For about a year now, “The Simpsons” character Apu has been under fire for alleged cultural insensitivity.
While the show addressed the controversy, it did so in an an offhand way. Now, a Fox executive says the “Apu problem” will remain in the hands of the show’s producers.
Comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary “The Problem with Apu,” which debuted last November, criticized the cartoon’s representation of the fictional Kwik-E-Mart owner as a negative, stereotypical depiction of South Asians — and the fact that a white guy, Hank Azaria, voices him.
“The Simpsons” showrunners waited almost five months before addressing the controversy during an episode of the show in which Lisa Simpson made reference to “something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect.”
“Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect… What can you do?” pic.twitter.com/Bj7qE2FXWN
Azaria himself told Stephen Colbert that he would be willing to “step aside” from the role, and apologized for causing anyone any pain with his characterization.
But on Thursday, Fox TV CEO Dana Walden told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour that she is leaving it up to the show’s producers to handle the controversy.
“Basically, we’ve left it up to them. I think that they’ve treated the show and the characters on the show with so much respect, we definitely trust them to handle it in a way that would be best for their show.”
“I’m not sure yet exactly what they’re going to do, but ultimately we all decided that was their decision,” she added.