‘The Simpsons’ will no longer have white actors playing non-white roles

The Simpsons it is catching up with the times.

“Going forward, The Simpsons There will no longer be white actors voicing non-white characters, “said a statement from the show’s producers, released Friday (h / t Hollywood reporter) The move comes amid a Hollywood calculation that has seen numerous individuals and creative teams come to terms with the role they have played in reinforcing entrenched racism in the United States.

In the last week alone, multiple episodes of 30 rocks They were removed from the broadcast and syndication because they contained scenes with white actors in Blackface. (There are still other things that people would like to see 30 rocks address, for what it’s worth.)

Elsewhere, Big Mouth and Central Park they both made casting changes to give people of color roles for BIPOC characters who had previously been voiced by white women. Jenny Slate voluntarily stepped down from her role as Missy in Big Mouth on Wednesday and Central Park The creators confirmed shortly after that Kristen Bell will no longer be the voice of the biracial character Molly on the Apple TV + series.

What took The Simpsons A little extra time to catch up and impose a change is not a surprise. The show has been slow to tackle its own struggles with representation in the past, a fact most directly highlighted by the 2017 Hari Kondabolu documentary, The problem with Apu, and the time that existed before the program took any significant action.

Kondabolu’s deep dive specifically focuses on the character of Apu, the owner of Springfield Kwik-E-Mart. Apu’s original concept is based on the Indian stereotypes that proliferated in the United States, including his exaggerated accent and his daily work in a convenience store. The documentary explores Apu’s creation and the deleterious effect its presence had on young Americans of South Asian descent.

While the documentary was released in late 2017, it wasn’t until early 2020 that there was a real change The Simpsons. In January, Apu voice actor Hank Azaria revealed that he would no longer be playing that role on the show, framing it as a “mutual decision” made in conjunction with the show’s creative team that “we all agreed.”

Even then, months before the national protests that erupted after George Floyd’s police murder on May 25, Apu’s revelation raised more questions. People wanted to know, what about the other Springfield characters who have similar roots in regressive stereotypes or are just taking the job away from BIPOC?

The recently announced change should affect a number of key figures in Springfield. Azaria also voices Bumblebee Man, who is Hispanic; and Springfield Police Carl Carlson, who is black. There are also Dr. James Hibbert, Judge Roy Snyder (both voiced by Harry Shearer), and Apu’s wife, Manjula, voiced by Tress MacNeille.

There are others, too. The statement doesn’t clarify exactly which voices are changing, perhaps because the show’s producers are still figuring it out. There is a sizable cast of main characters that repeat from season to season, but many of Springfield residents appear sporadically that longer-time repeat offenders could be something the show addresses on a case-by-case basis.

Family man, another popular Fox animated comedy, is also slated for some changes. Mike Henry, who is white, confirmed on Twitter on Friday that he will no longer give voice to the Cleveland character, who is black. Cleveland has been a regular series since the early days of Family manIt was even popular enough to deserve a four-season spinoff, beginning in 2009.