‘The Simpsons’ Creator Brushes Off Apu Criticism: ‘People Love to Pretend They’re Offended’

“I’m proud of what we do on the show,” Matt Groening tells USA Today

Matt Groening
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“The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening doesn’t have much to say in response to criticism of the show’s Indian character, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

“I’m proud of what we do on the show,” Groening said in an interview with USA Today. “And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.”

The character has been criticized as a stereotypical portrayal of Indian immigrants, and because it is voiced by a white actor. The debate was reignited earlier this month when the show seemed to disregard the matter in a recent episode.

Set up as a response to comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary “The Problem with Apu,” the episode seemed to shrug at the entire debate.

“Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” one character asks in the episode, to which another responds, “Some things will be dealt with at a later date.”

For his part, Hank Azaria, who has voiced Apu since 1990, said he would be “perfectly happy and willing to step aside” if that would help alleviate some of the issues with the character.

“I think the most important thing is we have to listen to South Asian people, Indian people in this country when they talk about what they feel, how they think about this character, and what their American experience of it [is],” he said during an appearance on CBS’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” last week.