Hank Azaria officially steps down from voicing Apu on The Simpsons


Hank Azaria has confirmed he will no longer voice Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on 'The Simpsons'.

The 55-year-old actor originally provided the voice for the Kwik-E-Mart proprietor, but in 2017 the show came under fire for making the Indian-American character a racist caricature, who was voiced by a white actor.

And now, Hank - who voices characters including Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, and Carl Carlson - has confirmed he will no longer be voicing Apu, although he's not sure what will happen to the character.

Speaking to Slashfilm, he said: "All we know there is I won't be doing the voice anymore, unless there's some way to transition it or something. We all made the decision together ... We all agreed on it. We all feel like it's the right thing and good about it.

"What they're going to do with the character is their call. It's up to them, and they haven't sorted it out yet. All we've agreed on is I won't do the voice anymore."

Hank couldn't comment on whether or not Apu would be written out of the show or simply be recast with a more suitable voice actor, but creator Matt Groening said in 2018 he was keen to keep Apu in the show.

He said at the time: "I love Apu. I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad. But on the other hand, it's tainted now - the conversation, there's no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky. I love the character. I love the show.

"We're not sure exactly how it's going to play out. Back in the day, I named the character after the 'Apu Trilogy' by Satyajit Ray. I love Indian culture and Indian film and Indian music. I thought that the name was a signal that we had, at least, a scholarly intention. I thought maybe a kid was going to grow up and find out what the name came from and go watch the 'Apu Trilogy', which are the greatest films, basically, in the history of cinema."

Matt, 65, said will not write Apu out of the show to appease critics and if the creative team can come up with suitable and funny stories for him and his family he will continue to be a part of the Springfield ensemble cast.

He added: "If we come up with a good story we'll do it, but some of the stuff the show got taken to task for, we covered in an episode a couple of years ago [in 2016's 'Much Apu About Something'] ... My guess is I agree, politically, with 99 per cent of the things that Hari Kondabolu believes. We just disagree on Apu. I love the character and I would hate for him to go away. I am sorry that 'The Simpsons' would be criticized for having an Indian character that, because of our extraordinary popularity - I expected other people to do it. I go, maybe he's a problem, but who's better? Who's a better Indian animated character in the last 30 years?

"As many people have pointed out, it's all stereotypes on our show. That's the nature of cartooning. And you try not to do reprehensible stereotypes."

The conversation around Apu began in Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary 'The Problem with Apu', which explored whether or not Apu's character had contributed to negative stereotypes of Indian-Americans.