The Simpsons creator Matt Groening says he's 'proud' of Apu, has plans for character post-controversy
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The Simpsons creator Matt Groening is teasing plans for controversial character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, formerly voiced by Hank Azaria who stepped down after public outcry convinced producers to no longer have white actors play non-white characters.
"I think the Apu stories are fantastic, and he's one of the most nuanced characters on a silly two-dimensional cartoon show. So, yeah, I'm proud of Apu," Groening told USA Today when asked about the criticism that the character is a stereotype.
"I'm trying not to open up another chasm of criticism, but it doesn't matter what I say. I'll get it anyway," he continued.
While promoting the show's 700th episode airing this Sunday on Fox, Groening also said that while they have yet to find the right actor to voice Apu moving forward, "we're working on something kind of ambitious." He also said they've got plans for the character "but we have to see if we can make the stories work."
Producers announced in June that white actors will no longer voice non-white characters. Of the decision, Groening says it wasn't his idea but he's "fine with it."
He continued, "Who can be against diversity? So it's great. However, I will just say that the actors were not hired to play specific characters. They were hired to do whatever characters we thought of. To me, the amazing thing is seeing all our brilliant actors who can do multiple voices, do multiple voices. That's part of the fun of animation, However, to be more inclusive and hire more people, I'm completely in favor of that."