'The Simpsons' Will No Longer Have White Actors Voice Non-White Characters
Fox has announced that white actors will no longer voice characters of colour on The Simpsons. The series is among several that have implemented similar action this week, and the decision comes after Hank Azaria stepped away from the role of "Apu" earlier in 2020.
The Simpsons has committed to change for its long-time cast of characters and their voice actors.
The long-running animated comedy has announced that white actors will no longer voice characters of colour on the show — as they did for all of the first 31 seasons.
"Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters," Fox confirmed in a statement provided to news outlets.
The Simpsons, Family Guy, and more address actors for characters of colour
The Simpsons joins the list of animated series that have implemented action on actors for characters of colour. In recent days, Mike Henry announced he will no longer voice "Cleveland Brown" on Family Guy, while Jenny Slate has exited her role on Netflix's Big Mouth, and Kristen Bell has done the same on Central Park.
The Simpsons faced controversy with "Apu" before 2020
The Simpsons, however, was targeted for such grievances dating back to 2017. Controversy had mounted surrounding Hank Azaria's voice role as "Apu Nahasapeemapetilon," which critics—namely Hari Kondabolu in The Problem with Apu—argued perpetuated racist stereotypes.
Though The Simpsons at first resisted the critiques, Azaria did step away from the character in January 2020.
Now, five months after Azaria's decision on "Apu," The Simpsons will do the same for its other characters of colour. At the moment, it's unclear if they will directly re-cast these characters, such as "Carl," "Dr. Hibbert," and "Cookie Kwan," or if they will introduce new characters with a diversified voice cast.
The show's primary voice cast has remained intact since season 1 debuted in 1989. Though, Kevin Michael Richardson does currently voice new Black characters on the show and was upgraded to a "starring" credit in season 28.
The Simpsons now heads into its 32nd season on Fox.