Hank Azaria, the voice actor who voiced Apu on «The Simpsons,» will retire from the series after working more than 30 years in the role and winning several Emmy Awards that did not rid him of the controversy aroused by stereotypes about immigrants associated with the character . Azaria confirmed his decision on Friday following a conference with television critics, although since last year his role in the series was surrounded by controversy over the broadcast of the documentary «The Problem With Apu» that pointed out how a man White gave voice to an Asian character, reflected poor, with a marked accent and with a job in a convenience store.
Hank Azaria, the voice actor who voiced Apu in «The Simpsons» Photo: AFP
What they’re going to do with the character is their business, it’s up to them, they haven’t figured it out yet. All we agreed is that I’m not going to do the voice anymore. We’ve made the decision together, we all feel it was the right thing to do about it,» the voice actor explained.
Azaria added that he will never do Apu’s voice again «unless there is a time of transition or something like that.» Controversy over Azaria’s work in «The Simpsons» increased in 2008 when the documentary analyzed the stereotypes that South Asian characters repeat in film and television, with special impact on this role in the influential cartoon series. The controversy increased over the fact that a white person gave voice to Apu from his first appearance in a February 1990 chapter.
It has opened my eyes, I think the most important thing is that we have to listen to the people of South Asia, people from India who live in this country when they talk about what they feel, how they think about this character and what their experience in the US is» , admitted the actor in 2018 during an interview on a nightly television show.