Upping the Accuracy Ante, 'The Simpsons' Replaces a Straight White Actor in a Gay Cuban Role

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

The Simpsons further moves its cast closer to its characters — at least where identity’s concerned.

Last June, I covered the cartoon’s major announcement: It would replace all white actors who’d been playing nonwhite roles.

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

The show had made clear it would no longer hire any Caucasians to play characters of a different race, and it would undertake the task of giving certain employees the boot:

The Hollywood Reporter gave an account:

[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.

Well, now the show’s upped the ante.

Straight Hank Azaria’s gay character — Cuban hairdresser Julio — has been given a new voice.

Gay Cuban Julio will now be inhabited by gay Cuban Tony Rodriguez — two for two.

As noted by the New York Post, Hank had previously stepped down from the part of a certain Kwik-E-Mart owner (which he played for two decades):

Most will know Julio as Marge’s hair stylist and ex-lover of Waylon Smithers in the long-running comedy show, which has recently faced a reckoning over the diversity of its characters.

The re-casting started with Azaria’s Apu, which the white actor agreed perpetuated harmful stereotypes about Indian Americans.

The Apu situation led to recent statements by Hank on Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert podcast:

“I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that. Part of me feels I need to go round to every single Indian person in this country and apologize.”

Hank had to learn:

“I really didn’t know any better. I didn’t think about it. I was unaware of how much relative advantage I had received in this country as a white kid from Queens.”

That mea culpa appeared to prompt a tweet by comedy great John Cleese:

Back to The Simpsons and a gay Cuban character getting the Accuracy treatment, comedian Tony indicated his excitement on social media:

“Tonight I make my debut on The Simpsons as gay, Cuban Julio. This is a dream come true for me and I was already a living cartoon.”

Going forward, it seems, actors in Hollywood may find their identity status playing much more of a role in realizing their dreams. Or not.

For Tony, the stars, in this case, aligned.

“In the past two years, I have seen myself more in the show, and by that, I mean specifically the part of Julio, who is gay like me, he’s Cuban like me.”

-ALEX

 

See more pieces from me:

Police Department Apologizes for Post Suggesting George Floyd Should’ve ‘Placed His Hands Behind His Back’ Like Chauvin

Hollywood Foreign Press Association Ex-President Expelled for Calling BLM a ‘Racist Hate Group’

Toilet Paper Company Calls out White Supremacy and Cops’ ‘Continued Killing of Black and Brown People’

Find all my RedState work here.

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