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The Simpsons will no longer use white actors to voice black characters

It comes after years of scrutiny over the character of Apu, an Indian shopkeeper voiced by a white actor

Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons," poses with his characters Bart (left) and Homer Simpson as he is honored with the 2,459th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood.
Creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, and two of his most famous characters Bart and Homer. Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP

The Simpsons will stop using white actors to voice black and minority ethnic characters, producers have said, amid calls for greater diversity in entertainment.

The animated comedy was created by Matt Groening in 1989, and is syndicated in more than 100 countries.

For years the show has faced pressure for having Hank Azaria - who is white - voicing the Indian shopkeeper Apu, a character described by critics as a problematic South Asian stereotype.

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Azaria said that he would no longer perform the character in January, although he has continued to voice numerous other characters in the show.

Another black character, Dr Hibbert, was up until now voiced by the white actor Harry Shearer.

In a statement, the Fox network said: “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户It comes amid the backdrop of heightened tensions in the US over racism and race issues following mass protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a black American, by police.

An actor on the animated show Family Guy also announced on Friday that he was stepping down from voicing a black character.

Mike Henry, who has voiced Cleveland for the last two decades, said in a social media post: “It’s been an honour to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years.

“I love this character, but persons of colour should play characters of colour. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Similar statements have been made in recent weeks by actors including Frozen star Kristen Bell, who will no longer voice a non-white character in an Apple TV+ comedy.