Say it isn’t so, Cleveland Brown. The producers of two long-running animated television series, The Simpsons and Family Guy, announced Friday they will no longer use white actors as the voices of non-white characters. This decision follows that of other entertainment companies. Netflix and Apple TV have been in the news for making the same decision.
For several years, The Simpsons have come under fire for the voice of the character, Apu. White actor Hank Azaria was the voice of Apu, an Indian immigrant who runs a convenience store. In 2017, a documentary was made about the conflict – The Problem With Apu. Azaria no longer plays the voice of Apu as a result, and a South Asian actor took over the role. Now it looks like The Simpsons have decided to stop fighting it and meet the demands of the woke activists. Azaria will out of voicing other characters, too, if this decision is carried out across the board, as well as other actors.
Azaria also voices Carl Carlson and Springfield police officer Lou, who are Black, and Hispanic character Bumblebee Man. Harry Shearer, meanwhile, has played Dr. Hibbert, who’s Black, for the show’s entire run. Tress MacNeille has also voiced several non-White characters, including Apu’s wife, Manjula.
Mike Henry is the actor who does the voice of Cleveland Brown in Family Guy. He has been with the show from its beginning, for 20 years. Henry has written for the show and created the spin-off for his very popular character. The Cleveland Show lasted for four seasons. Henry is out, too.
It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role. pic.twitter.com/FmKasWITKT
— Mike Henry (@mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020
So far, Family Guy producer 20th Century Fox TV have not declined comment, as has Seth MacFarlane, though MacFarlane retweeted Henry’s tweet on Friday.
These shows have been on television for decades. Now that the Black Lives Matter movement is front and center on newscasts 24/7, all aspects of entertainment feel the need to comment. It’s everywhere. Networks are doing PSAs about racial equality and asking young people to register to vote. The awards shows are no longer awards shows, they are Black Lives Matter rallies. It happened during the ESPYs last Sunday night and the Daytime Emmy Awards Friday night. I am quite sure the same will happen during the BET Awards Sunday night. This is where we are. It is notable, though, that very little was heard from the social justice warriors during the two terms of Barack Obama. During the Obama administration is when Black Lives Matter began, in 2013. If liberals are so aware and able to save the world, why didn’t the Obama-Biden administration eliminate racial injustice? Why do black voters keep voting in the same Democrats who have mismanaged cities and states? Celebrities and Democrats can call for an increase in minority voter registration all they want but if the new voters continue to vote for Democrats (if they vote) nothing changes.
Other animated shows are feeling the pressure of the current environment.
This news comes after Josh Gad, one of the creators of the new musical animated series, Central Park, announced that the mixed race character ‘Molly’ will be recast.
Gad announced the show’s intention to cast ‘black or mixed race actress’ actress in the role to replace original star, Kristen Bell. According to the announcement Bell will stay with the show as a different character.
Also, comedian Jenny Slate announced that she will also step down from the black voice role of ‘Missy’ on the Netflix animated series, Big Mouth.
What has been good for over 20 years is now no longer acceptable. The marches and protests continue along with the unrest seen in cities across the country. There will be a lot of clean-up in Hollywood as we go forward with the new rules. Shows like 30 Rock and Community and The Office, all very popular still today, are pulling episodes from streaming services that include blackface scenes. Tina Fey, who starred in 30 Rock, and was an executive producer of the show, issued a statement about that show.
“As we strive to do the work and do better in regards to race in America, we believe that these episodes featuring actors in race-changing makeup are best taken out of circulation,” Fey wrote. “I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images.”
The comedian added: “I apologize for pain they have caused. Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness.”
Fey then thanked NBCUniversal for “honoring this request.”
“Race-changing makeup,” Tina? How is this an apology if she can’t even say the word blackface?
Megyn Kelly is finding some vindication in all of this. She was fired from NBC over her comments on blackface.
“So it turns out that when Andy Lack said ‘there is no place on our air’ for my discussion of blackface, it was b/c NBC was already chalk-full (sic) of shows and major stars actually wearing blackface … on the air … at NBC,” she tweeted.
Kelly is referring to a controversial 2018 on-air segment in which Kelly seemingly defended “blackface” and “white face” for Halloween because it was “OK when I was a kid as long as you were dressing like a character.”
Kelly apologized, saying that she realized “that such behavior is indeed wrong.” But it was too late. Kelly’s talk show “Megyn Kelly Today” on NBC was promptly canceled.
So it turns out that when Andy Lack said “there is no place on our air” for my discussion of blackface, it was b/c NBC was already chalk-full of shows and major stars actually wearing blackface … on the air … at NBC. https://t.co/6vx2Fr9rhG
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 25, 2020