A television news station in Argentina faced backlash after it announced the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the country for the G20 summit with a picture of “The Simpsons” character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
“Apu Arrives,” Cronica TV reportedly captioned the image, which was circulated on Twitter Thursday by business journalist Patrick Gillespie:
— Patrick Gillespie (@Pat_Gillespie) November 29, 2018
Dozens of tweeters agreed with Gillespie’s assessment that the image was “racist,” reports the BBC.
— Rajini Vaidyanathan (@BBCRajiniV) November 30, 2018
Time for Modi Bhakts to Boycott this Argentine TV station! https://t.co/xNTuXvZ3bv
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) November 30, 2018
Very dissapointed to see this from @CronicaTV .He is the prime minister of our country and in your attempt of humour you have stereotyped and lowered the image of the post of PM and the country. #ApuArrived https://t.co/kuOO5GwoVo
— Pradyot_Tripura (@PradyotManikya) November 30, 2018
What the…? https://t.co/uvlff9AaCG
— Iain Marlow (@iainmarlow) November 30, 2018
Horrible. In line with TN TV anchor that justifies the band confused Chinese leader Xi Jinping with somebody else arguing that "all Chinese look alike, pretty hard to distinguish" https://t.co/8vYRz41fH5 https://t.co/V23HIMel4b
— Pablo González (@Pablo_Rosendo) November 30, 2018
Actor Hank Azaria’s voice portrayal of the animated shopkeeper has come under the spotlight in recent years. Comedian Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary “The Problem With Apu” examined how Azaria’s characterization spread racial stereotypes about South Asians living in the U.S.
Kondabolu himself reacted incredulously to the Cronica TV announcement:
This couldn’t be true, right? https://t.co/xiEzNgpXip
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) November 30, 2018
The future of Apu as a character on the show reportedly remains in the balance.