Monty Python veteran John Cleese is mocking fellow actor Hank Azaria over his apology for voicing the role of Apu on Fox’s The Simpsons. In a sarcastic gesture, Cleese offered his own apology for making fun of “white English people” in numerous Monty Python sketches.
John Cleese tweeted his pretend apology Tuesday, just days after Hank Azaria said during a podcast interview that he feels the need “to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize” for playing Apu, the show’s Kwik-E Mart proprietor who hails from India.
In response, Cleese expressed sorrow “for any distress we [Monty Python] may have caused” for mocking English people.
Not wishing to be left behind by Hank Azaria, I would like to apologise on behalf on Monty Python for all the many sketches we did making fun of white English people
We’re sorry for any distress we may have caused
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) April 13, 2021
Azaria announced last year that he would no longer voice Apu, bowing to pressure from left-wing activists who objected to a white actor playing an Indian character. Following last year’s Black Lives Matter riots, Fox has barred white actors from voicing non-white characters on the long-running animated sitcom.
The network has already re-cast the roles of Dr. Julius Hibbert and Carl Carlson but producers have not yet announced a replacement for Apu.
Show creator Matt Groening said in March that producers still have “ambitious” plans for more stories featuring Apu, despite Azaria’s decision to step away from the role.
Cleese has been a consistent critic of woke identity politics and cancel culture. In an interview last year with Reuters, the British actor slammed cancel culture, saying it puts “emotionally unstable and fragile” people in positions of power.