“I love the character”: Matt Groening speaks out against criticism of ‘racist’ Apu

"I love the character. I love the show."

The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has responded once more to recent accusations that the character of Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is racist.

Last year, US documentary The Problem With Apu followed comedian and Simpsons fan Hari Kondabolu as he investigated the problematic nature of the iconic shop-owner and whether he promotes racial stereotypes.

But while voice actor Hank Azaria previously confirmed that he was willing to “step aside”, Groening has now offered a passionate defence of the character.

“I love Apu. I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad”, he told the New York Times.

Apu in ‘The Simpsons’

“But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky. I love the character. I love the show.”

Groening also denied accusations that the character promotes stereotypes, and instead explained how Apu was inspired by his love for Asian culture.

“Back in the day, I named the character after the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray. I love Indian culture and Indian film and Indian music”, he explained.

“I thought that the name was a signal that we had, at least, a scholarly intention.

“I thought maybe a kid was going to grow up and find out what the name came from and go watch the Apu Trilogy, which are the greatest films, basically, in the history of cinema.”

In May, he faced backlash for claiming that ‘People love to pretend they’re offended’ in response to the controversy.

Clarifying his comments, he added: “That wasn’t specifically about Apu. That was about our culture in general. And that’s something I’ve noticed for the last 25 years. There is the outrage of the week and it comes and goes. “