Back in October of last year, The Simpsons animator Adi Shankar did an interview with IndieWire where he said that multiple sources informed him that Apu would be quietly removed from the show after fans and critics called for producers to address the stereotypes reinforced with the depiction of the character. Now, the show’s creator Matt Groenig has confirmed that Apu will not be written out of the series.
Groenig announced the news at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim over the weekend, and according to Variety, when asked about Apu’s status moving forward with the show, Groenig said that the character would be staying. “Yes. We love Apu,” Groenig reportedly stated. “We’re proud of Apu.”
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“I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether,” Shankar told IndieWire in October. “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.” Al Jean, a writer and producer for The Simpsons, has since refuted Shankar’s claims, saying he does not speak for the show.
Additionally, Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he said that he’d be “perfectly happy and willing to step aside.” Later adding that “listening to voices means inclusion in the writer’s room. I really want to see Indians, South Asian writers in the room. Not in a token way, but genuinely informing whatever new direction this character may take. Including how it is voiced, or not voiced.”