Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, revealed that he has plans for the controversial character, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. The character was voiced by Hank Azaria before he stepped down after a public outcry convinced producers to no longer cast white actors to play non-white characters.

“I think the Apu stories are fantastic and he’s one if the most nuanced characters on a silly two-dimensional cartoon show. So yeah, I’m proud of Apu,” Groening told USA Today when asked about the criticism the show received about Apu being a stereotype character. “I’m trying not to open up another chasm of criticism but it doesn’t matter what I say. I’ll get it anyway.”

While promoting the 700th episode of the long-running sitcom, Groening revealed that they haven’t found the right actor to voice Apu yet. “We’re working on something kind of ambitious,” Groening shared. They also had plans for the character “but we have to see if we can make the stories work.”

In June, producers announced that white actors will no longer voice non-white characters. Groening said it wasn’t his idea, but he’s “fine with it.”

“Who can be against diversity? So it’s great. However, I will just say that the actors were not hired to play specific characters. They were hired to do whatever characters we thought of. To me, the amazing thing is seeing all our brilliant actors who can do multiple voices, do multiple voices. That’s part of the fun of animation. However, to be more inclusive and hire more people, I’m completely in favor of that,” he said at the time.

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