The Simpsons remake Dr. Hibbert with black actor Kevin Michael Richardson as white actor Harry Shearer is replaced after 31 years on the show
- Longest-running animated series in TV history re-joins list of titles making more racist-sensitive casting decisions
- Longtime character Hibbert will now be voiced by black actor Kevin Michael Richardson, who has provided voices for several roles on the series.
- White actor Harry Shearer has voiced the character for more than three decades
- He will continue to voice his many other characters in the series – including Mr. Burns and Smithers, Ned Flanders and Kent Brockman.
- This move echoes Hank Azaria, who made the decision to stop voicing the Indo-American character of Apu in The Simpsons in 2017.
- Last summer, Family Guy’s Mike Henry announced he was stepping away from the voice of black character Cleveland Brown
The Simpsons replaces the actor behind the character of Dr. Hibbert in the series, a role previously voiced by white actor Harry Shearer.
The longest-running animated series in television history is once again joining the list of titles making more racist-sensitive casting decisions.
As reported by The Wrap, Hibbert will now be voiced by black actor Kevin Michael Richardson, 56, who has already played several roles in the series, alongside Family Guy, American Dad! and countless other titles.
Harry, 77, meanwhile will continue to voice his many other characters on The Simpsons, including Mr. Burns and Smithers, Ned Flanders and Kent Brockman.
Advance: The Simpsons Make More Racism-Sensitive Casting Decisions: Series Replaces Actor Behind Dr. Hibbert Character
A 20th Century Fox statement read: ‘Last night’s episode DiaryQueen featured Harry Shearer as the voice of Dr. Hibbert for the last time …
Next Sunday’s Wad Goals episode will see Kevin Michael Richardson voicing Dr. Hibbert – and from there, he’ll be voicing the character.
Veteran actor Harry has provided his voice for the character of Hibbert since the second season of The Simpsons in 1990, while Kevin has voiced various roles on the series since 2009.
In 2013, Kevin was asked if he ever felt like he was typed because of his voice, to which he said: ‘Sometimes from what I’ve done people want similar sounds compared to these characters. What I admire are the people who cast me for the range …
Old to new: The role was previously played by white actor Harry Shearer (left), and will now be played by black actor Kevin Michael Richardson (right)
“Knowing that I can do ups and downs and stuff like that, like when I was Cleveland Jr. and Barney Rubble, that’s pretty cool. Not being placed in a specific area is fine. It’s good to know that people know what I can do.
The decision to replace Harry mirrors several other similar decisions over the past year, particularly in light of renewed attention to racial prejudice and white privilege through the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last July, Kristen Bell gave up playing the role of Molly in the Apple TV + animated series Central Park, also due to concerns about portrayal.
Representation Matters: This decision mirrors several other similar decisions from the past year, especially in light of renewed attention to racial prejudice and white privilege through the Black Lives Matter movement
Bell announced via social media that she was giving up on voicing the character, with a frank and candid statement on her Instagram.
“The casting of a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the Métis race and the experience of black Americans,” she wrote at the time.
“This is the time to recognize our acts of complicity. Here is one of mine. Playing the character of Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege, ” she also said.
Also last summer, Family Guy’s Mike Henry announced that he was stepping away from black character Cleveland Brown’s expression.
Elsewhere, Hank Azaria made the decision to stop voicing the Indo-American character of Apu in The Simpsons, who last played the role in 2017.
The cast comes after Fox made a brief statement about it last June: “ In the future, the Simpsons will no longer have white actors playing non-white characters. ”
Accomplished Voice Performer: Kevin, 56, has performed a variety of roles on The Simpsons since 2009, along with countless other titles; seen in 2019