Hank Azaria has apologised to "every single Indian person" for voicing Apu in 'The Simpsons'
The 56-year-old actor has expressed his regret about portraying the Indian shopkeeper on the long-running sitcom, after standing down from the role last year amid accusations of racial stereotyping
16 April 2021
Speaking to Dax Shepard and Monica Padman on the 'Armchair Expert' podcast, he said: "I really do apologise. I know you weren’t asking for that but it’s important. I apologise for my part in creating that and participating in that.
© 2021 Bang Showbiz, NZCity
"Part of me feels I need to go round to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologise."
Hank - who joined the iconic comedy series in 1989 - now concedes that the character contributed towards "structural racism" in the US.
However, he also insisted that, for a long time, he simply "didn't know any better".
He said: "I really didn’t know any better. I didn’t think about it.
"I was unaware 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."
In the sitcom, Apu runs the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store and various storylines involving the character - like the time he acquired a forged birth certificate from local mobsters - have provoked criticism over the years.
Hari Kondabolu - the comedian who made the 2017 documentary, 'The Problem with Apu' - has welcomed Hank's apology on Twitter.
However, he also sees it as "comeuppance" for the sitcom.
He wrote on the micro-blogging platform: "The “Apu Controversy” is not real. Racism isn’t “controversial,” it’s a constant. Unless you think People of Color finally standing up for themselves is “controversial.”
"However, I suppose a word like “controversy” is more clickable than “comeuppance.” (sic)"