The actor Hank Azaria, voice of the character Apu from “The Simpsons” in its original version, has apologized to the Indian community by an interpretation that he himself defines as “Practically an insult” by promoting the creation of stereotypes.
The character of this merchant has generated controversy on several occasions, especially after the documentary “The problem with Apu” by the Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu, which stated in 2017 that the character was created based on racial prejudice.
A year after ceasing to give voice to the character, Azaria has acknowledged in the Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert podcast that this documentary made her doubt about its continuity in the collaboration with the drawing of the television series.
Even if the actor insists that the character was created without malicious intent, admits that “does not mean that there are no real negative consequences.”
For this reason, the actor has affirmed that a part of him feels that he needs “go to all the Indians of this country and personally apologize”.
The character of Apu has been for many years the only American television representation of Indian and Hindu culture and this, added to the success of the cartoon series, has contributed to the worldwide diffusion of stereotypes.
“This is how you think and represent your people to many people in this country”, Azaria has indicated.
The actor has recalled a specific time when he spoke with Indian students at his son’s school to get their thoughts on the character.
He mentioned a conversation with a 17-year-old, who hadn’t even seen “The Simpsons,” but knew what Apu meant.
The creator of “The Simpsons” himself, Matt Groening, has come to admit that the characters needed a change and is currently being studied to reinvent them in some way.
They have specific plans for the character of Apu, since he will return with a new voice and a new role beyond being the manager of the badulaque, as his business has been baptized in Spain (Kwik-E-Mart in English).
“Intolerance and racism remain an incredible problem and it is good to finally seek more equality and representation,” according to Groening.