Actor Hank Azaria announced Friday he will no longer voice “The Simpsons” character Apu, three years after a documentary argued the portrayal of the Indian shopkeeper perpetuates negative stereotypes, multiple news outlets reported.
Azaria, who is white, has voiced Apu Nahasapeemapetilon since the character’s 1990 debut, BBC News reported.
According to The Washington Post, Brooklyn comedian Hari Kondabolu released his documentary, “The Problem with Apu, in 2017. In it, Kondabolu argued Apu’s thick accent, profession, arranged marriage and large family all reinforce negative stereotypes.
“You start to feel embarrassed to be an Indian,” the filmmaker told The Post, adding, “Because there’s only one representation.”
It was not immediately clear if another actor will be cast to voice the character or if Apu will be dropped from the cartoon’s lineup, BBC News reported.
Azaria – who also voices Moe Szyslak and Chief Wiggum, among others, for the show – told entertainment website SlashFilm that stepping away from the character was really the only logical source.
“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something,” Azaria told SlashFilm, BBC News reported. “We all made the decision together... We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
Azaria is an Emmy award winner for his voice work on “The Simpsons,” The Post reported.