In an interview with /Film, Hank Azaria has said that he will no longer voice Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in 'The Simpsons' from now on.
The character has become something of a talking point in recent years following a documentary, 'The Problem With Apu', debuted online. That documentary, made by comedian / filmmaker Hari Kondabolu, explored both the admiration he felt for the character initially but how it changed over the years to be a sign of insidious racism and stereotyping, to a point where he grew to be critical of the character.
In the interim, 'The Simpsons' has attempted to address both the documentary and the conversations surrounding it for some time now. Hank Azaria, as recently as last year, said he was willing to step aside from the character in an interview with Stephen Colbert. However, Azaria has now confirmed that he's no longer voicing the character.
"All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s someway to transition it or something,” Azaria told /Film. "What they’re going to do with the character is their call. It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore."
Going by Azaria's statement, it might just be that Apu will be voiced by an Indian actor or that it may be that the character itself will simply be retired. So far, Al Jean - the showrunner for 'The Simpsons' - hasn't yet publicly commented on Azaria's statement, nor has there been any official confirmation from the show itself.
That being said, this feels like it's a long time coming, as both Apu and 'The Simpsons' itself is fast becoming outdated at a time when people's tastes, values and tolerances have shifted in the three decades since the show began.