Harry Shearer Steps Down from Voicing Black ‘Simpsons’ Character Dr. Hibbert

In the newest win for inclusive voice casting in animation, Harry Shearer is stepping down from voicing Dr. Hibbert on “The Simpsons” (by way of The Wrap.) The character, who first appeared within the 1990 second season of the enduring sequence, will likely be voiced by beloved voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson, greatest recognized for voicing Cleveland Brown Jr. on Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show.” The change will go into impact as of subsequent week’s episode, in accordance with a press release from “Simpsons” studio twentieth Television.

Shearer’s exit comes about eight months after a June 2020 announcement in solidarity with the George Floyd protests that “The Simpsons” would now not voice Black characters with white actors. “Moving ahead, ‘The Simpsons’ will now not have white actors voice nonwhite characters,” the community stated in a short assertion on the time.

Dr. Hibbert is just not probably the most infamous case of cross-racial voice casting on “The Simpsons.” That distinction goes to Apu, the Kwik-E-Mart proprietor originated and voiced for a few years by Hank Azaria. Indian and Indian-American communities decried Apu as a racist stereotype and Azaria’s outsized accent as offensive. In 2017, slapstick comedian Hari Kondabolu made a function documentary known as “The Problem With Apu.” Azaria stepped aside from voicing Apu in January of 2020.

“I feel crucial factor is to hearken to Indian individuals and their expertise with it,” Azaria stated on the time. “I actually wish to see Indian, South Asian writers within the writers room…together with how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced. I’m completely keen to step apart. It simply seems like the correct factor to do to me…The concept that anybody younger or old, previous or current, being bullied primarily based on Apu actually makes me unhappy. It actually was not my intention. I wished to deliver pleasure and laughter to individuals.”

Shearer is iconic to “The Simpsons” followers and Christopher Guest followers alike. He gives voices for Principal Skinner, Kent Brockman, Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, and lots of extra. He famously co-wrote “This Is Spinal Tap” and has appeared in “Waiting For Guffman,” “A Mighty Wind,” and “For Your Consideration.”

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