'The Simpsons' Announces It Will Recast All Nonwhite Characters Voiced by White Actors

(AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)
AP featured image
FILE – In this July 21, 2007, file photo, characters from The Simpsons pose before the premiere of “The Simpsons Movie,” at the town’s movie theater in Springfield, Vt. “The Simpsons” focused on political correctness and seemingly tried to address criticism of its portrayal of its Indian shop owner Apu. The Sunday, April 8, 2018, “No Good Read Goes Unpunished” episode featured Marge sharing her favorite childhood book with her daughter, Lisa. But Marge realized the book is more racist and offensive than she remembered. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)


If you’re a white actor hoping to play a Brazilian on The Simpsons, I’m sorry, but the outlook is glum.

On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter detailed that a lot of nonwhite fake people will now only be voiced by nonwhite real people.

From the article:

In a big shift, the producers of The Simpsons say they’ll no longer use white actors to play characters of color on the long-running animated series.

That includes white actors already established in nonwhite roles:

[Hank Azaria]…voices Carl Carlson and Springfield police officer Lou, who are Black, and Hispanic character Bumblebee Man. Harry Shearer, meanwhile, has played Dr. Hibbert, who’s Black, for the show’s entire run. Tress MacNeille has also voiced several non-White characters, including (Indian-American immigrant and Kwik-E-Mart owner) Apu’s wife, Manjula.

So say goodbye to those sounds.

As for Apu, for years, The Simpsons resisted calls for an Indian actor to take the role from Azaria. In fact, the to-do about Abu was spotlighted by a 2017 documentary, The Problem With Abu.

In January, Hank walked away from the character — after having won three Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance: in 1998 for his performance as Apu, and in 2001 and 2003 for Apu as well as other characters.


The Simpsons follows other shows having made similar changes.

More from THR:

The decisions by The Simpsons…[follows] recent moves by Netflix’s Big Mouth and Apple’s Central Park to recast mixed-race characters with Black or biracial actors, as the industry continues to reckon with its history of inclusivity (or lack thereof). Jenny Slate has played Missy on Big Mouth to date, and Kristen Bell voiced Molly on Central Park. 

And Family Guy fans of black character Cleveland are in for something new: White actor Mike Henry has stepped down from the role.

He made the announcement Friday via Twitter:

“It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”

The revolution goes on — spurred by the horrific murder of George Floyd, the world continues to change its ways.

So far, we’ve said farewell to Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, Cops, Live PD, Body CamLady Antebellum, and The Dixie Chicks.


What’s to come?

Let us all know your predictions in the Comments section.

Dukes of Hazzard, anyone?



See 3 more pieces from me:

They Were Slow as Molasses: Quaker Finally Cancels Aunt Jemima

Boy Scouts of America Introduces Its New ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ Badge

In an Effort to Fight Racism, a Rhode Island Donut Shop Cancels Discounts for Military and Police

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