic books and records. After stealing the beard of Zeus and inventing the pizza bagel, a much more heavily tattooed and bearded Tim Midura has finally settled in San Diego. He's the world's first comics journalist who doesn't want to become a comics writer. Find him on twitter, facebook or by email.

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