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The Simpsons‘ creator Matt Groening has hit back at the Apu stereotyping controversy, arguing that people “love to pretend they’re offended”.
The long-running show has come in for criticism in the past year following the release of a documentary called The Problem with Apu.
It argued that the character embodied stereotypes of Indian-Americans, and highlighted the problem with having a white actor (Hank Azaria) voice the character with a heavy Indian accent.
However, when asked about whether he had any thoughts on it, Groening told USA Today: “Not really. I’m proud of what we do on the show. And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.”
The show itself addressed the controversy last month, where Marge said that “some things will be dealt with at a later date”, and Lisa added: “If at all.”
Asked about what this line means, Groening said we should “let the show speak for itself”.
Hari Kondabolu, who made the documentary, has since responded to the creator’s comments on Twitter, writing: “Well, that seals it. Matt Groening finally responded & sounds like every other troll on the internet who didn’t see the documentary.
“No one is offended by this character. It was, at times, insulting & was frustrating to many of us who were solely represented by that one image.”
While Groening has defended the show, Azaria himself had a slightly different response, revealing last week that he was willing to “step aside” from the role.
“I’ve given this a lot of thought, and as I say, my eyes have been opened,” he said.
“I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers’ room… including how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced.
“I’m perfectly willing to step aside. It just feels like the right thing to do to me.”
The Simpsons airs on Fox in the US and Sky One in the UK.
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