The Simpsons will stop letting white actors voice non-white characters, the long-running animated series announced Friday. Currently, Carl Carlson, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Lou and Akira are all voiced by Hank Azaria. Dr. Julius Hibbert is voiced by Harry Shearer. Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon has been voiced by two separate white actresses. And Kumiko Albertson, Cookie Kwan and Cosine Tangent are all voiced by Tress MacNeille.
“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” the series said in an emailed statement.
CNET sister site TV Guide pointed out the move follows Kristen Bell stepping down from playing her biracial character on Central Park, while the voice actor of Family Guy’s Cleveland Brown has also stepped away from his role saying “persons of color should play characters of color.”
The Family Guy series didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Azaria said earlier this year he would no longer voice Apu, following backlash after a 2017 documentary criticized the racial stereotypes used to represent an Indian character.
The move follows calls to improve representation in media amid the current civil rights movement. Black Lives Matter protests continue across the US and globally as people demonstrate against the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and other victims of police brutality, and against systemic racism.
Black Lives Matter. Visit blacklivesmatter.carrd.co to learn how to donate, sign petitions and protest safely.
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