The famous Indian character, Apu from “The Simpsons”, is reportedly being dropped from the show, reports IndieWire. Apu, an East Indian American character, on the Simpsons had been under fire for its cultural insensitivity towards East Indians since comedian Hari Kondabolu released his 2017 documentary, “The Problem with Apu”.
In the documentary, Hari Kondabolu criticizes the character for its continuation of “brownface” due to Apu being voiced by a white actor. Kondabolu interviewed other Indian actors about their thoughts about the Simpsons and Apu. Most loved the show but hated that Apu had an “Indian accent”. They relived stories of when they were younger and how they were made fun of because of the character.
IndieWire got the news from Adi Shankar who put out a contest for a spec script to fix the “Apu Problem”. He told Indiewire, “I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether. They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.” Shankar claims he got the information from a person who works for Simpson’s creator Matt Groening and two other people who work for “The Simpsons”.
Shankar doesn’t agree with the decision. “If you are a show about cultural commentary and you are too afraid to comment on the culture, especially when it’s a component of the culture you had a hand in creating, then you are a show about cowardice,” said Shankar. “It’s not a step forward, or step backwards, it’s just a massive step sideways. After having read all these wonderful scripts, I feel like sidestepping this issue doesn’t solve it when the whole purpose of art, I would argue, is to bring us together,” Shankar said.
Indiewire reached out to Fox, the studio that produces the Simpsons, and a spokesperson for the show wrote back with, “Apu appeared in the 10/14/18 episode ‘My Way of the HIghway to Heaven.” In the episode, Apu is seen in heaven with God and other characters from the show that have died off.
As for Shankar, he found his winning script from a doctor named Vishaal Buch from Bethesda, Maryland. Shankar doubts “The Simpsons” will produce the script, so he intends to make it and upload it on his “Bootleg Universe” Youtube channel.
Hari Kondabolu tweeted his disagreement about the decision. Hari Kondabolu retweeted @avninders1 tweet, “Deleting the character completely misses the point of how we need more South Asian representation to combat the fostered stereotypes,” with the comment, “Agreed. There are so many ways to make Apu work without getting rid of him. If true, this sucks.”
Agreed. There are so many ways to make Apu work without getting rid of him. If true, this sucks. https://t.co/czBDIvaTV0
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) October 26, 2018
UPDATE /10 – 29 -2018/ Simpsons writer, Al Jean has responded with a tweet. “Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for the show.” So Apu might not be pulled from the show. Was Shankar’s sources credible were they real?
Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) October 28, 2018