Hank Azaria made the comments while appearing on the Armchair Expert podcast.
He said: “Part of me feels like I need to go around to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologise.”
Apu was one of the longest-running characters in The Simpsons series but was phased out following controversy surrounding racially stereotypical behaviour and the fact that Hank Azaria is Caucasian.
Why Is Hank Azeria Not Voicing Apu?
Apu’s character became a hot-topic in recent years, including in a 2017 documentary, The Problem With Apu created by Indian-American comic Hari Kondabolu which explored the racial implications of The Simpsons’ character.
Azaria showed deep remorse in the aired podcast explaining he had taken time to learn about what people were feeling.
It was the voice actor’s decision to step away from playing Apu on The Simpsons and said: “Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize. And sometimes I do.”
The voice actor also made a specific apology to the co-host of Armchair Expert, Monica Padman who is an Indian-American woman. He said: “I know you weren’t even asking for that but it’s important.”
When Did Apu Leave The Simpsons?
Apu’s character was phased out of The Simpsons in 2016 following the character’s final episode ‘Much Apu About Nothing’ which confronted his problematic characterisation and its impact.
Hank Azaria has commented that he had no idea that the character was causing so much offence during the cartoon’s peak.
In 2020, he also referred to the problem of Apu’s bigoted character, saying: “If it’s an Indian character or a Latinx character or a Black character, please let’s have that person voice the character.”
Who Does Hank Azaria Play in The Simpsons Today?
Azaria has been a voice actor for The Simpsons for over three decades and has played many characters including Bartender Moe Szyslak and Chief Wiggum.
While he no longer plays the character of the immigrant shop owner, he continues to work in voice acting for other characters.
He confirmed that he made the choice himself with no influence from the show’s writers but that they were sympathetic and agreed with his decision.
The Simpsons have said: “We respect Hank’s journey in regard to Apu. We have granted his wish to no longer voice the character.”
How Many Characters Are Voiced by Hank Azaria?
There are many characters in The Simpsons that Azaria plays and he voices the most Simpsons’ characters on the show.
How Much Do The Simpsons Voice Actors Make?
Even by not playing any of the main characters in The Simpsons, Hank Azaria is worth $80 million partly due to his work across the cartoon series. However, some of the main Simpsons’ voice actors earn far more than this.
What Is Hank Azaria Doing Now?
The voice actor continues to work in his industry and still plays many of The Simpsons’ characters. He has also spoken of contributing to ongoing work to tackle the issue of structured racism and has attended many seminars on the topic.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@hankazaria & Disney