Producers of The Simpsons have announced that their long-running Indian character, Apu, will be written out of the show due to increased complaints that he reflects an insulting racial stereotype, NME reported.
The nearly 30-year-old animated sitcom has featured Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon as a wise-cracking, and sometimes clueless, father of eight children.
Apu first appeared in 1990, early in the series. But criticism has been mounting over the depiction of the character. With the character being a convenience store owner and sporting a heavy accent, it has been deemed a “racist” depiction of an Indian-American. People of Indian heritage have slammed the heavily accented cartoon character for reinforcing stereotypes they insist can lead to bullying and self-loathing.
The series has acknowledged that the character has become a problem. Indeed, The Simpsons did make a small attempt to wink and nod at the issue with the Apu character. In the April episode titled, “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” one segment dealt with the stereotypes that were once accepted in society but have become problematic today.
In the episode, Lisa Simpson tells her mother, Marge, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” As Lisa delivered the line, a framed photo of Apu is seen sitting on a bedstand next to her.
But now, that problem is about to disappear into thin air. And some are not happy with the plans.
Indie film producer and Indian-American Adi Shankar attempted to raise fan support for a Simpsons episode that would deal with the show’s “Apu problem.”