The Simpsons are playing clean-up after an Indiewire interview with producer Adi Shankar claimed that the beloved Kwik-E-Mart shopkeep will be written off the animated series. Showrunner Al Jean tweeted, “Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.”
Shankar responded, “Let’s work towards common ground.” The producer has been running a scriptwriting competition for diverse writers to shift the controversial character away from an outdated stereotype. “Ignoring only fans the flames. The world is polarized & getting more so, and the onus is on us to bring people together. Engage in a constructive way and this matter will go to bed. I see you, now I’m asking you to see me.”
I wish you well too. Let’s work towards common ground. Ignoring only fans the flames. The world is polarized & getting more so, and the onus is on us to bring people together. Engage in a constructive way and this matter will go to bed. I see you, now I’m asking you to see me.
— Adi Shankar (@adishankarbrand) October 29, 2018
Apu, who is voiced by white actor Hank Azaria, has long been the subject of discussion amongst those who find him to be a harmful Indian stereotype. The topic was brought to the mainstream when truTV aired a documentary The Problem With Apu from stand-up comedian Hari Kondabolu. Although many wish The Simpsons would cancel the character, others like Shankar wish for him to transform into a positive representation of Indian-Americans.
Jean seems highly invested in disputing the write-off reports. He spent some time on Twitter replying to outlets that inaccurately referenced Shankar as a producer on The Simpsons and that the reports are ‘untrue.’
@NRO the story is untrue.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) October 30, 2018