It looks like The Simpsons has finally decided to do the right thing.
In an official statement, the Disney-owned FOX announced yesterday, “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”
Their decision comes in the wake of the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests and the subsequent call to action, which has seen countless organizations, including film and television productions, across the globe attempt to do better when it comes to racial sensitivity and inclusion.
While Hank Azaria already decided to part with the role of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in January, he will now also leave the role of Carl, Dr. Nick, Lou, Julio, and Bumblebee Man. behind. Harry Shearer will step down from voicing Dr. Hibbert, while Tress MacNeille will now longer provide the voices of Bernice, Manjula, and Cookie Kwan.
Azaria, Shearer, and MacNeille will remain series regulars and will continue to voice their other popular characters.
The Simpsons is the latest - and easily most prominent - animated series to announce the decision to recast key non-white voice roles with actors of color, following Mike Henry stepping down as the voice of Cleveland Brown on fellow FOX series Family Guy, Jenny Slate deciding to no longer voice Missy on Netflix's Big Mouth, and Kristen Bell leaving the role of Molly on Apple TV+'s Central Park.
The showrunners behind several prominent NBC series have also decided to remove and/or edit a number of past episodes for depictions of blackface. Three episodes of Scrubs (“My Fifteen Seconds;” “My Jiggly Ball;” “My Chopped Liver.”) were removed from Hulu at the request of series creator Bill Lawrence, four episodes of 30 Rock (“Believe in the Stars;” “Christmas Attack Zone;” “Live Show - East Coast”; “Live From Studio H”) were removed from streaming services and syndication at the request of series creator Tina Fey, and one episode of Community ("Advanced Dungeons & Dragons") was removed from Netflix.
The Office also removed a blackface scene from the season nine episode "Dwight Christmas" at the request of series creator Greg Daniels, but left the rest of the episode intact.