The Simpsons addresses Apu racial stereotype controversy

The Simpsons fans took to Twitter Sunday night to criticize the show’s response to recent accusations suggesting Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon promotes racist stereotypes of India and Indian people.


The latest episode, No Good Read Goes Unpunished made a nod to the accusations made by the Indian-American comic Hari Kondabolu last year, saying the character was founded on racial stereotypes. However, some viewers found it insufficient while others defended the show and said all its characters were stereotypes.

The long-time running animation was voiced by a white actor, who puts on a heavy fabricated Indian accent.

The episode comes after the documentary The problem with Apu was released last November. In this documentary, he said Apu was one of the few representations of South-East Asians on US television when he was growing up and other children imitated the character to mock him.

Back in the episode, Marge and Lisa indirectly discuss the portrayal of Apu. The mother and daughter talk about a new edited version of The Princess in the Garden and how it had been altered to be acceptable and inoffensive in 2018. Lisa turns to the camera and says: “It’s hard to say. Something that started a long time ago decades ago, that was applauded and was inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”

A framed photo of Apu was also shown, with the words “Don’t have a cow, man” — Bart’s once-ubiquitous phrase — written underneath.

Some people on social media said the brief reference brushed off an important debate, while others pointed out that a lot of characters in the fictional town of Springfield are based on stereotypes.


Hari Kondabolu – the founder of the documentary- posted a series of tweets after the episode, expressing his disappointment at how the makers addressed the controversy.



Here’s the aforementioned debated part of the scene: