The Simpsons to cease white actors voicing non-white characters

The Simpsons will no longer feature white actors voicing non-white characters, network Fox has said.

The news was confirmed amid growing pressure on the entertainment industry to provide more opportunities for diverse performers.

It follows a recent spike of white actors saying they will no longer voice non-white characters in animated shows.

Fox said in statement: “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”

The Simpsons, which has been on the air since 1989, had faced criticism for having Hank Azaria, who is white, voicing Indian shopkeeper Apu.

Azaria confirmed in January he would no longer perform the role, following years of controversy.

Another white actor – Harry Shearer – voiced the character of Dr Hibbert, who is black.

The Simpsons announcement came shortly after similar news from another popular animated show.

Mike Henry, a white actor, had lent his voice to Family Guy character Cleveland Brown since 1999. He said on Twitter he was stepping down.

He said: “It’s been an honour to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of colour should play characters of colour. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”

Earlier this week Frozen star Kristen Bell revealed she too would no longer be lending her voice to a non-white character in Apple TV+ comedy Central Park.

In a statement on Instagram, Bell said her playing Molly, a mixed-race character, “shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege”.

And actress Jenny Slate  announced she will no longer voice a black character in the animated series Big Mouth, saying her taking the role was “engaging in an act of erasure of Black people”.

Most Read in Showbiz