The Simpsons Creator Responds Again To Apu Controversy

"There is the 'outrage of the week' and it comes and goes."

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The Simpsons creator Matt Groening caught some flak when he responded to the controversy surrounding the character Apu by saying "people love to pretend they're offended." Now, Groening has spoken up to clarify those comments and share more of his thoughts on the Apu situation and what's going to happen in the future with him.

Speaking to The New York Times, Groening started off by saying his "offended" comment "wasn't specifically about Apu." Instead, he said it was about how he feels people today have an "outrage of the week" and then move on to being upset about something else.

"That's something I've noticed for the last 25 years. There is the outrage of the week and it comes and goes," he said. "For a while, it was, believe it or not, kids were stealing quarters out of their mothers' purses in order to go to the video arcade, and that was going to bring down civilization. No one even remembers that, because that lasted a week. I think particularly right now, people feel so aggrieved and crazed and powerless that they're picking the wrong battles."

Also in the interview, Groening said he loves the character Apu and explained that it upsets him that some people feel bad about the character in light of the recent controversy that he's a stereotype. Having a proper conversation and dialogue about the character now may not be possible, Groening claimed. "It's tainted now--the conversation, there's no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky. I love the character. I love the show."

Apu voice actor Hank Azaria has said he's willing to step down from voicing him in light of the blowback. Groening said in the interview that it hasn't been decided yet what will happen with Apu, saying the writers might do another episode with him "if we come up with a good story."

Groening also clarified that he named Apu after Satyajit Ray's "Apu Trilogy" of movies, adding that he had a "scholarly intention" when naming him.

"I love Indian culture and Indian film and Indian music," he said. "I thought that the name was a signal that we had, at least, a scholarly intention. I thought maybe a kid was going to grow up and find out what the name came from and go watch the Apu Trilogy, which are the greatest films, basically, in the history of cinema."

Also in the interview, Groening said he can't think of a better Indian animated character in the last 30 years, though he acknowledged that Apu may be "a problem."

"As many people have pointed out, it's all stereotypes on our show. That's the nature of cartooning. And you try not to do reprehensible stereotypes. Anyway. I probably said too much," Groening said.

The April 8 episode of The Simpsons responded to the Apu controversy and went on to muster up even more drama. In this episode, Marge says, "Some things will be addressed at a later date," with Lisa chiming in to add, "If at all."

A lot of the debate around The Simpsons and Apu specifically has come from Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary, The Problem With Apu. The movie explores Apu as a character and focuses on him as a stereotype. In the New York Times article, Groening said he agrees, politically speaking, with 99 percent of the things that Kondabolu believes, except maybe that's not true.

The Simpsons recently passed 636 episodes, which beats Gunsmoke (635 episodes) to become the longest-running scripted TV series ever. The Simpsons is renewed for Season 30, and Groening said in a previous interview that there is "no end in sight" for the show.

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Richardthe3rd

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Edited By Richardthe3rd

A controversy because children made fun of the Indian kid on a playground using Apu's accent, and that kid grew up and used the internet a couple times as a catharsis.

This isnt even about the character, who is probably one of the more upstanding and respectable characters in fictional Springfield.

It's because playground racism drafted one of his traits into their collective, immature offense. And if it wouldn't have been Apu, it wouldve been something else.

In that way, the character of Apu is actually the one suffering collateral damage here.

TLDR: Apu isnt the problem, and treating him like he is just makes him another victim. Attack the problem.

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Blk_Mage_Ctype

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Edited By Blk_Mage_Ctype

This is what happens when you get an entire generation of cowards who lack the courage to stand up against serious instances of injustice within society by actually putting themselves out their in the face of danger, yet still want to feel like they're making a difference.

Enter the Keyboard Crusaders, the Social Justice Warriors. Whenever there is a completely safe non-issue that needs nitpicking, they'll be there! Whenever an otherwise good-natured person gets drunk and does something mildly offensive in a moment of inebriated frustration, they'll be there! Are you unemployed, cowardly, unfulfilled, and think that hypocrisy is the name of a Greek Philosopher? Join up today! Society needs YOU to be its champion, especially those poor, frail, submissive females who are totally strong enough to stand up for themselves, but need YOU to stand up for them because, uh...well...y-you see...the thing is... *Ahem* Well, if you disagree or need silly things like convincing arguments, then clearly you are a bigot anyway and this movement is not for you! As for the rest of you who lack the need for a tangible reason to join and just need an activity to fill your otherwise lonely free time, join the Social Justice Warriors and make a difference which will surely impact society in a positive manner, because as we all know, talking solves everything, especially when done through Tweets!

