Crónica TV, an Argentine TV channel, aired the image of Apu, a goofy Indian convenience store owner from The Simpsons, accompanied by the headline "Apu arrives" to announce the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the G20 summit.
The photo, which was shared by Bloomberg's Buenos Aires-based Patrick Gillespie on Twitter, has triggered a handful of divided reactions.
It appears that Crónica TV has cultivated a dubious reputation in Argentina, with some Twitterati calling the channel "a joke" and a "fascist media network."
This Channel is a joke even here in Argentina, we truly apologize for this discriminatory joke and you people from India are totally welcome if you want to laugh at our president, even if he is a joke himself. pic.twitter.com/Ylb5KJyHie— f e d e (@fede_arroyo) 30 ноября 2018 г.
Every day of our lives we have to deal with this kind of media. Our apologizes to the India Prime Minister 😔— Claudia T🌸 (@clautettamanzi) 30 ноября 2018 г.
However, others have leapt to the channel's defence, saying that such jokes are part of its policy.
this channel always makes jokes of this kind, with everyone, from President Macri, to an ordinary person or people of other countries. It's just black humor.— Ro 🇦🇷 (@SpiderrParker) 30 ноября 2018 г.
In Argentina they’re known because of their headlines, they do it on purpose. They’re not the serious channel type, they do jokes all the time— Bian💚 (@esposxsims) 30 ноября 2018 г.
A number of Argentinians insisted that racism is not a problem in their country.
In Argentina we do not have racial problems, that's why we can make that kind of jokes.— Satoshi (@AnibalSatoshi) 30 ноября 2018 г.
Well, we don't build great walls or kick out immigrants nor refugees so we're not that bad I suppose.— Barbarrat 💜💚 (@BarbaraAnillo) 30 ноября 2018 г.
Nevertheless, the careless joke prompted threats to retaliate.
lol. argentines can crack a joke. Good for them. When argentine president comes to India, we will same maradona arrived, even if she is a woman.— patrick nag 🇮🇳 (@nag_patrick) 30 ноября 2018 г.
An unexpected wave of criticism targeted The Simpsons creators last fall over Apu, a cartoon Indian shopkeeper who has a thick accent. Hari Kondabolu, a New York-born comedian whose parents had immigrated to the US from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, released a documentary titled The Problem With Apu. He slammed the character for being an offensive stereotype of Indian-Americans.
The creators responded to the ridicule in the 636th episode, putting their words in Lisa Simpson's mouth. "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?"