Fox’s venerable animated series The Simpsons has released a statement on casting for non-white characters that will affect the voices of such popular Black characters on the show as Carlton Carlson and Dr. Julius M. Hibbert.
“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” the series said Friday.
The Simpsons‘ new policy follows an announcement by Family Guy veteran Mike Henry earlier on Friday that he will no longer voice the black Cleveland Brown character on Fox’s long-running animated hit. Earlier this week, two white actors, Jenny Slate of Netflix’s animated series Big Mouth, and Kristen Bell of Central Park on Apple TV+, said that they will stop voicing the mixed-race characters in those shows.
Additionally, several live-action comedies, including Scrubs and 30 Rock, have pulled episodes featuring blackface from their streaming platforms, and amid a nation dealing with controversial depictions of race on TV and film.
On The Simpsons, Hank Azaria has been the voice of the black cartoon character Carlton Carlson. He also was known for voicing Apu, a character which has long been criticized for portraying a racist depiction of an Indian immigrant. Azaria announced in January that he would no longer voice the character.
Harry Shearer voices the black character Dr. Julius M. Hibbert, one of several characters he voices, including Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy and Kent Brockman.