APU Nahasapeemapetilon from The Simpsons is getting a new voice, after 30 years.
Hank Azaria will no longer voice the Indian immigrant and Kwik-E-Mart owner, after an on-going race row.
“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s someway to transition it or something,” the 55-year-old confirmed to Slashfilms on Friday.
He will continue to voice other characters on the long running Fox show.
In recent years the character Apu has come under fire for perpetuating racial stereotypes and Azaria had openly expressed willingness to step aside.
US documentary The Problem With Apu blasted The Simpsons for portraying Apu as an unfair and exaggerated stereotype.
Speaking on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2018, Azaria, said he’s given the issue “a lot of thought” as his “eyes have opened”.
He said: “I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers room… genuinely informing whatever way this character may [develop] including how it is voiced or not voiced.
“I’m perfectly willing and happy to step aside.”
Azaria also stressed the importance of listening “to South Asian and Indian people when they talk about how they feel about the character”.
Azaria previously said: “The idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad.”
Azaria has played Apu and other characters including bartender Moe Szyslak since 1989.
Hari Kondabolu, who created the 2017 documentary which slammed the cartoon, took to Twitter to welcome the news.
He retweeted: “It is now important to mark how this went – @harikondabolu made a doc questioning the negative effects of this character, and hank azaria at first resisted change, but is now publicly on Hari’s side of the argument. Thoughtful Art can change our world.”
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After the documentary, The Simpsons launched episode, No Good Read Goes Unpunished, to address the racial stereotyping issue.
In it, several famous authors including Rudyard Kipling, visit Marge Simpson in a dream, urging her to change their books because they contain so many stereotypes.
In a fourth-wall breaking segment, Lisa tells her: “Something that started decades ago, and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”
Opinions were split between those angered by the Simpsons’ handling of the situation and those who felt the character should be left as is.
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