After 30 years as a controversial Indian-American character on “The Simpsons,” Hank Azaria has announced he will no longer voice the thickly accented Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something,” Azaria said, according to /Film, an industry news blog that reported Friday it had asked the actor about the matter.
“What they’re going to do with the character is their call,” Azaria said, according to /Film.
“It’s up to them, and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore.”
The decision to remove Azaria from voicing Apu was mutual, the actor said, according to /Film.
“We all agreed on it,” he said. “We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
The comedian Hari Kondabolu — whose 2017 documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” thrust controversy over the character into the mainstream — wrote Friday on Twitter that he hopes “The Simpsons” keeps Apu and lets “a very talented writing staff do something interesting with him.”
“My documentary ‘The Problem with Apu’ was not made to get rid of a dated cartoon character, but to discuss race, representation & my community (which I love very much),” Kondabolu wrote. “It was also about how you can love something (like the Simpsons) & still be critical about aspects of it (Apu).”
Fox, which airs the show, says “The Simpsons” has no comment.
Hank Azaria’s grandparents from both his mother and father’s side are from Thessaloniki, Greece, and are part of the small Spanish/Jewish community that was established there after the 1492 exile from Spain.
Sourced via CNN.