The producers of The Simpsons have commented on the role of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, saying they would cast someone “ethnically correct” in 2020.
The character has been controversial in recent years because he was voiced by a white actor, Hank Azaria.
In 2017, a documentary called The Problem With Apu shared the thoughts of Indian-Americans, who called out the show for negative stereotyping. The film featured contributions from the likes of Aziz Ansari, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Maulik Pancholy, and Sakina Jaffrey.
Speaking to Radio Times, producer Al Jean said: “If we were casting the character now, we’d cast someone who was ethnically correct to play Apu.
“The way we always wrote him, though, was as a hardworking, thoughtful family man who was smarter than everyone else in Springfield. The majority of the jokes were about Springfield not appreciating what a gem he is. So we’re proud of him.”
While it has been confirmed that Apu will remain a part of the show, Azaria will no longer be voicing him. Last month, the actor shared his reasons for leaving the role, saying: “Once I realized that that was the way this character was thought of, I just didn’t want to participate in it anymore. It just didn’t feel right.
“I didn’t want to knee-jerk drop it if I didn’t feel that was right, nor did I want to stubbornly keep doing it if that wasn’t right. But then I started thinking, if that character were the only representation of Jewish people in American culture for 20 years, which was the case with Apu, I might not love that.”
Meanwhile, the show’s creators have revealed that Paul McCartney still checks Lisa is vegetarian following his and wife Linda’s 1995 appearance on the show. “He always checks,” said show consultant David Mirkin. “And he’s always surrounded by nine or 10 lawyers so it’s quite frightening.”