‘The Simpsons’ actor responds after the show stopped white actors voicing people of colour

Harry Shearer was the voice of Dr Hibbert

A voice actor on The Simpsons has responded after producers announced they will no longer be using white actors to voice people of colour on the show.

Harry Shearer, the voice Mr Burns, Ned Flanders and was the voice of Dr Hibbert, in the long-running animated series questioned the move and said that actors should be able to play outside their own experience.

He told Times Radio: “I have a very simple belief about acting. The job of the actor is to play someone who they are not. That’s the gig, that’s the job description.”

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The actor also explained that he did not have anything in common with some of his characters, such as Mr Burns, but that did not mean he couldn’t play the character well.

The Simpsons has previously come under fire for its use of white actors to play people of colour, particularly Hank Azaria’s depiction of Indian-American character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

Apu The Simpsons
‘The Simpsons” Apu CREDIT: FOX via Getty Images

He was the subject of a 2017 documentary by comedian Hari Kondabolu, who argued that the character is an offensive stereotype to people of Indian descent. Azaria quit the role in January this year.

Producers have recently stopped white actors voicing people of colour, adding in a short statement: “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”

White actor Jenny Slate also recently announced that she would no longer be playing biracial character Missy in the Netflix series Big Mouth. Shortly afterwards, Kristen Bell left her role as a mixed-race character on new Apple TV+ animated show Central Park.

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Mike Henry also said that he will no longer be voicing black character Cleveland on Family Guy.

“I love this character, but persons of colour should play characters of colour. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role,” he added.

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