The Simpsons actor Hank Azaria on playing Apu: ‘I feel the need to personally apologise to every Indian’

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American actor Hank Azaria says his character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on the well-liked sitcom The Simpsons is “practically a slur” proper now, and the Hollywood star feels apologetic for endorsing racial stereotypes by the function.

The long-running animated sitcom had Azaria lending voice to the Indian character, which has drawn criticism over the previous couple of years owing to its racially stereotypical habits, mixed with the undeniable fact that it was voiced by a Caucasian actor, in accordance to The Hollywood Reporter.

Azaria, who give up the present final yr saying he didn’t feel proper playing the half, mentioned on a current podcast with actor Dax Shepard the classes he learnt from starring on the present. The actor shared he took a number of seminars and even spoke to Indians to perceive why the character was problematic, earlier than taking the choice to give up The Simpsons.

During one such interplay with a 17-year-old Indian, Azaria stated although the teenager hadn’t ever watched the present, he understood what Apu stood for. “I was speaking at my son’s school, I was talking to the Indian kids there because I wanted to get their input. A 17-year-old … he’s never even seen The Simpsons but knows what Apu means. It’s practically a slur at this point. All he knows is that is how his people are thought of and represented to many people in this country,” Azaria stated.

The actor revealed the boy, “with tears in his eyes,” requested him to inform Hollywood writers that what they do has penalties on individuals’s lives. Azaria advised him he would ship the message. At this level on the podcast, the actor stated it’s necessary for him to apologise to Indian for reinforcing problematic tropes by his artwork.

“I really do apologise. It’s important. I apologise for my part in creating that and participating in that. Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize. And sometimes I do.” Azaria additionally stated he was a giant champion of individuals of colour voicing characters of colour and diversification in writers’ rooms.

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