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James_xeno

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Edited By James_xeno

@Blk_Mage_Ctype:

Oh but remember, every "injustice", "microaggression" and disagreeing opinion (wrong think) is equally as bad/intolerable and needs to be "called out" and crushed immediately. Every tone violation a form of violence , every "misgendering" (correct sexing) a lynching, every stated contrary opinion is hate speech, an incitement to "violence" with it's speaker (either with me or against all that is good and also) a "___ist/___phobic" fascist, and society generally guilty of a literal crime on the level of the holocaust, with anything they don't like or agree with about it.. Yet they openly wonder why so few people listens to them when they whine and cry wolf now.. or why everything is becoming so bitter and divided. *rollseyes*

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Yomigaeru

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@Blk_Mage_Ctype: I secretly like to ogle scantily clad females with comically large breasts in Japanese animation, but I don't want people to think I'm a weirdo. Will joining up divert attention from my questionable Google search history?

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PStrife

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Apu was created in a different time. in a different era of American television altogether. To be so easily offended by his existence is hilarious, the context of it all being just outright ignored just seems so precious. He is part of a time capsule, just as all these characters are, the show still going on in a different time period and crossing through different eras is the real problem.

Your gonna get into problems with a late 80s show in 2018. Things change drastically in 30 years. It is like millenials and their precious Friends episodes problems, the lack of context being acknowledged with these many many princesses is hilarious. They don't even acknowledge their ignorance of context.

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Nabinator

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Offence is a choice

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Elranzer

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30 seasons and only the first 7 were funny.

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MadCat221

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Edited By MadCat221

I propose an amendment of terminology. Do not use the phrase 'Social Justice Warriors'. Instead, use 'Social "Justice" Thugs'.

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thomaswmak

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@MadCat221: How about Social Justice Sheep?

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thomaswmak

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I'm offended that the Saiyan race is not represented. The Simpsons need to add a Saiyan character in it!

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blazingsonic

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Edited By blazingsonic

@thomaswmak: Thanks for the laugh. XD Imagined Vegeta saying that.

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James_xeno

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People are still whining about this non-issue?! ugh

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Sevenizz

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Meanwhile, Homer is a stereotype that actually is offensive to older white males - but that’s ok, I suppose.

Liberalism is cancer.

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tinyjotun

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@Sevenizz: but how can Homer's stereotype be offensive if it's true? :D

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Sevenizz

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@tinyjotun: Irrelevant. You realize Homer, like Apu, are fictional characters, right?

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monkyby87

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The funny part is Apu is probably the most respectful, responsible, and best character morally on that show. So really, people are offended because he exists, not because he somehow shames Indians.

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urbanman2004

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Fvck the critics, and plus if you're not Indian I don't see how any of it applies to someone who claims to be offended

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Jaxith

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If someone is offended, I don't think anyone has the right to tell them they shouldn't be offended. At the same time, if someone isn't offended, I think it's just as wrong to shame them for it. There's not really a clean and easy answer for these things. In the end, everyone just has to do the best they can, and hope that as a group whole we end up pushing things in a mostly positive direction.

Personally, Apu doesn't bother me. He never has. I kind of feel like changing him would be more offensive than he currently is.

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lionheartssj1

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Edited By lionheartssj1

He's spot on with the outrage of the week comment. Rabble rousing is an industry now. Get people worked up in a frenzy and you've got more eyes on you network/TV show/magazine/website/etc. Then you can write books about it...sell more content...blah blah blah, stir a new pot and repeat. There's a lot of really 'offended' personalities getting rich right now. Unfortunately, social network sites make it very easy to incite a mob, for better and for worse.

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GlaciusXL

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Edited By GlaciusXL

Do you remember the episode where Marge had a problem with the violence in Itchy and Scratchy, and after a big uproar they made an episode where they're just sitting in rocking chairs sharing lemonade? That's where we're trying to get to Mr. Groening. I want to see more of that. No stereotypes, no foul language, no religious jokes, no violence, no nothing. Just happy little things sitting, happily and un-offensively. Love Love Love, Share Share Share! But then again... we have to consider that not all people prefer sitting. Some stand, walk, lay down. Sitting might imply laziness or promote poor posture. And there's also the consideration that some people can't drink lemonade. Or have trouble drinking. Also those without use of their legs may feel that you're mocking them by trying to show how boring and unfulfilling life is if all you do is sit. Offense is taken not given. Absolutely anything can be offensive if you make it. One man's Apu is anothers Groundskeeper Willie. Woah, not that it's just about MEN... eaaassy there. I just figured anyone who's on a GAMING SITE has to be a Comicbook Guy or those male virgin computer nerds that appear in various episodes. It's a stereotype that has molded my perception of gamers. Blame Groening for this worst comment EVER!

(In all seriousness, try to enjoy life a bit. This is a GAMING site and all of these topics are about ENTERTAINMENT and FUN. Let's not TRY so hard to fight that. Relax a little. Build that sense of humor. Toughen the skin a bit. It'll be fine. Maybe even create your own things. Even if you still have things that make you mad, creation will drain all of your time, leaving so very little time to complain. Hope everyone has a good day.) "Zepplin Ruuuulllles!!!"

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hughesyboozy

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Thank you, come again.

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rtehrani

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Homer's a bafoon play on the average idiot dad and people are offended by Apu. It's a joke, people. Keep telling it and don't back down. Other's lack of a sense of humor is their own problem not everyone else's. I've always said that the key to eternal happiness is self-amusement. If you can always make urself laugh ull always be happy. Seems some people prefer to live in the dark. Oh well.

