‘The Simpsons’ Will No Longer Have White Actors Voice Non-White Characters
After years of controversy, The Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria recently confirmed that he would no longer provide the voice of Apu, the Indian-born proprietor of Springfield’s Kwik-E-Mart. Apu is hardly the only non-white character on The Simpsons voiced by a white actor, though — or at least he wasn’t until today. In a statement, Fox announced that “moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”
The move could have an impact on the show’s supporting cast. Azaria also voiced Bumblebee Man, the pratfall-prone star of a Spanish-language sitcom (who always wears a bumblebee costume), and Carl, one of Homer’s drinking buddies at Moe’s Tavern and co-workers at the power plant. Harry Shearer voiced Dr. Hibbert, the town’s genial doctor. The entire main Simpsons cast is white, which would mean the show would have to bring in new actors to voice these characters (or other non-white characters) in the future.
The Simpsons’ announcement comes as numerous streaming services have pulled down episodes of popular shows like 30 Rock that contain examples of blackface, and after other white voice actors announced they would stop voicing their non-white characters, including Jenny Slate from Netflix’s Big Mouth. That’s a relatively new show, of course; The Simpsons has been on the air since 1989. The show is expected to return for its 32nd season in the fall.
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