'The Simpsons' Harry Shearer talks about white actors voicing characters of other races

Lawrence Kim
August 5, 2020

In an interview with Times Radio, Shearer said that he didn't agree with the show's decision to recast non-white characters. "The job of the actor is to play someone who they are not", said Shearer via Daily Mail.

The Simpsons actor Harry Shearer, who gives voice to characters ranging from elderly miser Mr. Burns to the unflappable African-American physician Dr. Julius Hibbert, isn't quite in agreement with the long-running show's recent decision to stop using white actors for non-white characters. "That's the gig. That's the job description". When Yahoo Entertainment spoke with Yeardley Smith in March, the longtime voice of Lisa Simpson endorsed Azaria's choice to retire Apu.

"I think there's a conflation between representation, which is important", Shearer suggested he disagreed with the "conflation" between representation and performance.

Shearer added that while he will no longer voice the role of Dr. Hibbert, his career isn't severely impacted by the news.

In January, actor Hank Azaria - who voices convenience store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon - announced he would no longer voice the character, which appears to be of Indian descent.

'We don't get paid by the voice'.

The Simpsons has always been called out for its treatment of characters of color. "It's performing blackface without actually doing the paint", Jirard said, adding: "It speaks a lot to the fact that when these creators create a character of a particular race, their first mindset isn't to try to find someone of that same race to priority the character".

Bumbling Homer Simpson, housewife Marge, troublemaker Bart, prodigy Lisa and baby Maggie have captured the changing face of America for more than 30 years in the longest-running scripted show on USA television.

The show's announcement comes amidst a widespread reckoning for US pop culture about racism following mass protests over the killings of Black Americans by police.

"It's been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years", Henry, 54, wrote on Twitter. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. "Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role".

The 76-year-old actor explains that the move simply doesn't make any sense.

Henry had also voiced the Latina maid named Consuela on the series. Mike Henry, who voiced the Black character Cleveland Brown on the show Family Guy, also stepped away from his role.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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