LOS ANGELES: Hank Azaria, who voices Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on "The Simpsons", has offered to step away from the role after a controversy over the stereotypical portrayal of the character in the show.
The show came under intense scrutiny after Hari Kondabolu's documentary "The Problem with Apu" highlighted the stereotypical depiction of Indian immigrants in Hollywood.
Azaria addressed the controversy during his appearance on the "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" where he was promoting the new season of comedy "Brockmire".
"Of course I understand. Its come to my attention more and more over the past couple years. The idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad. It certainly was not my intention. I wanted to bring joy and laughter to people," Azaria told Colbert.
The longest-running American animated sitcom, "The Simpsons" had recently addressed the criticism over Apu's characterisation in the episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished".
However, the show failed to pacify the viewers and was slammed on social media for its tone-deaf response to the controversy.
"I had nothing to do with the writing or the voicing (in that episode). I think if anyone came away from that segment thinking they need to lighten up that's definitely not the message that I want to send," Azaria said.
When asked about the future of the character, Azaria said he is willing to "step-aside" from the role as it would be the right thing to do.
"I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers room, including how (Apu) is voiced or not voiced. I'm perfectly willing to step aside. It just feels like the right thing to do to me," he said.