An Argentinian news outlet aired an image of “The Simpsons” character Apu when announcing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival in Buenos Aires for the G20 summit Thursday.
Cronica TV used an image of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon — a fictional Indian character (voiced by Hank Azaria) from the popular animated Fox series — alongside footage of Modi arriving by plane, with the text “Llegó Apu,” which translates from Spanish into English as, “Apu arrives.”
Argentinian reporter Patrick Gillespie captured the image and tweeted it Thursday:
— Patrick Gillespie (@Pat_Gillespie) November 29, 2018
Cronica TV’s use of the image of Apu — a character frequently at the center of conversations regarding stereotypes about the Indian-American community — sparked criticism and debate among several Twitter users, including Hari Kondabolu, the comic who made the 2017 documentary “The Problem With Apu.”
“This couldn’t be true, right?” the filmmaker tweeted.
“This is quite astonishing, ridiculous and racist. #Modi‘s arrival at the G20 summit ‘announced with Apu meme,'” BBC News correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan tweeted.
“Very dissapointed to see this from @CronicaTV,” one user tweeted. “He is the prime minister of our country and in your attempt of humour you have stereotyped and lowered the image of the post of PM and the country. #ApuArrived.”
One user defended the outlet, writing: “Crónica Tv always makes jokes about EVERYONE. for someone who dosent know the chanel could be a little racist. But Im not deffending them either. ARG deals with bigger problems than racism right now.”
See more reactions below.
This couldn’t be true, right? https://t.co/xiEzNgpXip
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) November 30, 2018
Crónica Tv always makes jokes about EVERYONE. for someone who dosent know the chanel could be a little racist. But Im not deffending them either. ARG deals with bigger problems than racism right now
— Kvote. (@Clarixty_16) November 30, 2018
— Rajini Vaidyanathan (@BBCRajiniV) November 30, 2018
………….sure, of course this would happen. https://t.co/rRRWzVnfIb
— Keith Justice Hayward (@keithhayward) November 30, 2018
In Argentina we do not have racial problems, that's why we can make that kind of jokes.
— Satoshi (@AnibalSatoshi) November 30, 2018