Hank Azaria Says He Has Learned Much From 'The Problem With Apu'

Fox  Matt Groening

Fox Matt Groening

"As far as what's going to happen with the character going forward, it's really not just up to me", Azaria said. People who were working hard, who were somewhat voiceless in a society in which they're trying to support their children.

Hank Azaria is breaking huge 'Simpsons' news - Apu, one of the characters he voices, could be going away on the heels of a documentary accusing the hit show of racism.

"The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased or worse based on the character of Apu on The Simpsons, or the voice or any other tropes of the character is distressing, especially in post-9/11 America", Azaria confessed. The intent was to make people laugh and to bring joy.

Addressing reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday (via Variety), Azaria explained the minds behind The Simpsons are already evaluating their options as to what to do with Apu in the future. So that it caused any kind of pain or suffering in any way, it's disturbing, actually. In it, Kondabolu attempts to talk with Azaria about the character (an invite Azaria ultimately declines) while discussing Apu's effect with notable South Asian talents including Kal Penn and Aziz Ansari. It's a character that I've done for 29 years now, and I've done it with a lot of love and joy and with pride.

"We didn't show this in the film because it was a private conversation but Hank called me, we chatted", Kondabolu said, in an interview with IndieWire at the time. And I was a little starstruck because it's Hank Azaria and I love "The Simpsons.' He seemed hesitant to be in the film because he was anxious about the edit. I know The Simpsons guys are doing that too".

The actor said "The Simpsons" exists on that fine line between what is amusing and what is insulting.

Azaria emphasized that he had never seen the character of Apu as one-dimensional, and that over the years The Simpsons had been "pretty humorously offensive to all manner of people".

He appreciated the efforts of Hari for having made the documentary as "it's really important when people express themselves about racial issues, what they feel is unfair or upsetting or distressing or makes them angry, sad or hurt". "I think, over the years, they've done a really good job of being, shall we say, "uniformly offensive" without being outright hurtful". They are giving it a lot of thought. "They will definitely address - maybe publicly, but certainly within the context of the show - what they want to do, if anything, with the character", he added. "So thank you for asking". Brockmire returns April 18, 2018 on IFC.

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