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The Simpsons creator Matt Groening reveals he’s ‘proud’ of the Apu character

The Simpsons faced a bit of a reckoning last year, when it came under fire for white actors voicing diverse characters, including Hank Azaria voicing the stereotypical Indian character Apu, who owned and ran the Kwik-E Mart.

While the show addressed the controversy by announcing they would no longer have white actors voice non-white roles, series creator Matt Groening said in an interview with USA Today that he’s still ‘proud’ of what they did with Apu.

The show celebrates its milestone 700th episode on Sunday, with the new episode Manger Things, a Christmas flashback episode.

Apu: The Simpsons faced a bit of a reckoning last year, when it came under fire for white actors voicing diverse characters, including Hank Azaria voicing the stereotypical Indian character Apu, who owned and ran the Kwik-E Mart

Creator:u00A0While the show addressed the controversy by announcing they would no longer have white actors voice non-white roles, series creator Matt Groening said in an interview with USA Today that he's still 'proud' of what they did with Apu

Creator: While the show addressed the controversy by announcing they would no longer have white actors voice non-white roles, series creator Matt Groening said in an interview with USA Today that he’s still ‘proud’ of what they did with Apu

The Apu Nahasapeemapetilon character has not been seen on the show since the casting controversy, but Groening insists he has not been forgotten.

‘We’ve got plans for Apu, but we have to see if we can make the stories work,’ Groening said in the interview.

Aside from a white actor voicing an Indian character, Apu has been criticized for perpetuating stereotypes, though Groening doesn’t see it that way.

Not seen:u00A0The Apu Nahasapeemapetilon character has not been seen on the show since the casting controversy, but Groening insists he has not been forgotten

Not seen: The Apu Nahasapeemapetilon character has not been seen on the show since the casting controversy, but Groening insists he has not been forgotten

‘I think the Apu stories are fantastic, and he’s one of the most nuanced characters on a silly two-dimensional cartoon show,’ Groening began. 

‘So, yeah, I’m proud of Apu. I’m trying not to open up another chasm of criticism, but it doesn’t matter what I say. I’ll get it anyway,’ Groening added.

When asked about the decision for the show to remove all white actors voicing non-white roles, Groening said it wasn’t his idea but he agreed with it.

Fantastic:u00A0'I think the Apu stories are fantastic, and he's one of the most nuanced characters on a silly two-dimensional cartoon show,' Groening began

Fantastic: ‘I think the Apu stories are fantastic, and he’s one of the most nuanced characters on a silly two-dimensional cartoon show,’ Groening began

Idea:u00A0When asked about the decision for the show to remove all white actors voicing non-white roles, Groening said it wasn't his idea but he agreed with it

Idea: When asked about the decision for the show to remove all white actors voicing non-white roles, Groening said it wasn’t his idea but he agreed with it

‘It was not my idea, but I’m fine with it. 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,’ Groening clarified.

‘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,’ he added.

When asked if it would have been better to hire a more diverse cast several years earlier, Groening joked, ‘Yeah. And I hear they want to take the guns away from Yosemite Sam. He’s a little hot-headed.’

Great:u00A0'It was not my idea, but I'm fine with it. 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,' Groening clarified

Great: ‘It was not my idea, but I’m fine with it. 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,’ Groening clarified

Multiple voices:u00A0'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,' he added

Multiple voices: ‘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,’ he added

He was also asked about a 2018 interview where he spoke about the culture of people taking offense, and if he still feels the same way.

‘I have to word this carefully. I think audiences are smarter than the posse gives them credit for, and people can handle nuance, except for the ones who can’t handle nuance,’ Groening said.

‘And then there’s that phrase, something them if they can’t take a joke,’ he added.

Offense:u00A0He was also asked about a 2018 interview where he spoke about the culture of people taking offense, and if he still feels the same way

Offense: He was also asked about a 2018 interview where he spoke about the culture of people taking offense, and if he still feels the same way

Nuance:u00A0'I have to word this carefully. I think audiences are smarter than the posse gives them credit for, and people can handle nuance, except for the ones who can't handle nuance,' Groening said

Nuance: ‘I have to word this carefully. I think audiences are smarter than the posse gives them credit for, and people can handle nuance, except for the ones who can’t handle nuance,’ Groening said


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