Harry Shearer is just one of the many "Simpsons" voices -- who creates many more "Simpsons" voices. He does Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner. Click through for more of the other members of the show's cast.

‘The Simpsons’ to stop using white actors to voice non-white characters

“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” Fox spokesman Les Eisner said in a statement Friday.

Over the three decades since the animated sitcom began, it has used white actors to play a number of non-white characters, including Harry Shearer as Dr. Julius Hibbert and Hank Azaria as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

In January, Azaria announced he would stop voicing Apu after 30 years playing the thickly accented Indian-American character. Azaria is not South Asian.

“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something,” Azaria said, according to / Film, an industry news blog reported that it had asked the actor about the matter after a panel discussion.

The decision to remove Azaria from voicing Apu was mutual, the actor said, according to / Film. “We all refer to it,” he said. “We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”

The comedian Hari Kondabolu – whose 2017 documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” controversial controversy over the character into the mainstream – reacted. on Twitter saying that he hoped “The Simpsons” kept Apu and lets “a very talented writing staff do something interesting with him.”
This is pop culture's moment of reckoning on race matters

“My documentary ‘The Problem with Apu’ was not made to get rid of a dated cartoon character, but to discuss race, representation & my community (which I love very much),” Kondabolu wrote. “It’s also about how you can love something (like the Simpsons) & still be critical about aspects of it (Apu).”

In his doc, Kondabolu interviewed celebrities of South Asian descent, including Aziz Ansari and Kal Penn, to discuss how characters like Apu can be viewed as racism.

The show responds in an April 2018 episode to the backlash over Apu, who runs the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store in TV’s longest-running prime-time scripted series.

In the episode, the young Lisa Simpson said, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” Lisa then glanced at a framed photograph of Apu inscribed with the message, “Don’t have a cow.”

Hank Azaria willing to & # 39; step aside & # 39; from playing Apu
Azaria later that month told the host of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that he’d be happy to step aside from Apu and disagreed with how the show handled the criticism.

“The idea that anybody – young or old, past or present – was bullied or teased based on Apu’s character, it just really made me sad,” said Azaria, who voices other characters on the show.

“It was definitely not my intention,” he said. “I wanted to spread laughter and joy with this character, and the idea that it brought pain and suffering in any way, that it was used to marginalize people, it’s upsetting.”

CNN’s Frank Pallotta, Brian Lowry and Leah Asmelash, contributed to this article.