There are unconfirmed reports that, following the controversy around the depiction of its Indian American character Apu, long-running sitcom The Simpsons will simply be phasing him out all together in episodes to come.
The news comes from YouTuber and producer Adi Shankar, who told IndieWire that he has spoken with a source close to Matt Groening and heard that Apu will be quietly dropped from the show. In a recent interview with the publication, he said:
“I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now – they’re going to drop the Apu character altogether. They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.”
Shankar, who produces the ‘Bootleg Universe‘ series of videos, recently ran a competition for a Simpsons script that would subvert the long-established character, or evolve him into a more “realistic portrayal of Indians in America.”
He told IndieWire that he has found the “perfect script”, and he had hoped to present it to Fox so that they would make it into an actual episode of the show, but now he plans to produce it himself as a Bootleg universe video instead.
Apu, the convenience store owner voiced by Hank Azaria, was the subject of a 2017 documentary that claimed he was a hurtful and unrealistic portrayal of Indian Americans, and The Simpsons took a jab at its critics in an episode entitled ‘No Good Read Goes Unpunished‘.
Fox has not directly responded to claims that the character will be written out of the show, and in response to questions from IndieWire, they pointed out that he appeared in an episode that aired just two weeks ago, although he did not have dialogue.