‘The Simpsons’ Criticised For Its Response To Apu Controversy

The Simpsons has been criticised for its response to the controversy surrounding its beloved Kwik-E-Mart operator Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

The show’s latest episode addressed issues surrounding Apu which were raised in the 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu by comedian Hari Kondabolu, including accusations that the character (voiced by Hank Azaria) is a racist stereotype.

During the episode, as Marge Simpson shares her favourite childhood books with Lisa, she realises that some of the books are more offensive than she remembers. In response, Lisa says, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”

“Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” Marge replies, to which Lisa says, “If at all.”

A framed photo of Apu is also seen in the scene (below), with the words “Don’t have a cow, Apu” across it.

Kondabolu has since responded to the episode by saying it is “sad” the show responded in such a way.

“In ‘The Problem with Apu’, I used Apu & The Simpsons as an entry point into a larger conversation about the representation of marginalized groups & why this is important,” he said on Twitter.

“The Simpsons response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress.”

Others have also taken issue with the fact that Lisa was the character used to share the show’s message:

In January, Hank Azaria addressed the controversy surrounding Apu during the Television Critics Assn. Press tour, saying, “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,’ the voice or any other tropes of the character is distressing.

“The idea that anybody was marginalized based on it or had a hard time was very upsetting to me personally and professionally.”

The Simpsons‘ producers are yet to comment.

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