Los Angeles, Jan 14 (PTI) Hank Azaria, who lends his voice to the beloved character, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from “The Simpsons”, said the makers of the hit animated sitcom will address the controversy after it was criticised for being racist.
The actor’s comments come after the documentary “The Problem With Apu” by comic Hari Kondabolu explored the manner in which elements of the character allegedly reinforce racial stereotypes.
Azaria, 53, said it was “upsetting” for him both professionally and personally if Apu’s part had caused grief to anyone as it was never the intent, reported Entertainment Weekly.
“The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased or worse based on the character of Apu on The Simpsons, or the voice or any other tropes of the character is distressing, especially in post-9/11 America.
“The idea that anybody was marginalised based on it or had a hard time was very upsetting to me personally and professionally. It’s a character I’ve done for 29 years now, and I’ve done it with a lot of love, and joy, and pride. That certainly wasn’t the intent. The intent was to make people laugh and bring joy. For it to cause suffering or pain in any way, it’s disturbing, actually,” he told reporters at the TCA in Pasadena during a panel.
Azaria said he believes it is important to listen when people express themselves about racial issues; what the makers of the sitcom are planning to do.
“The most important thing to do is listen, try to understand, try to sympathise, which is what I’m doing. I know that ‘The Simpsons’ guys are doing that too; they’re giving it a lot of thought, and we’ve discussed a little bit. They will definitely address – maybe publicly, certainly creatively within the context of the show – what they want to do, if anything, with the character,” he said.
Azaria had earlier said Kondabolu’s documentary helped raise an “important conversation” with respect to Apu’s part.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.