Big Simpsons change after 30 years
The producers of the hit TV comedy show 'The Simpsons' have announced that they are going to stop casting white actors to voice characters of colour.
Instead, voice actors will share the same ethnicity as the character they're playing.
The announcement, made on Friday, comes as people around the world have rallied in memory of George Floyd, a black man who died while in Minneapolis police custody.
His death has sparked an international Black Lives Matter movement, which has seen the 'cancellation' of many controversial portrayals of people of colour in the entertainment industry.
"Moving forward, 'The Simpsons' will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters," they said in a statement on Friday.
The move follows years of public pressure about the Fox television show's Indian convenience store character Apu, who has been voiced by white man Hank Azaria.
Mr Azaria has also voiced the Simpsons characters of Black police officer Lou, Homer's power plant colleague Carl Carlson and the Mexican-American Bumblebee Man.
The white actor Harry Shearer has played Dr Hibbert, who is black.
The Simpsons' announcement did not say whether Apu or the other characters would remain on the series.
The Simpsons is the longest-running show on American television, going for 30 years, and is syndicated in more than 100 countries.
This TV show is not alone. In light of the BLM protests, other popular TV shows have decided to take a stance and replace white actors with black ones, to authentically represent that minority group.
Other white actors, including Mike Henry of animated series Family Guy and Kristen Bell of Central Park, have refused to voice characters of colour any longer.
It was wrong and we, on the Central Park team, are pledging to make it right. I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal and I will commit to learning, growing and doing my part for equality and inclusion. pic.twitter.com/k8N73pAXOw— Kristen Bell (@KristenBell) June 25, 2020
"It's been an honour to play Cleveland on 'Family Guy' for 20 years," Mr Henry said on Twitter on Friday.
"I love this character, but persons of colour should play characters of colour. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role."
In The Simpsons, Apu's first appearance came on a season one episode called The Telltale Head, uses the catchphrase: "Thank you, come again."
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. pic.twitter.com/FmKasWITKT— Mike Henry (@mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020
Originally published as Big Simpsons change after 30 years