“The Simpsons” team is looking at how to handle longtime Springfield resident Apu Nahasapeemapetilon after a recent wave of criticism of the controversial Indian character. Notably, Hari Kondabolu’s documentary “The Problem With Apu” (which is streaming on truTV.com) examined how the character reinforced hurtful cultural stereotypes. But Hank Azaria, who has voiced the character since 1990, has remained quiet publicly about the matter. TMZ recently spoke with Azaria, who said that the documentary was definitely food for thought and could inspire change on the show.
“I think the documentary did make some really interesting points, and gave us a lot at ‘The Simpsons’ to think about and we really are thinking about it,” he said. “Definitely anybody that was hurt or offended by any character or vocal performance is really upsetting that was offensive or hurtful to anybody. I think it’s an important conversation and one definitely worth having. We’re just really thinking about it and it’s a lot to digest.”
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Kondabolu recently spoke with IndieWire about why he decided to take the show to task while still being a fan.
“Loving ‘The Simpsons’ is like loving America, right? So there’s certain things about it I disagree with, so I protest,” he said. “It’s like the anthem thing, with [Colin] Kaepernick. I’m not saying this is equivalent to it, but I’m saying it’s that kind of public discussion that we’re having. Is it OK to criticize things we hold sacred? Isn’t that what makes us good Americans, good ‘Simpsons’ fans, thoughtful viewers, thoughtful humans, right? So I think that’s definitely a part of it.”
Watch Azaria speak out about Apu below, via TMZ: