White actors will no longer play non-white characters on The Simpsons

Carla Harmon
June 29, 2020

Producers of "The Simpsons" say white actors will no longer voice non-white characters on the show, while the white actor who plays Cleveland Brown on "Family Guy" is stepping down from the role. Earlier in the day, Family Guy star Mike Henry revealed that he would no longer voice the show's popular Black character Cleveland Brown, a character he's voiced since 1999. The character even had his own spin-off series, "The Cleveland Show", that aired on FOX from 2009 to 2013.

The Simpsons on Fox will no longer allow white actors to voice non-white roles - a decision that is likely to impact a range of beloved supporting characters on the long-running animated series including Dr. Julius Hibbert, Carl Carlson, Judge Roy Snyder, and the Bumblebee Man.

The decision includes a recurring character from the series, launched in 1989 - Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, a grocer of Indian origin voiced in the American version of the show by white actor Hank Azaria. I enjoy this character, but people of color need to enjoy figures of color.

Following the death of African-American George Floyd in the hands of Minnesota police, the protests against racial injustice have rippled to impact more concerned groups.

Animated TV comedy The Simpsons (1989 to present) is ending the use of white actors to voice characters of colour.

The announcement comes after a widespread conversation on USA pop culture and racism following mass protests over the police brutality against the former footballer George Floyd. "We all agreed on it", he said. "Therefore, I will be stepping down from this role". "We all feel like it's the right thing and good about it".

"I acknowledge how my original reasoning was flawed, that it existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made with a system of societal white supremacy and that in me playing "Missy", I was engaging in an act of erasure of black people".

"Casting a mixed race character [with a] white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience", she said in her statement.

In 2017, The Problem With Apu was released, a documentary written by comedian Hari Kondabolu and which addresses the feelings of South Asian descendants that the animated character was one of the few representations of their community on television.

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