The Simpsons Will No Longer Have White Actors Voice Characters of Color

On Friday, June 26, producers for The Simpsons announced the change to their casting process.
By McKenna Aiello Jun 27, 2020 12:19 AMTags
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The Simpsons is making a change to its casting process. 

On Friday, June 26, producers for the animated sitcom told E! News in a statement, "Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters."

Earlier this year, The Simpsons actor Hank Azaria, who is white, said he would no longer voice Apu following years of criticism surrounding the show's portrayal of the Indian-American convenience store owner. 

Also on Friday, Family Guy writer and producer Mike Henry said he was parting way with his character on the animated Fox series. He tweeted, "It's been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role."

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Within hours of each other on June 24, both Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell stepped down from their roles as biracial characters on Big Mouth and Central Park, respectively. 

Related: Kristen Bell Steps Down as Voice for Biracial Character

Slate's announcement read in part, "...in me playing Missy, I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people. Ending my portrayal of Missy is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions." 

As for Bell, her statement read, "Playing the character of Molly on Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience. It was wrong and we, on the Central Park team, are pledging to make it right."