“Going forward, the Simpsons will no longer have white actors shouting non-white characters,” Fox spokesman Les Eisner said in a statement on Friday.
During the three decades since the animated comedy series began, he has used white actors to play a number of non-white characters, such as Harry Saeer as Dr. July Hibert and Hank Azaria as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
In January, Azaria announced that it would stop calling Apu after 30 years of playing the highly acclaimed Indo-American character. Azerbaijan is not South Asia.
The decision to remove Azaria from expressing Apu was reciprocal, according to the actor. “We all agreed on that,” he said. “We all feel good about it.”
“My documentary The Problem with Apu was not made to get rid of a dated cartoon character, but to discuss my race, representation and community (which I love very much),” Kondabolu wrote. “It was also about how you can love something (like the Simpsons) and be critical of its aspects (Apu).”
In his paper, Kondabolu interviewed celebrities of South Asian descent, including Aziz Ansari and Kal Penn, to discuss how descriptions like Apu can be considered racism.
In the episode, young Lisa Simpson said, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and aggressive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” Then Lisa looked at a picture of Apu with the caption, “You don’t have a cow.”
“The idea that anyone – young or old, past or present – was intimidated or harassed based on Apu’s character makes me really sad,” said Azaria, who expresses other characters on the show.
“It was definitely not my intention,” he said. “I wanted to spread laughter and joy with this character, and the idea that it brought pain and suffering in any way, that it was used to marginalize people, is annoying.”
Frank Pallotta, Brian Lowry and Leah Asmelash of CNN contributed to this article.