The actor who voices Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in The Simpsons has responded to a new documentary which criticises the character for re-enforcing Indian stereotypes.
In The Problem with Apu, comedian and filmmaker Hari Kondabolu argues that as a yogi and a corner shop owner with a PhD, Apu subscribes to numerous stereotypes about Indian people.
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Azaria told TMZ that he is aware of The Problem with Apu. “I think the documentary made some really interesting points, and gave us a lot at The Simpsons to think about,” he said. “And we really are thinking about it.
“Definitely anybody who was hurt or offended by it, by any character or vocal performance, it’s really upsetting that that was hurtful to anybody. And I think it’s an important conversation, and one definitely worth having, so thanks for asking.”
Azaria – who also plays Chief Wiggum and Moe Szylak – has voiced Apu since his conception in 1990. The character has long been controversial for perpetuating what some see as racist and offensive stereotypes.
Kondabolu has clarified that he does not wish for Apu to be axed from The Simpsons, but instead wants him to be portrayed in a more progressive light, and be “upwardly mobile”.
To @TheSimpsons Writers: Please do NOT remove Apu from The Simpsons. Killing him is lazy writing & an insult to the show’s legacy. Let him be upwardly mobile & own multiple Qwik E Marts. Let his kids talk. Plots have been repeating for years & tweaks provide tons of new stories.
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) December 4, 2017