Hank Azaria Reveals Why It Was Time For Him To Step Away As Apu on The Simpsons
Hank Azaria and The Simpsons had been in the headlines last year after a documentary discussing the offensiveness of the character made the rounds on social media. In the past, Hank has stayed relatively silent on why he chose to leave the part, but now, he's finally being more candid.
During an interview with The New York Times, Hank discussed at length why he chose to leave his long-time role on The Simpsons as Apu. After many years of thinking about it, listening to others, and letting voices be heard, Azaria came to the conclusion that it would be best for him to move on.
According to the legendary voice actor, after hearing that Apu had been so hurtful to so many people in American society, "it just didn't feel right." For thirty years, Hank voiced one of The Simpsons' most popular characters.
While The Simpsons is a comedy show that revolves around stereotypes, including the Scottish groundskeeper, the incompetent policeman, and the corrupt politician, the portrayal of Apu has been considered as particularly offensive due to its racial undertone, which is what makes it different from other stereotypes on the series.
Additionally, his portrayal as a simple-minded man with a thick Indian accent, in conjunction with his long last name, is considered as welcoming ridicule at Indian-Americans' expense. Over the last few years, Apu has been increasingly criticized.
The show's executive producers recently spoke with the New York Times in a statement and they explained that they would honor Hank Azaria's decision to back off from the role, however, the future of Apu remains uncertain due to how beloved he is around the world.
During an appearence on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in 2018, Azaria explained that he was more than willing to step aside from voicing Apu if it was necessary . He claimed that it just felt like the right thing to do.
Azaria admitted that he was initially hesitant to hear the criticisms of Apu, however, after some time and much listening, he ultimately decided the critics had a point - one that he ultimately chose to learn from.