‘Simpsons’ creator on Apu controversy: ‘People love to pretend they’re offended’

In a recent interview with USA Today, “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening addressed the criticism around character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon for the first time, and seemingly questioned the outrage.

When asked about his thoughts on critics claiming Apu represented a racist stereotype, Groening said, “I’m proud of what we do on the show. And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.”

He also spoke about a “Simpsons” episode that aired on April 8, when during a scene, Lisa faces the camera and says, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” She then looks over at a framed picture of Apu, which has the line, “Don’t have a cow!” written on it.

Marge responds by saying, “Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” to which Lisa says, “If at all.” Rather than elaborating on what that meant, Groening said, “We’ll let the show speak for itself.”

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'Simpsons' creator Matt Groening through the years
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'Simpsons' creator Matt Groening through the years
Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, next to a video monitor displaying Bart Simpson. (Photo by Gary Moss/Corbis via Getty Images)
018009.CA.1029.simpsons.6.AS Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons greets fans and friends at the Simpsons tv series 3 day global fan fest taking place at Fox Studios in LA. Fans came to the Simpsons Global Fanfest main event; a gathering of 1,000 Simpson fans from around the world for a celebration of all things simpsons. This is the ultimate fan fest, trivia contests, etc. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Simpsons creator Matt Groening during an interview with guest host Jay Leno on September 26, 1991 -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Matt Groening at the Edinburgh TV festival to launch his new cartoon 'Futurama'. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Sygma via Getty Images)
Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons with cut out of Homer Simpson, London, 16th August 2000. (Photo by Colin Davey/Getty Images)
Simpsons creator Matt Groening with an ice sculpture of Bart Simpson inside the MOMO bar in central London, to celebrate the London leg of the British Simpsons-Mania Tour 2000. (Photo by William Conran - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
'The Simpsons' creator Matt Groening at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, Ca (Photo by Ray Mickshaw/WireImage)
Ray Romano and Matt Groening during 'The Simpsons' 350th Episode Block Party at 20th Century Fox Lot in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage for Fox Television Network)
Jack Black and Matt Groening, Creator of the Simpsons (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage for New Line Cinema)
WESTWOOD, CA - JULY 24: Creator of The Simpsons Matt Groening arrives at 'The Simpsons Movie' premiere at the Mann Village Theatre on July 24, 2007 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 23: Matt Groening speaks on stage during day three of Comic-Con 2011 held at the San Diego Convention Center on July 23, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Wendy Redfern/Redferns)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Matt Groening attends the ceremony honoring him with a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 14, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 14: (L-R) Nancy Cartwright, Matt Groening, Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria attend the ceremony honoring Matt Groening with a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 14, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 26: Writer/producer Matt Groening interacts with a projection of Homer Simpson during FOX's 'The Simpsons' panel during Comic-Con International 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 26, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 23: Writer/creator Matt Groening attends the ' The Simpsons' panel during Comic-Con International 2016 at San Diego Convention Center on July 23, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
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Comedian Hari Kondabolu was one of the first to publicly address issues with the show’s character with his documentary “The Problem With Apu,” which debuted in November. Apu, voiced by Hank Azaria, is an Indian-American Kwik-E-Mart owner in Springfield.

Kondabolu responded to Groening’s recent comments on Twitter, saying he “sounds like every other troll on the internet who didn’t see the documentary. No one is offended by this character. It was, at times, insulting and was frustrating to many of us who were solely represented by that one image.”

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