ACTOR Hank Azaria has apologised for the Indian character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on The Simpsons after plenty of negative backlash.
Emmy-award winning actor and comedian Hank discussed the controversy around his character on the much-loved animated comedy series.
On the Armchair Expert podcast, Hank expressed his “need to go around to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologise”, after his portrayal of Apu.
Hosted by Dax Shepard and Indian American star Monica Padman, the actor opened up about the negative impact his portrayal of an Indian person has had as a caucasian person.
He said: "I've had a date with destiny with this thing for about 31 years.”
Being a white actor, Hank’s negative reception included the danger of the character being racially stereotyped.
Sadly, he also recalled going to schools, speaking to Indian kids and learning first-hand how people were bullied because of the character.
Issues were raised about inaccurate representation and Hank didn’t believe that Apu was authentic enough.
He added: “It's practically a slur at this point. All he knows is that is how his people are thought of and represented to many people in this country."
Looking forward, Hank suggested: "If it's an Indian character or a Latinx character or a Black character, please let's have that person voice the character.”
Hank added how having an actor from the character’s background would “bring their experience to it.”
Showing empathy, Hanks concluded: “Let's not take jobs away from people who don't have enough."
The Simpsons' writers decided the character will remain on the show, but a new actor has not been announced at the time of writing.
Talking about the controversial character’s return, Hank said stepping down was "the right thing to do".
But what’s next for the character?
Writers have said they are “working on something kind of ambitious”.
Showing pride and love for the character they said, "I think the Apu stories are fantastic, and he's one of the most nuanced characters on a silly two-dimensional cartoon show. So, yeah, I'm proud of Apu.”
Also in the podcast, Hank and Dax discussed getting in touch with their emotions to help with conflict resolution and how addiction is really just an obsession. Hank also talked about his perspective on white privilege.
The Simpsons is available to stream now on Disney+.
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