In the three decades that he has been a voice actor on The Simpsons, Hank Azaria has played dozens of Springfield’s absurd denizens on that long-running animated Fox comedy, including the surly bartender Moe, the inept lawman Chief Wiggum and the adenoidal bookworm Professor Frink.But in recent years, Azaria has become irrevocably associated with one Simpsons character in particular: Apu, the obliging Indian immigrant and proprietor of the town’s Kwik-E-Mart convenience store.
To these critics, many of whom are of Indian descent, Apu is a servile stereotype. As voiced by Azaria, who is white, Apu’s ethnic accent and his catchphrase, “Thank you! Come again!”, have become grating slurs.In a statement, the executive producers of The Simpsons said: “We respect Hank’s journey in regard to Apu. We have granted his wish to no longer voice the character.”