'The Simpsons' will no longer use white actors for non-white roles

Lawrence Kim
June 29, 2020

The announcements about the Fox animated series arrive two days after Jenny Slate said she would no longer voice Missy, a biracial character in the Netflix series "Big Mouth", and Kristen Bell said she would no longer voice Molly, a biracial character in the Apple TV Plus series "Central Park".

Back at the beginning of the year, Hank Azaria chose 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. The statement from producers further affirmed Azaria's decision.

Mike Henry, who has been with Family Guy since its beginnings, wrote on Twitter Friday that he'll stop voicing Cleveland Brown on the show. Now The Simpsons will be following suit across the board by no longer having white actors voice any characters of color from here on out.

Mr Azaria said earlier this year that he was stepping down from the role. Neither FOX nor The Simpsons, however, had yet to make a statement.

In a statement, the Fox network said: "Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters".

"On 'The Simpsons", one of the black characters, Carlton Carlson, has always been voiced by actor Hank Azaria.

Several other minor characters of color on "The Simpsons" include Officer Lou and Carl Carlson, both of whom were also voiced by Azaria.

The moves drew mixed reactions from social media users. Tress MacNeille has also voiced Dr. Hibbert's wife Bernice and Apu's wife Manjula, along with the Asian character Cookie Kwan.

The Simpsons will no longer use white actors to dub ethnic minority characters, the producers of the long-running animated series announced Friday.

"My documentary "The Problem with Apu" was not made to get rid of a dated cartoon character, but to discuss race, representation & my community (which I love very much)", Kondabolu wrote. I believe that as white people our humanity is compromised by unconsciously or consciously perpetuating the things we say we are against. 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. "But I went too far in the other direction".

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