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Simpsons Voice Actor Hank Azaria’s Response to Apu Complaints Was Much Better Than the Show’s

The 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu stirred up some long-running sentiments about the Indian-American Simpsons character, and a lot of people (us included) were pretty unhappy about how the show handled the criticism—including the character’s voice actor, Hank Azaria. The actor made an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night, and he explained that he had nothing to do with the scene, since it didn’t feature Apu in person, and very much disagrees with the way it was handled.

There were many odd choices made in the show’s response—from the it’s the children who are wrong tone to having Lisa Simpson, of all characters, write the complaints off as political correctness—but the one Azaria focused on when talking to Colbert (starting around 2:15 in the video above) was how the phrase “don’t have a cow” factored in, seemingly telling people to grow a thicker skin and just get over it. That’s very much not how Azaria feels about it, nor does he agree with the scene’s hint that the criticism may never be substantively addressed at all.

As far as what Azaria thinks should be done about it, he’d be more than willing to step aside and/or “help transition it into something new,” and he hopes the show will allow him to do that. He also pointed out that, beyond concerns about voice acting, the way to best ensure positive representation in the future, whether for The Simpsons or any other show, is to make sure diverse voices are included in the writers’ room, as well as on the screen.

(image: Fox)

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Dan is many things, including a game developer, animator, martial artist, and at least semi-professional pancake chef. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (his dog), both of whom are the best, and he will never stop reminding The Last Jedi's detractors that Luke Skywalker's pivotal moment in Return of the Jedi was literally throwing his lightsaber away and refusing to fight.