Hank Azaria says he has no plans to continue voicing the character of Apu on The Simpsons, according to an industry blog. But that isn't to say the Indian immigrant convenience store owner Azaria brought alive for 30 years won't live on.
Producers and Fox Broadcasting wouldn't confirm Azaria's exit or an end to Apu, a recurring character that has drawn criticism for reinforcing racial stereotypes. There was no immediate reply from Azaria's publicist.
The actor, who has a Jewish background, indicated on Saturday to slashfilm.com that there was no resistance to phasing out his voice. "We all made the decision together," Azaria said. "We all agreed on it. We all feel like it's the right thing and [feel] good about it."
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon runs the Kwik-E-Mart, a popular convenience store in the animated sitcom.
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Azaria speculated that among options going forward was transitioning Apu's voice to an Indian actor.
In 2017, a documentary, The Problem with Apu, examined the character's cultural impact. Azaria said in response the idea that anybody had a hard time because of the character was "very upsetting to me ..."