The Simpsons’ solution to Apu backlash: Drop him
The Simpsons may have solved “The Problem with Apu.”
Producers are reportedly planning to write the brown-skinned shopkeeper off the animated show in an effort to silence allegations of racial stereotyping about Indian-Americans.
Producer Adi Shankar, who does not work for the show, said Fox will “drop the Apu character altogether,” according to his interview with IndieWire published Friday. “They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid controversy.”
The Indian-American producer said two people who work for the long-running show and one who work for its creator, Matt Groening, told him the “disheartening news.”
Shankar set out to save Apu earlier this year by crowd-sourcing a script that would make the character more PC with a storyline that “evolves him in a way that takes a creation that was the byproduct of a predominately Harvard-educated white male writers’ room and transforms it into a fresh, funny and realistic portrayal of Indians in America,” Shankar said.
Shankar’s efforts came months after Fox’s Apu troubles — which have been brewing for years — erupted with the airing of a damning documentary entitled “The Problem With Apu.” The short film highlighted the stereotypes Apu embodies — including his heavy Indian accent and a job as an immigrant running a Kwik-E-Mart.
Fox, when asked about the alleged Apu axing, told IndieWire only that “Apu appeared in the 10/14/18 episode ‘My Way or the Highway to Heaven.’” But he appeared only briefly in a group shot with dozens of other characters.