Film producer Adi Shankar has confirmed that The Simpsons is planning to remove Apu following the recent controversy surrounding the character.
“I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether,” quoted Shankar to IndieWire. “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.”
Following Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary, The Problem With Apu, more pressure had been mounting for the animated series to address the racist portrayal of Indians and South Asians stemming from the convenience store owner, voiced by Hank Azaria. A recent South Park episode even called out the show’s “bigotry and hate,” followed by the hashtag #CancelTheSimpsons.
Shankar had previously launched a contest for a spec script to help the show solve the Apu problem, and provide a more realistic portrayal of Indian-Americans before learning about the show’s plans to quietly remove the character altogether. Now, he plans on producing the winning script through his series, Bootleg Universe.
A representative for the show simply stated that Apu had appeared in the 10/14/18 episode titled ‘My Way or the Highway to Heaven,’ where he is depicted as an angel alongside other characters.