'The Simpsons': Claims Apu Is Being Written Out Of Show Dismissed By Producer Al Jean

It would appear the Kwik-E-Mart owner won't be dropped after all.

‘The Simpsons’ showrunner Al Jean has dismissed the suggestion that controversial character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is being written out of the show.

Apu has been at the centre of debate for some time now, with the 2017 documentary ‘The Problem With Apu’ putting forward an argument that the character perpetuates stereotypes about South-Asian people, particularly as he is voiced by white actor Hank Azaria.

Apu in 'The Simpsons'
Apu in 'The Simpsons'

Film producer Adi Shankar made headlines last week when he claimed that Apu was to be dropped from the show without fanfare, though this has now been shrugged off by Al Jean.

Addressing Adi’s comments on Twitter, Al wrote: “Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.”

Back in May, Adi made headlines when he launched a competition giving ‘Simpsons’ fans the chance to pen an episode which would handle the Apu issue better than the show managed to itself, in a much-derided scene earlier this year.

He has said the winning entry, selected by a jury of South Asian people who work in the entertainment industry, will be presented to the writers’ room at ‘The Simpsons’, as well as Fox Broadcasting Company, who are behind the long-running show.

If they rejected the script, Adi vowed to create it himself, “as an unofficial fan-film that looks identical to an official ‘Simpsons’ episode”.

Adi Shankar
Adi Shankar
Dominique Charriau via Getty Images

Hank Azaria, who has voiced Apu for almost 30 years, said in the wake of the controversy that he would be willing to “step aside” if fans felt that’s what was the best response to the backlash.

‘Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening has proved less willing to acknowledge the criticisms, though, writing them off as people “pretending to be offended”.

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