AceShowbiz - "The Simpsons" is making a change. In a statement on Friday, June 26, the long-running animated TV show announced that the show will stop using white actors to voice non-white characters.
"Moving forward, 'The Simpsons' will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters," affirmed the producers in the statement. The producers don't elaborate more of the new decision.
This arrives after stand-up comedian Hari Kondabolu criticized the show for having Hank Azaria, a white voice actor, to take on the role of Indian shop clerk Apu Nahasapeemapetilon through a 2018 documentary titled "The Problem with Apu". Kondabulu said that the character is based on hurtful stereotypes. "Everything with Apu is like this running joke," he told the New York Times. "And the running joke is that he's Indian."
Later in January, Azaria announced that he stepped down from his role on the hit show. While saying that he would continue to appear in various other roles, Hank noted that he "won't be doing the voice anymore, unless there's some way to transition it or something. We all made the decision together... We all agreed on it. We all feel like it's the right thing and good about it."
Meanwhile, around the same time "The Simpsons" made public their decision, "Family Guy" voice actor Mike Henry also revealed on Friday that he would no longer voice Cleveland Brown on the FOX animated series. "It's been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role," Henry, who voiced the black character since 1999, wrote on his Instagram account.
Supporting his decision, one Instagram user said, "This is progress. If white people want to be allys then they shouldn't be taking up black spaces, that in itself would be white supremacy!" However, some others thought that he took too long to step down from his role. "After 20 years... and u just now wanna take a stand? And why tf they got a white person behind this role... all the subliminal race jokes... I just feel we’ve been made a mockery," one user wrote.