American comedian and actor Hank Azaria has announced that he will no longer voice the animated character of Apu, who is represented in The Simpsons series as a legal Indian migrant to the US, after 30 years of voicing the cartoon character.
“All we know there is I won't be doing the voice anymore, unless there's some way to transition it or something", Azaria told SlashFilm in an interview on Friday. “What they're going to do with the character is their call. It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is, I won’t do the voice anymore".
On The Simpsons, Apu is a legal Indian migrant who runs the Kwik-E-Mart, a popular convenience store in the fictional town of Springfield. The character is well-known for his Indian-inflected English and his catchphrase, "Thank you, come again".
Azaria said that the move to stop voicing Apu was a mutual decision with the show's directors.
“We all made the decision together", Azaria said. “We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and [we feel] good about it", he said, according to SlashFilm.
Azaria’s decision comes almost three years after accusations against the show that the character of Apu was a racist stereotype of South Asians.
The controversy marred the animated series in November 2017, following a video posted online by Indian-American stand-up comic Hari Kondabolu, titled "The Problem With Apu", in which he accused the longest-running prime-time scripted show in US history of driving negative stereotypes about Indians and South Asians.