Simpsons Actor Hank Azaria Confirms He Will No Longer Perform As Apu

Azaria has performed the role for 30 years, but no longer.

93 Comments

The Simpsons actor Hank Azaria will no longer perform the voice of convenience store owner Apu on the long-running animated show. Azaria has confirmed that he will step down from the role after years of controversy relating to what many view as a stereotypical and racially insensitive portrayal of the character.

As reported by Slashfilm, Azaria stated at a Television Critics Association event that he would no longer perform Apu on The Simpsons. "All we know there is I won't be doing the voice anymore, unless there's someway to transition it or something," he said. "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."

Azaria also stated that this was a joint decision made between himself and the show's writers and producers. The actor has also appeared as many other Simpsons characters over the years, including Moe, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, and Carl Carlson.

Apu has appeared in the Simpsons since the very first season in 1990, but the issue of the racial stereotyping of the Indian-American character was brought to prominence in the 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu, which was directed by comedian Hari Kondabolu.

Azaria himself addressed the controversy the following year at the TCAs. "The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased or worse based on the character of Apu on The Simpsons, the voice or any other tropes of the character is distressing." he said. "[Creating negative stereotypes] certainly wasn't the intent. The intent was to make people laugh and to bring joy. So that it caused any kind of pain or suffering in any way, it's disturbing, actually."

The Simpsons was one of the many shows that hit Disney+ in November last year. But although all 30 seasons to date are on there, there was some controversy over the fact that all the episodes are in 16:9 aspect ratio, meaning that the older seasons are cropped from their original 4:3 ratio. The studio subsequently stated that the first 19 seasons of the show will be made available in their original ratio in 2020.

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Chubby170

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The whole show is based on stereotypes. This guy needs to get over himself.

If the character was of a different origin it would be ok?

Not sure what the big deal is really.

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Risingdawn

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It's no less, or more, offensive than the stereotypical portrayal of the fat American dad, the socially redundant geek, the English toff and cockney, the stay at home mum and on and on.

The entire show is stereotypes. As an Englishman I do not find the british stereotype offensive, I dont find the accent or the costume offensive. Liberals need to go back into education to learn what true liberalism means and stop turning the left into the sad joke it is today.

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punisher1

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I'm guessing this has to do more with the Simpsons airing in Asian markets. Just as Hollywood is getting rid of anything negative about China in movies. So they can go into those markets and make billions. To the extent of undermining the U.S.. They will do the same thing with for other massive audiences like India.

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Dimebag_Darrell

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Edited By Dimebag_Darrell

The voice wasn't great, but it wasn't the biggest problem. It was the portrayal of Eastern people. I've spent a lifetime having people throw the Apu voice at me, but it was the stereotypes that made the past three decades suck. From elementary school to adulthood, the stereotypes behind Apu are what sucked growing up, not the voice. Let him do the voice, just get better writing.

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kingcam07

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I thought about commenting on the absurdity of all of this, but then I realized that The Simpsons hasn't been any good for 20 years so I don't care.

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quinnd6

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That's completely ridiculous. He wasn't offensive in the slightest.

The whiners and lefty nutjobs are winning. We're going back to the stone age. Free speech and jokes will be banned and extinct if these leftist dictators get their way. They don't have any sense of humour and are offended by everything. I won't watch the Simpsons anymore anyway, I liked Apu.

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punisher1

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@quinnd6: They do it too control people using fear, shame, and intimidation.

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BasketballFan

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@quinnd6: I am friends with several convenient store\bodega owners and removal of Apu is actually offensive to them.

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tsunami2311

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this make no sense seriously for 30 years that is how apu talked now all of sudden they take issue? then again who would thought simpsons still be on the air after 30 years. either way it stupid it comedy no one should take anything serious in the simpsons

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punisher1

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@tsunami2311: I'm guessing they probably didn't want to pay him as much anymore and he left before they let him go. I mean they barely use the character much anymore so he couldn't have been getting much per show.

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SS4kronos33

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disney probably forced him to step down as apu

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JIMDOG4442002

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@SS4kronos33: Sounds about right...

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dynamotnt

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@SS4kronos33: Thank you, come again!

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so_hai

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I'd keep him in but give him no lines, if that's what they want.

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JakMar12

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Go watch "The Apu That I Know" on Youtube. One of the finest counter arguments I've ever seen.

