Indian people

Hank Azaria apologizes to all Indians for voicing Apu


Photo: Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images

It’s been almost four years since comedian Hari Kondabolu released his documentary The problem with Apu, bringing the issue of whitewashing and the racist voice to actor Hank Azaria’s doorstep for his portrayal of The simpsonsApu Nahasapeemapetilon. “I think the documentary brought out some really interesting points and gave us a lot to think about and we really do think about it,” Azaria said at the time. “Certainly anyone who’s been hurt or offended by this, or by a character or a vocal performance, it’s really upsetting that it’s been offensive or hurtful to anyone.” Now, after officially walking away from the character last year, Azaria tells the podcast Chair expert that he feels he might need to “go to every Indian in this country and apologize personally” for conveying “structural racism” through his portrayal of Springfield Kwik-E owner -Mart since 1988.

So how did Azaria finally come to understand that her decision to voice a character of color, especially with a false Was the Indian accent wrong? Partly by talking to young Indians about the impact Apu has had on American popular culture. “I was talking to my son’s school. I was talking to Indian kids there because I wanted to hear from them, ”Azaria told hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, according to Hollywood Journalist. “A 17 year old boy … he has never even seen The Simpson, but knows what Apu means. It’s practically an insult at this point. All he knows is that this is how his people are viewed and represented by many people in this country. “

Later in the episode, Azaria told host Padman, who is herself American Indian, “I really apologize. I know you didn’t ask, but it’s important. ‘apologize for my part in creating this and for being part of this… Part of me feels like I have to go around every Indian in this country and apologize personally, and sometimes I do when that introduces himself.

Now Azaria says he’s a non-racist casting supporter, hiring people from BIPOC to voice BIPOC characters; he was also replaced by actor Alex Desert as the voice of Carl Carlson, a black character on The simpsons. “If it’s an Indian character, or a Latinx character, or a black character, please let that person express the character,” he concludes. “It’s more authentic, they will bring their experience to it, and let’s not take jobs away from those who don’t have enough. You can hear her whole Chair expert episode here.


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