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‘Simpsons’ Ends White Actors Playing Non-White Characters

(Image credit: Fox)

 Black voices matter now in Springfield.

“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” the long-running show said in a statement released by Fox Entertainment.

The move comes as more businesses are making statements about ending violence against African-American  and promoting racial equality following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25

Most of the voices of the myriad characters on the on the long-running animated show are done by small troupe of actors

Harry Shearer has provided the voice of Dr. Hibbert, the family doctor with an IQ of 155

Hank Azaria has been the voice of Lou, the smartest officer on the Springfield police force and Carl, an African-American who works with Homer Simpson at the nuclear power plant. 

Azaria stepped down as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the convenience store owner after a documentary criticized the character as stereotyping South Asians.

On Thursday Jenny Slate, who has been the voice of the Black character Missy on Big Mouth, which is on Netflix, said she would no longer play the part.

"At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play Missy because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I," Slate wrote in a statement. "But Missy is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people...In my playing Missy, I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people."

Also on Thursday, Kristen Bell said she would no longer provide the voice for Molly Tillermand on Apple TV Plus’s animated series Central Park.

"This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity," said Bell in a statement. "Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience."

Shortly after George Floyd’s death, Cops was canceled by ViacomCBS’s Paramount Network and Live PD was ended by A&E Network 

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.