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BasketballFan

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@JakMar12: Go talk to actual real life Indian convenient store owners. Ask them what they think. The ones I know are offended at this. That stupid youtube video is for total nutjobs.

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Proxima1025

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So they are cutting a minority character?

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punisher1

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@proxima1025: Liberal logic. I mean they did the same thing to speedy gonzales from looney toons. Never meant any latino that hated the character. Just weird white people thinking they are the white knights to all minorities. Saving the day by getting rid of things nobody ever ask to be gotten rid of.

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Rolento25

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The "i'm a offended" people need to go play in a high traffic area.

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waltdawg443

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Ugh, so much stupid. The Simpsons is all about stereotypes, and it's a huge part of what has made the show as funny and successful as it is. If Apu is out, then we must also get rid of Groundskeeper Willy, Fat Tony and his henchmen, Luigi, Mr Burns, Principal Skinner and the rest of the teachers, Chief Wiggum, the Flanders family, Moe, Disco Stu, Professor Frink, and all the rest of the "offensive" stereotypical characters. Then we can all watch as the show dies a very rapid and pathetic death. It's a better world tho as far as one person with their panties in a bunch is concerned tho, right? Totally worth it?

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dynamotnt

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@waltdawg443: didn't you see a while ago. where it said The Simpsons isn't going anywhere soon articles, which basically means it's fucked by the end of the year but disney will somehow not have any influence in it's closure, like netflix marvel shows.

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lion2447

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"The Simpsons actor Hank Azaria will no longer perform the voice of convenience store owner Apu on the long-running animated show."

In other words, Apu is gone from any new episodes. They won't replace the voice, the show will just not use Apu in any scenes anymore.

It's sad to see him go as Apu is a deep character. He is not a one-note character like many on the show. The show even pays him a lot of respect. Lately, people who complain simply see the accent and immediately call Apu a racist character without paying attention to all the good aspects the character portrays.

The idea of Social Justice is not enherently bad, but as of right now it's tipped into the territory of going beyond its objective. SJW's are now attacking anything that even has the semblance of being offensive.

For anyone who has seen Futurama, we are headed to becoming citizens of the Neutral Planet.

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thomaswmak

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@lion2447: Just find someone else that can voice Abu, not that hard to do. Said person will be paid at a cheaper price than Hank Azaria too!

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EdwardNygma

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Liberals literally ruin everything. I am so SICK of this PC/SJW garbage! Take a stand and tell them to shut up. Luckily more and more people are feeling this way every day and fighting back.

PATHETIC.

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BasketballFan

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@edwardnygma: Disney is the one that needs to be taken down. They are driving this sh*t in movies.

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EdwardNygma

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@basketballfan: Agreed

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alex33x

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Wow! Mark this as a win for the SJW's. I weep for the direction our society is going in America. Thanks for ruining yet something great, because of this PC nonsense.

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dynamotnt

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@alex33x: watch ricky gervais golden globes on youtube, you'll feel better lol.

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lostn

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he was just following the director and script. he shouldn't be the one to fall on his sword.

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Heqteur

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What's next? Homer is offensive to fat people? Mr. Burn is offensive to billionaires? Skinner is offensive to real life principal or retired soldiers? Nelson is offensive to Bullies? Lisa is offensive to intellectuals? Maggie is offensive to babies? Might as well just stop making tv series and movies because all characters are offensive to their stereotypical identity while we're at it.

12 • 
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thomaswmak

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@heqteur: any normal person is a stereotype. You have to be abnormal to not be a stereotype.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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@heqteur: seems like the problem is how white person is playing that indian.

but then theres a woman playing bart. and white guys playing black people. at least they should be on the chopping block. if we only allow people to act the same race-nationality-gender-age-sosioeconomical characters as they themselves are

but then its a sad world if kids can only view empowered super characters. not to mention even then there can be bullying when kids play as darth vader and luke skywalker and theres always power dynamic

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Conner_Macleod

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I never saw Apu as a racist nor a stereotypical character. If anything, the writers showed him great respect, e.g.the episode in the early seasons which focused on his religion, it was nothing but informative and dignified, even touching.

Accents aren't inherently racist, they're simply a limitation of vocal cords and certain inflections, it's scientific, not an ethnic bias.

