The Simpsons' creator Matt Groening has spoken publicly about the recent controversy concerning the voicing of Indian character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
One of America's most beloved shows has come under unprecedented fire over the last year due to the cultural stereotyping of Indian Kwik-e-Mart employee Apu. And while Hank Azaria, the voice actor of Apu and countless other characters, went on a talk show to offer his resignation, Matt Groening defended the voicing of Apu in an extraordinary interview with USA Today.
When asked if Apu was a stereotype, Groening dismissed any wrongdoing: "Not really. I'm proud of what we do on the show. And I think it's a time in our culture where people love to pretend they're offended."
However, executive producer and writer Al Jean appeared to take a different line to the show's creator and instead wrote on Twitter, "I truly appreciate all responses pro and con. Will continue to try to find an answer that is popular & more important right."
The Apu controversy was briefly acknowledged in a recent Simpsons episode titled 'No Good Read Goes Unpunished'. The episode saw Marge read Lisa an edited text of a book full of culturally insensitive sections.
Turning to the camera, Lisa appears to place a subtle dig at the recent criticisms levied against the show: "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?"
Critics quickly came down harshly on the response, describing it as 'toothless' and a 'jab at progress'.
The man behind the documentary, American comedian Hari Kondabolu, released a document last year called The Problem With Apu, which criticized the show for perpetuating racist, lazy stereotypes, and also placed a dig at Groening for employing a white man to voice a character of South Asian descent.
Does Matt Groening have a point? Or does Kondabolu's documentary raise some valid points?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.