Photo: Monica Schipper / Getty Images for the Tribeca Film Festival
Monday’s announcement that The Simpsons Rephrasing the role of Dr. Hibbert was just the latest step forward for a show that had recently begun to address criticism of the use of white actors to voice minority ethnic characters. In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, creator Matt Groening weighed in on the change, admitting he hadn’t seen the need to rethink the role. “Times change, but I really didn’t have a problem with the way we were doing it,” he said. “All of our actors play dozens of characters each, it was never designed to exclude anyone.”
When asked if he regretted the show’s initial defensive attitude towards criticism made after the 2018 documentary The problem with Apu, he replied, “At some point it doesn’t matter what you say. You’re going to be attacked by whoever it is, you know? “But he continued, adding:” We are not going to go out of our way to comfort the intolerant. On the other hand, if you make some kind of gesture and people perceive a weakness, you will be criticized. “
However, Groening said he agreed with the need for broader change across the industry. “Intolerance and racism remain an incredible problem and it is good to finally go for more equality and representation,” he said. So there it is!