The Simpsons star lashes out at ‘woke’ decision to re-cast Black character
Posted by  badge Boss on a week ago
Dr Julius Hibbert has been voiced by a different actor since 2021 (Picture: Fox/Disney)

voice actor Harry Shearer has said that has ‘affected’ the legendary animated series.

Shearer, 80, , including Charles Montgomery Burns, Ned Flanders, and Principal Seymour Skinner.

And, until 2021, he also voiced Dr Hibbert, the town’s most prominent physician who deals with the medical complaints of the Simpson family throughout the series.

Known for his infectious laugh and questionable professionalism, Dr Hibbert is one of the series’ most popular side characters, having appeared in over 100 hundred episodes down the years.

Amid calls to re-cast the few non-white (well… non-yellow) characters, Shearer was replaced by Kevin Michael Richardson, who has now voiced Dr Hibbert for three years.

Now Shearer has said the decision to have a Black voice actor play the part has negatively affected the show, questioning Richardson’s performance despite his experience with animated comedies.

Harry has voiced characters on The Simpsons since it began in the 1980s (Picture: Getty)

He told : ‘Folk say the show has become woke in recent years and one of my characters has been affected.

‘I voiced the Black physician, Dr Hibbert, who I based on Bill Cosby. Back then he was known as the “whitest Black man on television”.’

Shearer revealed that, midway through 2021, he received an email saying that he would no longer be voicing Hibbert and that a new actor would take his place for the character.

A handful of Simpsons characters have had their voice actors changed in recent years (Picture: Fox/Disney)
Kevin Michael Richardson now voices the Simpsons physician (Picture: Disney/Fox/WireImage)

‘Then, a couple of years ago, I received an email saying they’d employed a Black actor, who then copied my voice. The result is a Black man imitating a white man imitating the whitest Black man on TV.’

The Simpsons has faced criticism in recent years for casting white actors to play non-white characters, including Dr Hibbert, Homer’s friend and colleague Carl Carlson, and Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

Dr Hibbert is not the only non-white character to have had their voice actor changed in recent years, with Marvel voice actor Alex Désert now playing Carl.

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has been phased out over the last few years (Picture: Fox/Disney)

Back in 2019, Shearer’s colleague Hank Azaria stopped voicing the fan-favourite Kwik-E-Mart shop owner and the character has been gradually phased out ever since, with no new voice actor brought in.

Criticism of The Simpsons’ continued use of white voice actors in non-white roles had simmered for years before a documentary by American comedian Hari Kondabolu, titled The Problem with Apu, saw renewed scrutiny.

The show’s writer and showrunner Mike Reiss revealed in an interview that there had been plans to retire Apu anyway, with the character having barely appeared in the seasons just prior to the documentary.

‘He’s barely had a line in the past three seasons,’ Reiss told . ‘People are saying, “Get Apu off the show”. Well, he’s not on!’

He continued: ‘Hank Azaria saying he won’t voice the character anymore is like Val Kilmer announcing he won’t play Batman again – no one’s asking him to.’

The Simpsons is currently heading towards the end of its 35th season, with a 36th season already in the pipeline with the show having been renewed once more.

The Simpsons is available to stream on Disney Plus.