'The Simpsons' Will No Longer Have White Actors Voice Characters Of Color

Madison Lennon

Fox's long-running animated series The Simpsons will be recasting several characters of color currently being voiced by white actors, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Moving forward, 'The Simpsons' will no longer have White actors voice non-White characters," said a statement released by the series.

Earlier this year, Hank Azaria stopped voicing the character of Apu on the series.

It was a notable change since The Simpsons had "resisted calls that a South Asian actor take over the role of Apu," for years prior to Azaria's decision.

The subject of Apu's casting became such a controversial topic that it was even the focal point of a 2017 documentary called The Problem with Apu created by comedian Hari Kondabolu.

Since then, the show's writers seem to have changed their stance on inclusivity in voice acting.

Aside from Apu, Azaria lent his voice to other non-white characters, including police officer Lou and Carl Carlson, both of whom are Black. He also voices Bumblebee Man, who is a Hispanic character in the series.

Other voice actors playing non-white characters on The Simpsons include Harry Shearer and Tress MacNeille. Given the statement issued by the series, it would seem their roles will soon be recast.

Aside from The Simpsons, another popular animated series on Fox, Family Guy, will lose the voice actor of the show's main Black character, Cleveland Brown.

Mike Henry has voiced Cleveland since the Seth McFarlane show first started airing. However, yesterday he revealed that he would be stepping down from the role.

"I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role," Henry wrote.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Fox and Family Guy producer 20th Century Fox TV declined comment. 'The Hollywood Reporter' has reached out to reps for creator Seth MacFarlane. (MacFarlane retweeted Henry's statement on Friday.)"

Both shows join the likes of Netflix's Big Mouth and Apple TV+'s Central Park, which are both recasting biracial characters that were previously voiced by white actresses. Kristen Bell exited the role of Molly on Central Park while Jenny Slate recently announced she would no longer portray Missy on Big Mouth.

The Hollywood Reporter also reported that BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has since taken to his Twitter account to acknowledge that he should not have allowed Alison Brie to play Diane Nguyen, a Vietnamese American character.

He wrote that he had wanted to "write AWAY from stereotypes and create an Asian American character who wasn't defined solely by her race," but admitted that he may have gone "too far in the other direction."