On Tuesday’s episode of “The Late Present with Stephen Colbert,” Hank Azaria addressed the controversy over one of many “Simpsons” characters he voices, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
Apu’s portrayal got here below scrutiny after the documentary “The Downside with Apu” introduced consideration to the stereotypical depiction of Indian immigrants that the character presents.
“I believe an important factor is to take heed to Indian folks and their expertise with it,” Azaria mentioned. “I actually wish to see Indian, South Asian writers within the writers room…together with how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced. I’m completely prepared to step apart. It simply seems like the suitable factor to do to me.”
Azaria mentioned he understood the controversy surrounding his character. “It’s come to my consideration increasingly over the previous couple years,” he mentioned.
“The concept that anybody younger or outdated, previous or current, being bullied primarily based on Apu actually makes me unhappy,” he continued. “It definitely was not my intention. I needed to carry pleasure and laughter to folks.”
“The Simpsons” tried to answer the criticism with the episode “No Good Learn Goes Unpunished,” by which Marge tries to change a guide from a earlier period that she’s studying to Lisa to be much less offensive. Lisa addresses the digital camera, saying, “One thing that began a long time in the past and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What are you able to do?”
After some criticized the episode’s dealing with of the difficulty, showrunner Al Jean tweeted that he’d “proceed to attempt to discover a solution that’s in style & extra necessary proper.”
Of the “Simpsons’” response, Azaria mentioned, “I had nothing to do with the writing or the voicing [in that episode]. I believe if anybody got here away from that phase pondering they should loosen up…that’s positively not the message that I wish to ship.”
Azaria indicated he was open to vary concerning his position as Apu. “I’ve given this a whole lot of thought, and as I say my eyes have been opened.”