Hank Azaria feels awful about his years-long portrayal of Apu — but there’s still a way he can get right with the Indian community which he, and others, feel has been harmed by the character.
Shereen Bhalla — a rep for the Hindu American Foundation — tells TMZ … Hank doesn’t have to torment himself for his work on “The Simpsons,” or at least he doesn’t have to do it alone. Bhalla says she and the staff at HAF would love to have a sit-down with him.
She tells us coming to the table with them would help Hank do a lot of the learning he seems very open to at this point. Shereen says they can expose him to Indian people’s lived experiences, and have a dialogue about his lingering guilt.
It’s clear from Hank’s comments on Dax Shephard’s podcast that he does, indeed, have a lot of remorse about Apu … even going so far as to say he feels the need apologize to every Indian person.
If Hank’s concerned about “cancel culture” … HAF does not want to see that happen to the veteran actor. We’re told the group doesn’t feel Hank needs to be excommunicated, and believes he’s genuinely sorry and willing to educate himself … which HAF would love to help him do.
As for how to proceed, there are a few options. For one, HAF is offering Hank a third-party facilitated dialogue with Indians across the nation, on or off the record … his choice. Also, HAF has a podcast called “That’s So Hindu” and would be more than happy to have him as a guest.
BTW, we’re aware not all Indian people are Hindu … or even religious for that matter. However, Apu was portrayed as a devout Hindu on the show, so it’s all kosher.