The actress and model was born in India but moved to New York to study when she was a teenager, admitting that she faced frequent bullying and ignorant comparisons to the character when she arrived in the US.
Speaking about the current conversation, which was amplified by the 2017 documentary ‘The Problem With Apu’, Priyanka told ‘The View’: “ lot of people are talking about, ‘Oh, the show was so successful for 30 years, why are we suddenly waking up and being offended by a character that everyone loved?’
“What happened from that time to now, the population of Indian Americans has tripled. So the voice is louder. Representation for people of colour is louder. There’s the Internet and the media, where people can have a conversation.”
Sharing her own experiences, she continued: “I was always asked when I was in high school at 14, 15, why I didn’t speak like that… so I think, yes, it is a time where, why try to erase stereotype?
“Yes, it is a cartoon. Yes, it’s a pop culturally super successful show. But that gives it more responsibility. It’s out of date on so many levels.”
While ‘The Problem With Apu’ was debuted last year, the conversation restarted last month, when ‘The Simpsons’ addressed the matter in a much-derided scene.
Actor Hank Azaria - who has voiced Apu for almost 30 years - has said “stepping aside” from the character “feels right”, while show creator Matt Groening was less accepting of the criticism, dismissing the backlash was “people pretending to be offended”.