'The Simpsons' showrunner weighs in on report of Apu exit
Migael Pimentel, 9, holds up an Apu saying as he has his photo taken at the Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart Truck at South Bites Food during SXSW at the Austin Convention Center, Sunday, March 15, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Deborah Cannon)
Is “The Simpsons” about to say “Thank you, don’t come again” to one of its most enduring characters?
Apu, the Indian-American convenience store owner character on the long-running animated sitcom, has been criticized for reinforcing negative stereotypes of Indian culture.
The debate has even been the subject of a documentary, “The Problem With Apu” by comedian Hari Kondabolu.
Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, has said he hopes the show’s producers decide to eliminate the character, calling it “the right thing to do.”
As time moved on with no official word about Apu’s status on the show, film producer Adi Shankar made headlines for launching a crowdfunding campaign to developed a script that would include a smart, sensible and funny way to remove the character from the show.
Shankar told IndieWire last week that he had found the “perfect script” but been told that the show’s producers would prefer to kick Apu off the show without any fanfare.
“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,” he told IndieWire.
Al Jean, who has been the head creative voice on “The Simpsons” for the past 20 of its 30 seasons, responded on Twitter Sunday evening.
“I wish [Shankar] the very best but he does not speak for our show,” Jean said.
Jean did not comment on Apu’s future on the show.