Ever since the documentary 'The Problem With Apu' debuted, there's been a debate about whether 'The Simpsons' should retire Apu once and for all as it perpetuates a negative stereotype of Indian people.
Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, has said that he's happy to stop voicing the character if people wish it so. The writers themselves have said that they need to address the character's future. Just this week, Joe Mantegna - who voices mob boss Fat Tony - has said that he feels the issues surrounding Apu is "political correctness gone too far."
In an interview with Metro, Mantegna laid out his thinking for the character.
"I’m an Italian America and I’m playing Fat Tony as an Italian American. Every time I’ve played a character like that… my character David Rossi in 'Criminal Minds', an Italian American, on purpose, on Joan Of Arcadia, series First Monday, an Italian American, because every time I play a gangster it’s Italian American because there was a mafia, why pretend there wasn’t?"
"On the other hand, Frank Sinatra was Italian American, Galileo and Michelangelo were Italian, so in other words, you have to break down those stereotypes – you can't have it both ways," Mantegna explained.
While he added that the topic was a difficult one to grapple with, he added that he felt "some of that controversy... sometimes I feel we’ve taken political correctness perhaps too far. I’m not a big advocate of censorship."
As it stands, IndieWire reported just last month that Apu was being written out of the series. Adi Shankar, who was running a script-writing competition for a spec episode of the 'The Simpsons' dealing with Apu, said that the series producers were planning on writing the character off the show.
Al Jean, who's the showrunner for 'The Simpsons', hasn't yet formally confirmed or denied the story and Matt Groening has only weighed in on the topic to say that he loved the character, and was "sorry that it made people feel bad."