Harry Shearer stops voicing Black ‘The Simpsons’ character

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One other longtime character on “The Simpsons” is lastly getting recast.

Kevin Michael Richardson can be taking up the function of Dr. Julius Hibbert beginning with “Wad Targets,” the Season 32 episode of the animated Fox collection that airs Feb. 28. The Black character, who was initially launched in Season 2, has lengthy been established as one among Springfield’s most competent healthcare professionals.

Richardson is speaking over the function from Harry Shearer, who has portrayed Dr. Hibbert for greater than 30 years. Shearer, a white actor who has been part of “The Simpsons” solid since its debut, additionally voices distinguished Springfield residents Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers and Mr. Burns.

The animation business and its observe of white actors voicing non-white characters got here beneath renewed scrutiny final yr amid the nationwide racial justice protests in response to the killing of George Floyd and police violence in opposition to Black People.

Actors resembling Jenny Slate, Kristen Bell and Mike Henry introduced in June that they had been stepping down from taking part in Black characters on “Huge Mouth,” “Central Park” and “Household Man,” respectively, in order that the roles may very well be recast with Black actors.

Throughout that point “The Simpsons” additionally introduced that it could now not be having white actors voice non-white characters. Previous to that, longtime “Simpsons” actor Hank Azaria had already mentioned he wouldn’t be voicing Apu after years of criticism levied in opposition to the present and its stereotypical depiction of the immigrant Indian character.

Since then, different “Simpsons” characters, resembling Carl (additionally beforehand voiced by Azaria), have additionally been recast.

Richardson, who has performed numerous characters on “The Simpsons” since 2009, has additionally voiced characters on reveals resembling “Household Man,” “American Dad” and “Bless the Harts.”

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