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

Harry Shearer has provided the voice for The Simpsons' family doctor Julius Hibbert

Harry Shearer has provided the voice for The Simpsons' family doctor Julius Hibbert

Apu was played by a white actor, Hank Azaria, until he stepped away from the role in February.

Back at the beginning of the year, Hank Azaria made a decision to vacate the role of convenience store owner Apu on The Simpsons after the character became embroiled in controversy for not just encouraging stereotypes of Indian characters, but for being voiced by an actor who was white.

In a statement on Twitter, the actor said: 'It's been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. "Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role", Henry said.

I haven't watched "The Simpsons" in years and have only seen a handful of episodes of "The Family Guy", so don't have a strong opinion on most of the characters in question.

The announcement from the producers of "The Simpsons" followed shortly after Henry's statement.

'The Simpsons' to Recast Characters of Color, 'Family Guy' Actor Stops Voicing Black Role
On ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy,’ white actors step away from non-white roles, including Cleveland, Apu and Carl

The Simpsons broadcaster Fox released a statement saying: "Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters".

"Re: The Simpsons using People of Color to voice minority characters", Kondabolu tweeted Friday. There's a sizable cast of main characters who recur from season to season, but many of Springfield's residents appear sporadically enough that longer-running repeat offenders could be something the show addresses case-by-case.

The moves drew mixed reactions from social media users. Azaria also voices Bumblebee Man, who is Hispanic; and Springfield cop Carl Carlson, who is Black. Tress MacNeille has also voiced Dr. Hibbert's wife Bernice and Apu's wife Manjula, along with the Asian character Cookie Kwan.

An actor on the animated show Family Guy also announced on Friday that he was stepping down from voicing a black character.

Casting shake up coming to The Simpsons as the producers announce non-white characters will no longer play characters of colour. "We all feel like it's the right thing", he said at the time. Racism impacts our ability to be truly empathetic to what is happening to all People of Color, especially Black people, because racism keeps us from seeing ourselves in them. "I hope that I can actively and meaningfully contribute to ending this and other kinds of systemic oppression, and in a way that lessens this burden for People of Color, who for far too long have been tasked with dismantling it themselves".

Latest News