Apu is being written out of 'The Simpsons' to 'avoid controversy' following backlash
He's been a mainstay on The Simpsons for what feels like my entire life, but it seems that time has finally run out for Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
According to a producer on the long-running show, the Kwik-E-Mart employee is set to be written out after recent controversies over the character's portrayal.
Creator Matt Groening has repeatedly defended the portrayal of Apu on The Simpsons, previously telling the New York Times;
“I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad.
”But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky.”
“I am sorry that The Simpsons would be criticised for having an Indian character that, because of our extraordinary popularity — I expected other people to do it.
“I go, maybe he’s a problem, but who’s better? Who’s a better Indian animated character in the last 30 years? I’ve been to India twice and talked about The Simpsons in front of audiences. That’s why this took me by surprise. I know Indians are not the same as Indian-Americans.”
Documentary, The Problem with Apu, from Hari Kondabolu intensified the spotlight on what some consider a racist portrayal of Indian-Americans. Indeed, a recent episode of The Simpsons sought to address the issue, with Lisa saying, "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect... What can you do?"
But now, Adi Shankar, a producer on the show, has revealed that he has it from multiple sources that Apu will be dropped altogether;
"I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether. They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy."
He added that he felt the decision was a mistake, saying;
"If you are a show about cultural commentary and you are too afraid to comment on the culture, especially when it’s a component of the culture you had a hand in creating, then you are a show about cowardice. It’s not a step forward, or step backwards, it’s just a massive step sideways. After having read all these wonderful scripts, I feel like sidestepping this issue doesn’t solve it when the whole purpose of art, I would argue, is to bring us together."
The Simpsons has been running for a quite incredible length of time - the first episode aired in 1989 and there are now 30 seasons of the show, comprising 642 episodes.