"We are going ahead. The Simpsons will no longer have white actors to ensure the voices of non-white characters," said Fox studios in a statement sent to AFP. The announcement will notably concern a recurring character in the series launched in 1989, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, a grocer of Indian origin who owed his voice in American version to actor Hank Azaria. Last January, the white comedian had announced that, by mutual agreement with the production, he was abandoning this character who had also been accused for a long time of conveying racist stereotypes.
Characters accused of carrying racist stereotypes
The change should also concern the character of Doctor Hibbert, a black man voiced by the white comedian Harry Shearer who also lends his voice to many other characters in the series (Mr Burns the boss of Homer Simpson, his neighbor Ned Flanders, the main Skinner ...) Mike Henry, a white actor who plays Cleveland Brown's black character in The Griffins ( Family Guy in original version), another series produced by Fox, announced on Twitter that he "renounced this role".
The Simpsons have announced they will no longer have white actors voice non-white roles in their series moving forward
Also effective immediately, Mike Henry will also step down from his 20 year voice role as Cleveland Brown in Family Guy in favor of a black voice actor pic.twitter.com/0GyW3oQQ5Z
"It has been an honor to play Cleveland in Family Guy for twenty years. I love this character, but people of color should play characters of color," he says. These announcements come after similar decisions on the part of Netflix ( Big Mouth ) or Apple TV + ( Central Park ), while the American company is in full examination of conscience on its racist past and the discriminations which undermine it, after the Death of George Floyd, black man in his forties, suffocated by a white police officer during his arrest.