Published Aug 27, 2019In response to various rumours, Matt Groening has finally addressed the controversy surrounding the South Asian The Simpsons character, Apu. According to Groening, Apu will remain in the show despite a massive insurgence of complaints from fans — and Hari Kondabolu — that the character's depiction is racist.
The announcement comes as a part of Disney +'s recent acquisition of all 30 seasons of the show in its merger with 21st Century Fox. Groening appeared at this year's D23 Expo over the weekend and spoke candidly about what the merger means for The Simpsons, as well as the decision to keep Apu (who is currently voiced by Hank Azaria, a white man who has openly admitted the character is meant to be offensive).
In a telling moment at the D23 Expo, Groening even said, "We love Apu. We're proud of Apu."
He continued, "Some people are offended by the character and I take that very seriously. Others really love the character. It's a difficult choice. I don't want to offend people but we also want to be funny. We don't want to be totally politically correct. That has never been us. It's given us a lot of thought."
Kondabolu famously called out The Simpsons creators in his 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu. In the documentary, Kondabolu interviews South Asian people to talk about the impact that stereotypical representations like Apu had on them in their lives. Spoiler: they weren't happy.
Rumours that Apu would be removed from the show surfaced about a year ago. Kondabolu spoke out against killing off the character at the time, stating that "there are so many ways to make Apu work without getting rid of him."
So far, Kondabolu has yet to comment on Groening's recent remarks.
In 2018, Groening spoke with Exclaim! in an interview about his latest series Disenchantment. At the time, he refused to comment on the Apu debate.
The 31st season of The Simpsons will premiere on September 29.