Hank Azaria has spoken to Stephen Colbert about recent concerns over Apu.
“I’ve tried to express this before,” he said. “You know, the idea that anybody was—young or old, past or present—was bullied or teased based on the character of Apu, it just really makes me sad. It was certainly not my intention; I wanted to spread laughter and joy with this character, and the idea that it’s brought pain and suffering in any way, that it was used to marginalise people, it’s upsetting. Genuinely.”
“I’ve given this a lot of thought—really a lot of thought,” the actor said. “And as I say, my eyes have been opened. And I think the most important thing is we have to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country when they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character—what their American experience of it has been. As you know, in television terms, ‘listening to voices’ means inclusion in the writers’ room.”
He added,“I’m perfectly willing and happy to step aside or help transition it into something new.
“I really hope that’s what The Simpsons does. It just, it not only makes sense, but it just feels like the right thing to do to me.”