The Simpsons Axes Apu After Backlash Against 'Offensive' Character
Hit TV show forced to write popular Indian-American character out of series
Do you ever get the feeling that just getting out of bed in the morning or simply crossing the street will cause someone, somewhere to have a meltdown?
Welcome to left's politically correct utopia... or as most critically people see it: A liberal nightmare.
The latest victim of the PC agenda is one of The Simpsons' best-loved characters, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
The show's creators have been forced to drop the Indian immigrant proprietor, who runs the Springfield Kwik-E-Mart store, from the line-up after campaigners claimed Apu, voiced by Hank Azaria, was "offensive" and a "racial stereotype."
According to Metro, the issue hit headlines following Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu, in which the comedian interviewed actors and comics of South Asian descent about the portrayal of Indians on the animated series.
However, while creator Matt Groening defended the character of Apu, producer Adi Shankar has confirmed that The Simpsons will no longer feature Apu.
Shankar was crowdsourcing a script to solve "the problem with Apu" and hoped Fox would produce it as a Simpsons episode – however, he was reportedly told the character would be eliminated from the show.
He told IndieWire: "I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether. 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."
Shankar chose a winning script by doctor Vishaal Buch, which will be produced on Shankar’s Bootleg Universe YouTube page.
The script reportedly sees Apu becoming a thriving businessman in Springfield, with the episode also bringing in other prominent Indian-Americans.
Shankar told the website that he believes writing out Apu to avoid the controversy is a mistake.
He said: "If you are a show about cultural commentary and you are too afraid to comment on the culture, especially when it’s a component of the culture you had a hand in creating, then you are a show about cowardice.
"It’s not a step forward, or step backwards, it’s just a massive step sideways.
"After having read all these wonderful scripts, I feel like sidestepping this issue doesn’t solve it when the whole purpose of art, I would argue, is to bring us together."
In response, Fox claimed that Apu featured in an episode of The Simpsons that aired on 14 October called "My Way or the Highway to Heaven" – however, the convenience store owner was simply seen in a massive group shot in heaven.
The Simpsons sort-of, kind-of addressed the Apu controversy in the April 2018 episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished", in which Lisa said to camera: "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" before looking at a picture of Apu.
Marge said: "Some things will be dealt with at a later date," with Lisa replying: "If at all."
And creator Groening recently defended the character, telling the New York Times: "Well, I love Apu. I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad.
"But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now.
"It seems very, very clunky.
"I love the character. I love the show. ‘I go, maybe he’s a problem, but who’s better?'
"Who’s a better Indian animated character in the last 30 years?
"I’ve been to India twice and talked about The Simpsons in front of audiences.
"That’s why this took me by surprise.
"I know Indians are not the same as Indian-Americans."
However, Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, said he would be willing to leave the role, telling Stephen Colbert: "I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it.
"I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers' room…including how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced.
"I’m perfectly willing to step aside.
"It just feels like the right thing to do to me."