Matt Groening Says He Still "Didn't Have a Problem" with White Actors Voicing Non-White Characters on 'The Simpsons'
Published Feb 24, 2021The Simpsons have spent the last few years having an internal battle about what to do with their characters of colour, all of which had been voiced by white actors. This year, they've officially switched over the roles to actors of colour, but Matt Groening still thinks it wasn't really that big a deal.
Speaking with the BBC, Groening said he still didn't really understand the backlash, which started with Hari Kondabolu's The Problem with Apu documentary.
"Times change, but I actually didn't have a problem with the way we were doing it," Groening told the BBC. "All of our actors play dozens of characters each, it was never designed to exclude anyone."
He added: "At a certain point it doesn't matter what you say. You're going to be attacked by whoever, you know? We're not going out of our way to comfort bigots. On the other hand, if you do any kind of gesture and people perceive a weakness, you'll be criticized."
If Groening's tone about how the show is handling things sounds familiar, it is. He pretty much said the same sort of thing a few years back when Hank Azaria quit playing Apu.
To refresh your memory, Groening at the time stated: "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?"
Still, in his new interview, he did agree that the film and TV industry has a problem with a lack of inclusivity. "I absolutely agree with that. And we're trying to make it better," he said. "Bigotry and racism are still an incredible problem and it's good to finally go for more equality and representation."
This week, Harry Shearer officially retired from voicing Dr. Hibbert on the show.