The minorities who've unfortunately been the victims of racial profiling were attacked by evil racists, not because of an animated show. Racism exists because of ignorance and evil, independent of entertainment mediums. Racism existed long before the Simpsons and will continue to exist after it. The Simpsons was never a symptom of racism, simply an unfortunate casualty in the war of reality vs. perception. As is often the case, perception dictates reality, the arrogant leading the blind and nobody in charge has the moral fortitude to question the perception perpetuated by the misguided and self-serving Social Justice Warriors.

Btw, as others have pointed out, this really isn't a right vs. left issue, it's arrogant opportunists who see social causes as a powerful tool to further their own agenda, i.e. themselves. Narcissism, in a nutshell, under the guise of progress.

14 • 
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DrPWNenstein

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@Conner_Macleod: logged in for the first time in years just to up vote this. we need more people thinking/speaking like this!

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Conner_Macleod

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@drpwnenstein: Thank you. I'd also like to point out that Hank Azaria is a Greek Spaniard Jew-American, so him being a minority himself really invalidates the argument that he can't represent another oppressed minority, if anything it makes him uniquely qualified to do the character justice. Just another example of how ironic the ignorance is that's perpetuated by these misguided or disingenuous SJW.

3 • 
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lionheartssj1

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Bart is voiced by a grown woman, so they should probably get a real little boy to voice him.

11 • 
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locke90

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apu was one of my favourite characters on the simpsons and the only reason he shouldve been retired shouldve been the death of hank azaria and not just because someone got offended by the character.

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Jinzo_111887

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Edited By Jinzo_111887

If they get rid of Apu because he is offensive to Indian-Americans, they should get rid of Mr. Smithers to avoid the possibility of him becoming offensive to the LGBT community and get rid of Mr. Burns as he might be seen as offensive to the elderly with his evil twist on the "Get off my lawn!" routine.

7 • 
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JRD1912

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I think its insensitive every white person on the show is in yellow face! Its racist to Asians across the world!

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locke90

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@JRD1912: The Actual Reason So Many Popular Cartoon Characters Are Yellow. When Matt Groening was creating The Simpsons, he wanted the family to stand out, so he decided to make the characters a weird color. ... With the RGB scale, yellow and blue are complementary colors.

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Wraith3

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There's not one person who hasn't met an Indian person with that accent. I don't know when portraying an accent became racist. When you start doing that AND making fun of the race or insulting the race, that's is racist. Everyone is so messed up in the head that they can't even tell the difference any more. We're going to approach a time where no one responds to someone being called racist because the word won't have any impact.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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@Wraith3: it already happens. on so many boards i see the word being thrown for so nonsensical reasons i wont stop to even think whether it is or not racist

but in online world that has happened to so many words. real undivisive "timeout" words dont exist. even word murderer has lost much impact when meateaters, people living where forest used to be etc get called the thing all the time

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naryanrobinson

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Edited By naryanrobinson

You can have comedy, just not the humour.

You can have diversity, just not the differences.

Well done, Hari Kondabolu, great job curing the white man of resentment towards Indian-Americans.

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zodiacsword

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@naryanrobinson: This comment cannot be upvoted enough.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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Edited By bbq_R0ADK1LL

I think there's definitely a danger that media moves in the direction of being scared to portray anyone negatively... except white men, of course.

What would be a great direction is to actually hire a South Asian actor to voice Apu. Allow him to make fun of himself and Indian-Americans while being in on the joke. What would be tragic is to carry on portraying Homer, Flanders, Wiggum & every other 'caucasian' man on the show with comedy & then treat every woman or minority like perfect angels. That would kill the very essence of everything good about the show & how they've been able to poke fun at society over the years.

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EdwardNygma

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@bbq_R0ADK1LL: What you described is already happening in a lot of tv shows, commercials, movies, etc. They attack white people (especially men) constantly but every other group is exempted.

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Proxima1025

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@edwardnygma: Simply put, diversity is no Caucasian full stop (or period! as my friends across the pond are fond of saying). These nutters go on about 'diversity' and 'inclusion' but then proceed to pigeon hole people according to immutable characteristics.

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dynamotnt

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@proxima1025: just call em cultists, or constantly spam X at them to skip their dialogue, don't be so serious, they're a joke. occasionally a smart one pops up (occasionally) and just borg hive mind virtue signals all over you. just laugh at it.

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