The 30-year-old animated series The Simpsons has now dumped its Indian quickee-mart character Apu because of complaints over “racism.”
With the character first debuting in 1990 only one year into the show’s run, Apu is one of the series’ oldest secondary characters. But now, Apu is being called “racist.”
As Breitbart News reported:
Indie film producer and Indian-American Adi Shankar attempted to raise fan support for a Simpsons episode that would deal with the show’s “Apu problem.”
However, that idea is set to die, as Shankar has reported, “I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether. They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.”
Shankar, however, says the sudden disappearance of a near 30-year-old character is a mistake. “If you are a show about cultural commentary and you are too afraid to comment on the culture, especially when it’s a component of the culture you had a hand in creating, then you are a show about cowardice,” Shankar said.
Shankar concluded that just dropping the character without explanation is “a step backward” for race relations.
The character’s days may have been numbered, anyway.
Voice actor Hank Azaria — a key player in the Simpson’s troop and the man who has voiced Apu since the beginning — recently bowed to the pressure of Apu haters and said he would no longer do Apu’s voice for the show.
So, even if they were to maintain the character, series producers already had an actor in revolt over it all.
“I think the most important thing is we have to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country, when they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character, and what their American experience of it has been,” Azaria said. “Listening to voices means inclusion in the writers’ room. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers’ room, not in a token way, but genuinely informing whatever new direction this character may take, including how it is voiced or not voiced.”
As Breitbart also noted, the show did make a quick mention of the controversy:
The series has acknowledged that the character has become a problem. Indeed, The Simpsons did make a small attempt to wink and nod at the issue with the Apu character. In the April episode titled, “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” one segment dealt with the stereotypes that were once accepted in society but have become problematic today.
In the episode, Lisa Simpson tells her mother, Marge, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” As Lisa delivered the line, a framed photo of Apu is seen sitting on a bedstand next to her.
Few were satisfied with that, of course.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com