Monday, November 12The Voice of London

Come Again? The Simpsons to say goodbye to controversial character Apu

The problem with Apu is finally being addressed, as the Simpsons discuss removing the character to stop controversy.

The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon was brought into question in the 2017 documentary called “The Problem with Apu” written and directed by Hari Kondabolu. The documentary questioned the use of a white actor to voice the “stereotypical Indian accent;” Hank Azaria, the voice of Apu quoted in the Guardian at a table read. Kondabolu said to SF Weekly, “The punch line to every joke is he’s Indian. I mean, how many jokes do I need to hear about multi-armed gods and arranged marriages and how many people there are in India?”

Rival of the Simpsons, South Park addressed the debate in an episode titled “The Problem with a Poo.” In the episode two characters make the message clear when they say, “He’ll have to find a place that accepts racist awful beings like him. There are still places out there that don’t care about bigotry and hate.”

The Simpsons writer Matt Groening, who declined to address the documentary, referenced the ongoing controversy in a recent episode when Lisa states,“Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”

The issue has sparked debate on Twitter with many users citing other characters based on stereotypes. The Simpsons have noted at this previously in the episode “Team Homer” in which another bowling team call themselves “The Stereotypes.” In the episode Apu refuses to join the team made up of the Scottish Groundskeeper, the Italian pizza chef, the Sea Captain and the Redneck.

Twitter users debated on the ways the character of Apu could be improved rather than removing the character completely.

Words: Fiona Patterson

Subbing: Sorcha Gilheaney

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