For more than three decades, actor Hank Azaria has been providing a multitude of voices for the hit Fox series The Simpsons. While most people didn’t think much of him voicing an Indian character back in the 90s, some questions about the problem with a white man voicing a person of color came to light with the 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu.
While meant more to start a conversation, it instead created quite the controversy around the character. Still, Azaria stated a few years back that he’d be willing to step aside from Apu to allow a more authentic voice to fill the role. Now, it seems like Azaria is done with the character altogether.
In a recent interview with /Film, Azaria was pretty clear about his potential to come back to the Kwik-E-Mart clerk. “All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore,” Azaria stated, “unless there’s someway to transition it or something.” Azaria confirmed the decision was a mutual choice between himself, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, and showrunner Al Jean.
“What they’re going to do with the character is their call. It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet,” Azaria explained. “All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore. We all made the decision together. We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
It might not be something longtime fans want to hear, but this would be a good move for The Simspons. This show was once right on the pulse of America but has since become a self-parody of sorts. Working to allow more diverse voices to get a spotlight on what is possibly the most well-known show on the planet can only lead to good things.