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streamline

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@rtehrani: I was thinking the same thing at first, but the difference between the two is that there is not much diversity of Indian characters. I think they should keep the character, but I’m writing to explain the difference.

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gessekai

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I don't know why they had someone who wasn't Indian voice him. That's the most offensive thing. Getting someone to portray a different race in a stereotypical manner should pretty much be on the same level as black face.

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Sevenizz

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@gessekai: Bart is voiced by a female. Let me guess, that’ll be the next thing that offends you, right?

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itchyflop

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Edited By itchyflop

@gessekai: do you watch the Simpsons?

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hughesyboozy

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Edited By hughesyboozy

@gessekai: Really? I see British actors playing Americans with American accents and vice versa, so what's the difference?

Hell the Simpsons and cartoons in general are about stereotypes. Even in the Simpsons when they have a British character he has massive teeth and is very posh but also dimwitted. The fact that people get so triggered by a light-hearted cartoon is amazing.

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F1r3Starter

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@gessekai: Ever seen Master of None? Asking an Indian actor to do a thick Indian accent is just as racist. (or not racist at all depending on which side your on)

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smashthestars

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@f1r3starter: aziz is the man!

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Djungelurban

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@gessekai:
Wouldn't it technically be racist to say that a white person can't voice a Indian character? I mean, if Homer was voiced by a black guy no one would have thrown a fit about it.

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Oneonesix

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@gessekai: Were you offended when Hilary Swank played a transgender person in Boys Don't Cry?

What about going with Steve Carrell and not an actual virgin for The 40 Year Old Virgin?

Good grief... it's fucking acting, dude.

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Sevenizz

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@oneonesix: Look what just happened to Scarlet Johanson. She was shamed out of a similar part. I guess this means we’ll be seeing murderers play murderers in movies now. They’ll be the next group offended that they’re not accurately represented in film.

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Elranzer

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@Sevenizz: Kevin Spacey shows Hollywood already has creepy pedos playing creepy pedos, though.

(Oscar-worthy creepy pedos, to be fair.)

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gessekai

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@oneonesix: Was Hilary Swank playing a negative caricature of a race? Reading comprehension. Get some.

I know you guys are triggered by my comment, but take a deep breath and try to understand what it's saying. You read the first line, good job, now read the 2nd, and the 3rd, and the fourth. Now use what you learned in school to piece it together. It isn't hard.

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GlaciusXL

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@gessekai: This is like one of those comments where someone is blowing up over someone spelling something wrong, and then makes an even bigger mistake. (SPOILERS: He laid out this condescending post about reading comprehension and "what you learned in school" but then tells people to read all four lines of his comment. There were three lol. All good. I just had a laugh at that.

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Oneonesix

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Edited By Oneonesix

@gessekai: You're WANTING to see the negative in the character. Why aren't you seeing the negative in ALL THE OTHER DAMN CHARACTERS IN THAT SHOW? Krusty's dad is a Jewish rabbi... I guarantee he's not voiced by a Jew and I guarantee he is lampooned in the show.

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gessekai

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@oneonesix: Because the article is about Apu, dude. I don't know why you'd expect me to point out every single thing in the world when I just point out one thing.

And the guy who voices him is Jewish... lol

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Oneonesix

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@gessekai: Are you serious? That's your rebuttal? Just take your L and move along. You are very much in the minority here.

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Heqteur

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Actually, he was voiced by both Dan Castellaneta and Jackie Mason. Only one of them is Jewish. Make sure you know you're stuff when trying to correct others. Besides, we don't expect you to care and comment about all the little problems in our world, but to be consistent with your very own ideas. If racism in cartoons truly is a society issue to you, you won't only care about Apu, but about just any characters being depicted through stereotypes.

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TwoGirlsOneCub

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Edited By TwoGirlsOneCub

@gessekai: Yeah, and Bart Simpson and Bobby Hill being portrayed by women is sexist! *rolls eyes*

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gessekai

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Edited By gessekai

@twogirlsonecub: Nice comment dude! You're so smart! A little boy being voiced by a woman is just like a race negatively portraying a different race. Brilliant! No fallacies there at all. /s

I'm not sure why you thought that was an intelligent comment, but alright.

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TwoGirlsOneCub

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@gessekai: Except Apu isn't negatively portrayed. The only fallacy here is the outrage and the pretense of intellect.

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James_xeno

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@gessekai:

I think you need to reread your spoiler and look over a lot of your comments here.. Unawareness at it's maximum.

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Heqteur

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@gessekai: and doing an attack to the person is also a very smart and mature comment.

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Xylymphydyte

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@gessekai: Do you like Kratos from the God of War series?

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gessekai

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@Xylymphydyte: Not specifically. But if I did, is he supposed to be an example of the same situation? Isn't he just a white dude (that no one really wants to agree that he's white) voiced by a black dude? I'm talking about someone of a race who is portraying a caricature of a different race.

Kratos isn't a caricature of anything besides raw masculinity.

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