The controversy surrounding The Simpsons Indian-origin character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon refuses to die down, but Fox Studio will not be getting involved in it.
Fox chairman and CEO Dana Walden touched upon the controversy during the Television Critics Association press tour and said she has left it to The Simpsons executive producer Jim Brooks and his team to handle the issue.
“We have had the conversation with Jim Brooks and his team and we’ve basically left it up to them,” said Walden. “They’ve treated the characters with so much respect. We trust them to handle it in a way that will be best for the show… Ultimately we decided that would be their decision.”
Fans, especially of Indian-origin, have been criticizing The Simpsons for its portrayal of the Indian-origin character, voiced by actor Hank Azaria.
In April, the show attempted to address the controversy surrounding the character, but many felt the response was unacceptable.
For instance, in the episode No Good Read Goes Unpunished, a photo of Apu is in a frame and Lisa Simpson laments: “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”
Comedian Hari Kondabolu was among the many people who was disappointed with The Simpsons’ response to the Apu controversy.
Kondabolu said the most disappointing aspect was using Lisa, considered the most progressive character on the show, to dismiss the criticism surrounding Apu.
“The punch to the gut was not to the Indian American part of me, oddly enough, it was to the Simpsons fan part. You just sacrificed Lisa? Lisa’s me, man,” Kondabolu said in the interview with The Daily Beast.
“Lisa’s me and you’re telling me that Lisa would say that? As a Simpsons fan, they really had to go on a bit of a journey to justify that. They had to find some way for themselves to be like, ‘You know what? We’re just going to nip this in the bud by using this character to say something she would absolutely not say’.”