Rumors ran rampant this weekend that controversial Simpsons character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, owner of the Kwik-E-Mart, was going to be written off of the show. During the past year, The Simpsons has come under fire for having a white man, Hank Azaria, voice the Indian character and for making Apu a flat character who reinforces negative stereotypes.
The pushback really started in earnest when Hari Kondabolu released a documentary called The Problem with Apu. The comic said in the documentary that he really did like Apu at first because it was one of the few Indian characters anywhere, but as he grew older he realized the character was problematic.
For this weekend at least, it seemed like The Simpsons had come to the conclusion that the controversy surrounding the character wasn’t worth it and would cut Apu for good. Adi Shankar created a spec script contest independent of The Simpsons to challenge people to see if they could rewrite Apu’s character.
There was a winner, and he brought the script to The Simpsons as a sort of peace offering, where the show could resolve the Apu problem without getting rid of the character. But Shankar claimed that the show had decided to simply do away with Apu instead.
“I got some disheartening news back, that I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether,” said Shankar in an interview with IndieWire. “They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.”
No one from the show immediately addressed Shankar’s comments but on Sunday, Simpsons executive producer Al Jean, who has been with the show since 1989, spoke out on Twitter. “Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons,” He tweeted. “I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.”
Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) October 28, 2018
Although it seems like Jean might have denied the rumors, his reply is very ambiguous. We’ll have to see what happens to Apu. The show is currently in its thirtieth season.