“Going forward, the Simpsons will no longer have white actors expressing non-white characters,” Fox spokesman Les Eisner said in a statement on Friday.
Over the three decades since the animated sitcom began, White actors have used to play a number of non-white characters including Harry Shearer as Dr. Julius Hibbert and Hank Azaria as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
In January, Azaria announced that he would stop expressing Apu 30 years after playing the famous Indo-American character. Azaria is not South Asia.
The actor, according to / Film, said the decision to remove Azaria from expressing Apu was mutual. “We all agreed on that,” he said. “We all feel that this is the right and good thing about it.”
“My documentary was not a problem with Abu” to get rid of a dated cartoon character, but to discuss race, acting and my community (which I love so much), Condondolo wrote. “It was also about how you love something (like the Simpsons) and still criticize aspects of it (Apu).”
In his document, Kondapolo interviewed celebrities of South Asian origin, including Aziz Ansari and Cal Benn, to discuss how traits such as Apu could be considered racist.
In the episode, young woman Lisa Simpson said, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and harmless is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” Then Lisa took a peek at a framed picture of Abu Manqush with the message “She Doesn’t Own a Cow.”
“The idea that anyone – young or old, past or present – being bullied or harassed based on the character of Apu, makes me really sad,” said Azaria, who expresses other characters on the show.
“It was definitely not my intention,” he said. “I wanted to spread laughter and joy in this character, and the idea that it brought pain and suffering in any way, and that it was used to marginalize people, is annoying.”
This article was contributed by Frank Palota of CNN, Brian Lowry and Leah Smash.