HomeIndian AmericanHank Azaria apologizes to “Every Single Indian Person” for 'Simpsons' Character

Hank Azaria apologizes to “Every Single Indian Person” for ‘Simpsons’ Character

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A year after stepping away from voicing the role of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on the iconic animated sitcom The Simpsons, Henry Albert “Hank” Azaria apologizes to “every single Indian person,” The Hill reports

“I really do apologize,” Azaria said on a recent episode of the Armchair Expert podcast hosted by actors Dax Shepard and Monica Padman. “I know you weren’t asking for that but it’s important. I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that. Part of me feels I need to go round to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize.”

The character of Apu has long been condemned for its racial stereotyping of Indian Americans, highlighted by The Problem with Apu, a 2017 documentary by Hari Kondabolu.

Apu, a West Bengal immigrant, is the store owner of Kiwi-E-Market. His catchphrase—“Thank you! Come again!”—has become a racial taunt, according to The New York Times. Perhaps the most criticized trait of all was Apu’s thick accent, which was voiced by Azaria: a White man.

Kondabolu described this voice casting as “a White guy doing an impression of a White guy making fun of my father.”

Azaria also has a long history of grappling with the legacy of his role in the creation and perpetuation of Apu. In 2020, after 30 years of voicing Apu, Azaria chose to retire from the role. He later expressed his remorse.

“Once I realized that that was the way this character was thought of, I just didn’t want to participate in it anymore,” he told The New York Times. “It just didn’t feel right.”

Kondabolu applauded Azaria’s words, expressing his gratitude for the actor’s willingness to learn. 

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