Hank Azaria has issued an apology for voicing Kwik-E-Mart proprietor Apu on “The Simpsons,” a controversial function he performed for 30 years regardless of Apu being Indian.
“I apologize personally in creating that and taking part in that,” Azaria mentioned. “A part of me feels I must go spherical to each single Indian particular person on this nation and apologize.”
Azaria, who started voicing the comfort retailer proprietor in 1990, spoke concerning the current controversies surrounding his character on Dax Shepherd’s “Armchair Professional” podcast. In January 2020, he stepped down from voicing Apu on “The Simpsons.” The voice actor insists the character was created with good intentions however mentioned there have been actual unfavourable penalties to the portrayal.
“I actually didn’t know any higher,” Azaria mentioned. “I didn’t give it some thought. I used to be unaware of how a lot relative benefit I had acquired on this nation as a white child from Queens.”
Azaria mentioned Peter Vendor’s efficiency in “The Occasion” impressed Apu’s voice on “The Simpsons.” Vendor, the white actor who portrayed the gawky Hrundi V. Bakshi within the movie, wore brownface and perpetuated Indian stereotypes. Wanting again, Azaria mentioned this was “an incredible instance of white privilege relative benefit.”
“On the time, Indian folks have been very upset with that portrayal again in 1966,” Azaria mentioned. “I couldn’t be presumably passing alongside structural racism extra completely, a minimum of in a present enterprise context, by taking one thing that was already upsetting and going, ‘Oh, that is fantastic!”‘
Indian comedian Hari Kondabolu outlined the unfavourable stereotypes and racial microaggressions that Apu’s character represents in his documentary “The Drawback With Apu,” which was launched on truTV in 2017. Kondabolu introduced in numerous Indian abilities from Hollywood to share their private tales of how white folks bullied them through the use of Apu’s character. Many individuals used Apu’s ubiquitous line “Thanks, come once more” because the punchline for his or her dangerous and racist gestures.
Shortly after the movie’s launch, “The Simpsons” writers addressed the controversies surrounding Apu. Within the episode “No Good Learn Goes Unpunished,” Marge purchases an previous fairytale guide from her childhood to learn to Lisa as a bedtime story. Whereas studying the story, Marge started to comprehend how culturally offensive the guide really is. Towards the top of the episode, Lisa appears to be like immediately into the digital camera, saying: “One thing that began many years in the past and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What are you able to do?” She then appears to be like over at a framed image of Apu, which has the road “Don’t have a cow!” written on it.
Since stepping down from the function, Azaria mentioned he has “learn [and] spoke to individuals who knew so much about racism, spoke to a number of Indian folks and went to seminars.” Whereas he nonetheless voices characters on “The Simpsons,” he’s now a significant proponent for casting actors of coloration to voice characters of coloration. Azaria mentioned he slowly got here to comprehend that Apu was the one illustration of Indian folks in American popular culture for 20 years.
“If that have been the one illustration of my folks in American popular culture,” he mentioned, “I don’t suppose I’d’ve been loopy about that.”