Hank Azaria has admitted The Simpsons producers are having an "important conversation" about the future of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

The 53-year-old actor and the rest of the team on the long-running animated sitcom are upset that the Kwik-E-Mart owner could be deemed offensive and are planning to get together to decide what to do about the criticism.

Azaria admitted the recent documentary, The Problem With Apu - in which Hari Kondabolu explored the way elements of the character allegedly bolster racial stereotypes - has caused producers to stop and think.

He told TMZ: "I think the documentary made some really interesting points and gave us a lot at The Simpsons to think about, and we really are ...

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"To hear that anybody that was hurt and offended by any character or vocal performance is really upsetting, that it was offensive or hurtful to anybody."

But Azaria, who voices Apu, stopped short of revealing whether the character will be axed entirely.

Asked if Apu will be leaving the show, he said: "I think it's an important conversation and one we're definitely having.

"We're just really thinking ... it's a lot to digest."

Producers of the TruTV documentary insisted there were many elements of the character that are upsetting, including his arranged marriage, owning a convenience store and parenting many children.

Azaria has previously admitted his regret at not spending much time perfecting Apu's accent.

He said: "I didn't have a chance to spend more time doing what I would consider a more perfected Indian dialect.

"That said, I don't know if it would have taken the edge off for somebody it bothered."

- Bang! Showbiz