Following other white actors who said they would no longer voice characters of color, “The Simpsons” producers said Friday they will recast all of their characters of color, while a longtime “Family Guy” actor said he will step down from his role as Cleveland Brown.
In a statement on Friday, “The Simpsons” creators said, “Moving forward, ‘The Simpsons’ will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”
“The Simpsons” has been on the air since 1989, and features several non-white characters voiced by white actors, including Harry Shearer, who plays Dr. Julius Hibbert, and Carlton Carlson Jr., played by Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer.
The show has been met with heavy criticism over the years for its character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, an Indian immigrant convenience store owner, who was also played by Azaria. Azaria announced in January that he will no longer play the character.
Mike Henry, who is white, has played Cleveland Brown on “Family Guy,” since the show was created in 1999. He announced on Twitter that he is stepping down from his long-time role.
“I love this character,” Henry wrote, “but persons of color should play persons of color.”
Henry also voiced Latina maid Consuela on the show, and was the voice of Cleveland Brown and Rallo Tubbs on “Family Guy” spinoff, “The Cleveland Show.”
On Wednesday, Netflix series “” announced that voice actress Jenny Slate will no longer voice Missy, a biracial character. Actress Kristen Bell also announced on Wednesday that she will no longer play biracial character Molly on Apple animated series “Central Park.”
“This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Here is one of mine. Playing the character of Molly on Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege,” Bell wrote on Instagram. “Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience.”