Voice actor of ‘The Simpsons’ critical of refusing white actors as voice for black characters

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AFP / L. Neal

Harry Shearer, voice actor for the animated series ‘The Simpsons’, challenges the growing view that it would be inappropriate to have the voices of colored characters spoken by white actors. He thus opposes the makers’ decision to no longer cast white actors for figures who have a different skin color in the animated series than the typical yellow ‘Simpsons’ complexion.

Shearer has been part of the voice cast of the popular American animated series ‘The Simpsons’ from the very beginning in 1989. Over the years he provided the voice of a zipper of characters such as headmaster Skinner, Ned Flanders, Waylon Smithers and Dr. Hibbert. The actor disagrees with the creators’ decision to stop casting white actors for non-white characters – a move not accidentally made into the slipstream of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Speaking to the British radio station Times Radio, the 76-year-old ancien from the show explains why he is opposed to that decision: “My understanding of acting is very simple. An actor’s job is to play a person other than himself, ”it sounds. “That’s the job description, that’s the job. Point.” Shearer will no longer be the voice of Dr. Speak Hibbert, but is not worried about his career: “After all, we are not paid by voice.”

Apu also gets a different voice

Earlier this year, another veteran in The Simpsons’ voice cast, Hank Azaria, stepped away from his role as Indian night-time store operator Apu. That character had long been under fire for being too stereotypical and offensive. Azaria said he believes the character needs to evolve in “a new direction” and wants to see more diversity in the show’s writing team, such as the hiring of Indian and South Asian screenwriters.

Two months ago, Mike Henry followed Azaria’s lead. For two decades, Henry voiced the voice of the black character Cleveland Brown in the satirical animated series ‘Family Guy’.

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