New voice for The Simpsons character Dr Hibbert debuts this week
There was a reckoning in Springfield last year when it suddenly became apparent that white voice actors playing black and brown people wan’t appropriate any more.
The main complaint was of course levelled at the character Apu, the benevolent yet stereotypical owner of the Kwik-E-Mart in the longest running sitcom of all time.
As the Black Lives Matter swept the world, forcing all industries to look, not just at representation in the media, but across the board. The globe woke up and where no problems were seen before, suddenly they were impossible to ignore.
White actors Hanks Azaria and Harry Shearer who played Apu and African American Dr Hibbert respectively have stepped down and this week Dr Hibbert can be seen with his new voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson.
What this means for the LGBTQ+ characters in The Simpsons is anyone’s guess. Some of them are indeed stereotypes (likewise for most of the characters in the show) but without knowing the sexuality of the actor, putting on a ‘gay voice’ it s a bit of a grey area and some might say splitting hairs.
A quick look at another huge animated hit, Family Guy, the producers said in 2018 that they were going to ‘phase out’ the gay jokes which has, in part, been done. Whether they needed to or not is still a hotly debated topic.