- Last January, Hank Azaria announced that he was giving up the role
- The change will also affect the character of Dr. Hibbert
- The decision came after Mike Henry gave up his role in Family Guy
The Simpsons will no longer use white actors to dub characters from ethnic minorities, the producers of the long animated series announced on Friday.
The decision includes a recurring character in the series, launched in 1989 – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, a grocer of Indian descent voiced in the American version of the show by white actor Hank Azaria.
The character has long been considered problematic and conveying racist stereotypes. Last January, Azaria announced that in agreement with the producers, he was abandoning this role.
“In the future, THE SIMPSONS will no longer have the voices of white non-white actors,” Fox Studios said in a statement to AFP.
The change will also affect the character of Dr. Hibbert, a man of color nicknamed by white actor Harry Shearer who also lends his voice to many other characters in the series – from Homer Simpson boss Burns to perverse neighbor Ned Flanders.
The announcement came as Mike Henry, the white actor who voices the character of Cleveland Brown, a man of color, in Family guy, another animated series produced by Fox, announced on Twitter that he was giving up the role.
“It was an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but people of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will resign from this role,” he wrote.
It has been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but people of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will leave my post. pic.twitter.com/FmKasWITKT
– Mike Henry (@mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020
The United States is relying on systemic racism and discrimination sparked by the murder of George Floyd, an African American man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.