Hank Azaria offered the semblance of an apology in response to complaints about Apu.
Criticism of the Indian “Simpsons” character stemmed from “The Problem With Apu,” Hari Kondabolu’s documentary that aired on TruTV in November.
Apu, who was the only character of South Asian heritage to appear regularly on mainstream American television when “The Simpsons” debuted in 1989, is presented as a stereotypical Indian, the Kwik-E-Mart owner with an over-the-top accent.
Azaria, who voices Apu, declined to talk to Kondabolu for the documentary, but acknowledged the complaints weeks later.
“I think the documentary made some really interesting points and gave us a lot to think about, and we really are,” Azaria, who also voices Moe Szyslak and Chief Wiggum, among others, told TMZ.
“To hear that anybody that was hurt and offended by any character or vocal performance is really upsetting, that it was offensive or hurtful to anybody.”
Kondabolu responded to Azaria’s comments Sunday night.
“Apu doesn’t ‘offend’ me, he ‘insults’ me…and my community. I’m an adult with bigger things to deal with,” he tweeted.
Hank Azaria, the voice of Apu on “The Simpsons,” frequently declined to comment on Hari Kondabolu’s documentary.
(AP / FOX)
“My film was meant to tell you to go f–k yourself & discuss why I want you to go f–k yourself & how we can prevent future incidents of people wishing others “self-f–kery.”
“The Problem With Apu” includes interviews with actors Aziz Ansari, Kal Penn, Maulik Pancholy, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Samrat Chakrabarti, Sakina Jaffrey, Aasif Mandvi and Hasan Minhaj, who say they were called “Apu” as children in ridicule or being asked to deliver lines “like Apu from ‘The Simpsons’” during auditions.
Whoopi Goldberg even went as far as to claim the character is in brownface — Azaria is white, as is “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening.
Kondabolu doesn’t think killing off the offensive character is the answer though, he says in the documentary.
“Give him some upward mobility. Perhaps create a character that can oppose Burns,” he said.
“He has kids, just let them talk. Let them be part of the show. Have them represent us. Have writers who can write to that voice.”