“Moving forward, the Simpsons will no longer have white actors who aren’t afraid of white characters,” Fox spokesman Les Eisner said Friday.
During the three decades since the animated sitcom began, White actors have played a number of non-white characters, including Harry Shearer as Dr. Julius Hibbert and Hank Azaria as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
In January, Azaria announced that she would stop voting for Apu after 30 years of playing a thickly accented Indian-American character. Azaria is not South Asian.
The decision to remove Azaria due to the expression of Apu was mutual, the actor said, reports / Film. “We all agreed on that,” he said. “We all feel like it’s the right thing to do and the good thing about it.”
“My documentary‘ The Problem with Apu ’was not made to get rid of an old cartoon character, but to discuss race, representation and my community (which I love very much),” Kondabolu wrote. “It was also about how you can love something (like Simpson) and still be critical of aspects of it (Apu).”
In his paper, Kondabolu interviewed celebrities of South Asian descent, including Aziz Ansari and Kal Penn, to discuss how characterizations like Apu could be understood as racism.
In the episode, young Lisa Simpson said, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and offensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” Lisa then looked at the framed photo of Apu inscribed with the message, “Don’t have a cow.”
“The idea that anyone – young or old, past or present – has been bullied or teased based on the character of Apua, simply makes me sad,” said Azaria, who also expresses other characters in the show.
“It certainly wasn’t my intention,” he said. “I wanted to spread laughter and joy with this character, and the idea that he brought pain and suffering in any way, that it was used to marginalize people, is disturbing.”
CNN’s Frank Pallotta, Brian Lowry and Leah Asmelash contributed to this article.