The long-running cartoon The Simpsons will no longer use white actors to portray non-white characters, Fox announced on Friday, making it one of a number of television shows in the last week to make changes in the wake of anti-racism protests across the U.S.
All non-white characters voiced by white actors will be recast, including Hank Azaria, who plays Carl Carlson, and Harry Shearer, who plays Dr. Hibbert.
In the past, white voice actor Tress Macneille has also protayed non-white characters, including Apu’s wife, Manjula; Dr. Hibbert’s wife, Bernice; and Cookie Kwan.
The Simpsons has long been scrutinized for how it handles race. The show had been under fire for the character of Apu for years. Azaria, who is white, said he would no longer play the character this year because it leaned on stereotypes of South Asians.
The Simpsons isn’t the only animated show to announce that white voice actors will no longer play non-white characters. Actress Kristen Bell said she would no longer voice a biracial girl on the Apple TV-produced musical cartoon Central Park. Comedian Jenny Slate said she won’t portray Missy, a Jewish and Black girl, on Netflix’s cartoon Big Mouth. And Mike Henry, who plays Cleveland Brown on Family Guy, said he is stepping down on Friday.
I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. I’ve previously reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.