In January, Azaria announced he would stop voicing the Indian American Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. The characterization was found to be a harmful caricature under the lens of Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu. “I know Apu is one of the smartest characters on The Simpsons,” Kondabolu says in the documentary. “But it’s not why people liked him. They just liked his accent.” Tress MacNeille voices Apu’s wife, Manjula.
There is also no word on who will play African American Springfield police officer Lou, who is voiced by Azaria, as is the character Bumblebee Man, who is Hispanic. We will probably still hear Azaria in the roles of Professor Frink, Comic Book Guy, Dr. Nick, Snake, Kirk Van Houton, Sea Captain, Superintendent Chalmers, and Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel.
Dr. Hibbert, who has been voiced by Shearer for the show’s entire run, appears on the episode in a visual gag with no dialog. In August, Shearer told Times Radio “The job of the actor is to play someone who they’re not.”
In the aftermath of killings which brought the Black Lives Matter movement to mass media attention, representation and diversity are being practiced in the workplace. Mike Henry stepped down as the voices of Cleveland Brown and Consuela on Fox’s Family Guy and the four-season spinoff The Cleveland Show. Kristen Bell stepped down from her role as Molly on Apple TV Plus’ Central Park. Emily Raver-Lampman will play Molly in season 2. Ayo Edebiri will voice Missy on Netflix’s Big Mouth, replacing Jenny Slate. At the request of co-creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, NBCUniversal pulled four episodes of 30 Rock which showed characters in blackface from streaming services and syndication.