(LOS ANGELES) — For about a year now, The Simpsons character of Apu has been under fire for cultural insensitivity. While the show finally 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 on TruTV last November, criticized the cartoon’s representation of the Kwik-E-Mart owner for its 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.”
Azaria himself told Stephen Colbert that he’d 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 summer press tour that she’s trusting the show’s producers to handle the controversy.
Going forward, she said, “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.
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