Mandy Crew USA

The Problem with Apu is calling out the racist stereotypes in The Simpsons

NEW documentary "The Problem with Apu" focuses on a white man playing an Indian corner shop owner in The Simpsons.

5th December 2017
/ By Matthew Whitehouse

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Hari Kondabolu's film analyses the globally-successful, animated show – featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie – for its portrayal of Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

"The Simpsons is an important work of art that has influenced so many, including myself," Kondabolu told the BBC.

"Apu was the only Indian we had on TV at all so I was happy for any representation as a kid.

"And of course he’s funny, but that doesn’t mean this representation is accurate or right or righteous.”

“It gets to the insidiousness of racism, though, because you don’t even notice it when it’s right in front of you. It becomes so normal that you don’t even think about it."

Voiced by comedy and voice over legend Hank Azaria, the character has been a part of the show for decades.

Speaking to TMZ Azalia said it was upsetting that Apu was offensive or hurtful to anybody.

“I think the documentary made some really interesting points and gave us a lot at The Simpsons to think about, and we really are thinking about it,” the comedian said.

“And definitely anybody that was hurt or offended by any character or vocal performance is really upsetting that that was offensive or hurtful to anybody, and I think it’s an important conversation and one definitely worth having, so thanks for asking.”

The Problem with Apu has led to some fans calling for the character to be "killed off" but Kondabolu pleaded for the animation writers not to do so.

“To @TheSimpsons Writers: Please do NOT remove Apu from The Simpsons. Killing him is lazy writing & an insult to the show’s legacy,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Let him be upwardly mobile & own multiple Qwik E Marts. Let his kids talk. Plots have been repeating for years & tweaks provide tons of new stories.”

The Problem with Apu was released on the November 19 via TruTV.