Just over a year ago, we learned that Hank Azaria would no longer be voicing The Simpsons character, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. And now, the renowned voice actor is apologising for his contribution to the stereotyping of Indian people in mainstream culture – and the hurt it has caused so many.
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The actor recently opened up about the issue on the Armchair Expert podcast:
“I really do apologise. It’s important. I apologise for my part in creating that and participating in that. Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologise. And sometimes I do,” he tells hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman.
He also shared examples of a powerful interaction he had with a student of Indian heritage at his son’s school:
“A 17-year-old…he’s never even seen The Simpsons but knows what Apu means. 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.”
Hank explained that the boy, “with tears in his eyes,” asked him to let script writers know their words matter and have consequences. And Hank promised he would deliver that message to Hollywood.
You can listen to the full episode HERE, where Hank also discusses white privilege, the importance of getting in touch with emotions and being mistaken for someone who works in upholstery!
(Feature Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com)