Hank Azaria Is Sorry for Voicing Apu on 'The Simpsons'
"I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that"
Published Apr 13, 2021The show is certainly not going anywhere, but The Simpsons has still been embroiled in a lengthy internal battle about whether or not they should have allowed white actors to voice characters of colour. While Matt Groening still thinks it was no big deal, voice actor Hank Azaria has now apologized for taking on the role.
On the Armchair Expert podcast, Azaria made sure not to mince words and apologized for participating in "structural racism" by voicing Apu.
Azaria even directly addressed the show's Indian-American presenter Monica Padman directly, saying, "I know you weren't asking for that, but it's important," he said. "I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that."
Azaria added that he has felt inspired to apologize to Indian-Americans around the country whenever the topic comes up. "I've had a date with destiny with this thing for about 31 years," he explained. "Part of me feels like I need to go around to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize, and sometimes I do when it comes up."
The backlash about Apu started to reach fever pitch with Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu. In the interview, Azaria said he would have responded poorly had he not gotten sober prior to the criticism.
"If I had not gotten sober, I promise you, it wouldn't have taken much wine for me to be in my feelings one night, and fire off a tweet that I felt justified in firing off," he said. "Boy, was I glad I had a system in place, where I could look at this thing."
He added that the show's intentions were, for the most part, good, but that it doesn't change the damage the character may have caused. "We tried to do a funny, thoughtful character," he said. "[But] just because there were good intentions doesn't mean there weren't real negative consequences that I am accountable for."
Listen to the full episode of Armchair Expert here.