One other longtime character on “The Simpsons” is lastly getting recast.
Kevin Michael Richardson might be taking up the role of Dr. Julius Hibbert beginning with “Wad Goals,” the Season 32 episode of the animated Fox series that airs Feb. 28. The Black character, who was initially launched in Season 2, has lengthy been established as one in every of Springfield’s most competent healthcare professionals.
Richardson is speaking over the role from Harry Shearer, who has portrayed Dr. Hibbert for more than 30 years. Shearer, a white actor who has been a part of “The Simpsons” cast since its debut, additionally voices distinguished Springfield residents Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers and Mr. Burns.
The animation industry and its apply of white actors voicing nonwhite characters got here under renewed scrutiny final 12 months amid the nationwide racial-justice protests in response to the killing of George Floyd and police violence towards Black Americans.
Actors resembling Jenny Slate, Kristen Bell and Mike Henry introduced in June that they have been stepping down from playing Black characters on “Big Mouth,” “Central Park” and “Family Guy,” respectively, in order that the roles could possibly be recast with Black actors.
Throughout that time “The Simpsons” additionally introduced that it will not have white actors voice nonwhite characters. Previous to that, longtime “Simpsons” actor Hank Azaria had already said he wouldn’t be voicing Apu after years of criticism levied towards the present and its stereotypical depiction of the immigrant Indian character.
Since then, other “Simpsons” characters, resembling Carl (additionally beforehand voiced by Azaria), even have been recast.
Richardson, who has performed numerous characters on “The Simpsons” since 2009, additionally has voiced characters on reveals resembling “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “Bless the Harts.”