''Simpsons' drops white actors in non-white roles


United States animated comedy series The Simpsons will no longer use white actors for the voices of characters from other ethnic backgrounds, the show's producers say.

"It's been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years", Henry wrote. "Therefore, I will be stepping down from this role".

Voice actor Mike Henry said Friday on Twitter that he no longer will voice the Cleveland Brown character on Fox's animated Family Guy.

The show, broadcast on Fox Network, has faced years of criticism over white actor Hank Azaria's voiceover of Indian-American character Apu.

In January, Mr Azaria said he would no longer be performing the voice of Indian convenience store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, a role he had played since the character was created in 1990.

The Simpsons will no longer use white actors to dub ethnic minority characters, the producers of the long-running animated series announced on Friday. Harry Shearer, meanwhile, voiced Dr Hibbert, Apu's brother, Sanjay (and once, OJ Simpson). Henry also provides the voice for another Black character, Cleveland's stepson Rallo Tubbs, who was a Cleveland Show regular and appears occasionally on Family Guy.

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"The idea that anybody - young or old, past or present - was bullied or teased based on the character of Apu, it just really makes me sad", said Azaria, who voices other characters on the show.

That show's creator, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, wrote on Twitter about his regrets over the decision, saying he meant to "write AWAY from stereotypes and create an Asian American character who wasn't defined exclusively by her race".

The producers behind the show issued a statement Friday saying that from now on, its characters of colour will be voiced by actors of colour only.

It looks like The Simpsons has finally made a decision to do the right thing.

"Casting a mixed race character [with a] white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience", she added.