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White actors will no longer play non-white characters on The Simpsons

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In light of ongoing cultural conversations surrounding representation and race, The Simpsons have finally announced that they will no longer cast white actors in non-white roles. For years, the show gained controversy surrounding the popular character Apu, the Indian Kwik-E-Mart owner long voiced by white American actor Hank Azaria.

“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” the producers announced on Friday.

simpsons

Photo: Fox

In a long overdue move, The Simpsons have finally decided that casting white actors to voice non-white roles is extremely problematic.

Earlier this year, Azaria announced his departure from the show following increasing controversy.

“What they’re going to do with the character is their call,” Azaria explained to press. “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.… We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”

Following a 2017 documentary addressing the show’s problematic depictions of South Asian characters, the producers attempted to rectify their waning reputation in a fourth wall break between Marge and Lisa. Turning to face the audience, Lisa asks: “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”

Many found the response to be even more inflammatory, causing show runner Al Jean to later tweet: “I truly appreciate all responses pro and con. Will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right.”

The news follows an increasing number of animated shows revising their casting, and depictions of people of colour. In the last few weeks, Jenny Slate (Big Mouth), Kristen Bell (Central Park), and Mike Henry (Family Guy) have all announced their retirement from voicing characters of colour in their respective shows.

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June 27, 2020