Hank Azaria, the actor who voices “The Simpsons” character Apu, said he feels the need to go to “every single Indian person in” the “country and apologize.”
“I needed to shut up… and listen and learn,” the 56-year-old actor shared during his appearance on the “Armchair Expert” podcast about voicing the Indian immigrant that runs Springfield’s Kwik-E-Mart. The comments were noted by the Daily Mail in a piece published Tuesday. (RELATED: FACT CHECK: Did The ‘The Simpsons’ Predict The Death Of George Floyd In A 1990s Episode?)
‘Simpsons’ Actor Hank Azaria Feels He Needs Apologize to Every Indian for Apu https://t.co/I04PTzhtVn
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) April 12, 2021
“And that took a while,” he added. “This was not a two-week process: I needed to educate myself a lot.” (RELATED: A Well-Loved ‘Simpsons’ Character May Never Be The Same After A Comedian Cries Racism)
“I really didn’t know any better,” Azaria continued. “I didn’t think about it. I was unware how much relative advantage I had received in this country as a white kid from Queens.”
“Just because there were good intentions it doesn’t mean there weren’t real negative consequences to the thing that I am accountable for,” Hank said.
At one point, he turned to one of the co-hosts of the podcast, Monica Padman, who is an Indian-American, and apologized to her directly.
“I know you weren’t asking for that but it’s important,” the comedian shared. “I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that. Part of me feels I need to go round to every single Indian person in this country and apologize.
“I realized I have had a date with destiny with this thing for 31 years,” he added.
In 2017, a documentary titled “The Problem With Apu” by Hari Kondabolu claimed the character played on racist and harmful stereotypes. Azaria was called out in the piece and he later stepped down from voicing the character, Entertainment Tonight reported.