Tags: Hollywood | hank azaria | simpsons | apu

'Simpsons' Voice Actor Apologizes to 'Every Single Indian Person'

'Simpsons' Voice Actor Apologizes to 'Every Single Indian Person'
Hank Azaria of "Brockmire" speaks during the IFC segment of the 2020 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on Jan. 16, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 April 2021 11:50 AM

Actor Hank Azaria, who loaned his voice to Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in "The Simpsons," has apologized to "every single Indian person" for any hurt he may have caused through his character, which many said was a racist caricature.

Azaria previously voiced the Indian immigrant but was dogged by criticism that the character was a racial stereotype played by a white man. The uproar followed the release of a documentary, "The Problem with Apu," which interviewed other performers of South Asian heritage about the character. In January 2020, Azaria pulled out of voicing Apu and this week explained what prompted him to support the show's decision to release him from playing the character.

"It's not about congratulating me for the response because I'm a big part in creating the problem to begin with," Azaria told Dax Shepard and Monica Padman on "Armchair Expert" Monday. "So nothing takes that away except maybe an amends over time which I am attempting to make."

Azaria also shared instances that made a deep impact on him.

"I was speaking at my son's school, I was talking to the Indian kids there because I wanted to get their input," he said. "A 17-year-old ... he's never even seen 'The Simpsons' but knows what Apu means. It's practically a slur at this point. All he knows is that is how his people are thought of and represented to many people in this country."

The boy became emotional and asked Azaria to share the message that such characters have ramifications.

"I really do apologize. It's important," he said. "I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that. Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize. And sometimes I do."

Azaria has supported the call for him to step down from voicing Apu. In a previous interview, he said he was "perfectly happy and willing to step aside or help transition it into something new" adding: "I really hope that's what 'The Simpsons' does; it not only makes sense, it just feels like the right thing to do to me."

Azaria echoed his sentiments on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" in 2018.

"I’ve given this a lot of thought, and as I say: my eyes have been opened," he said, according to Esquire. "I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers' room ... including how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced. I’m perfectly willing to step aside. It just feels like the right thing to do to me."

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TheWire
Actor Hank Azaria, who loaned his voice to Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in "The Simpsons," has apologized to "every single Indian person" for any hurt he may have caused through his character, which many said was a racist caricature...
hank azaria, simpsons, apu
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2021-50-14
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 11:50 AM
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