For over three decades, the iconic (and slightly annoying) role of Dr Hibbert has been voiced by Harry Shearer – a white man. Now, Hibbert will be played by a Black actor.
The Simpsons is a long-running animated TV series created by Matt Groening. As a comedy both for children and adults, it gives a satirical look at American life.
Not only is it light hearted satire, it also has a knack for predicting various real life events.
Whilst it is the longest running American animated series, with creators who appear to be time travellers, it has not been without controversy over the years.
Most notably, it has come under fire recently for repeatedly casting white actors to play non-white characters.
The Simpsons announced that they would no longer allow white actors to play black characters back in June last year.
Following the rise of the Black Lives Matter protests, the producers stated “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have White actors voice non-White characters,”.
Dr Hibbert has been a character on the Simpsons since the show began on 17 December 1989. For over 30 years, the character of Dr Hibbert has been portrayed by Harry Shearer.
Shearer, 77, voices numerous characters on the show. Some of his notable roles include voicing Montgomery Burns, Ned Flanders, Seymour Skinner and Lenny Leonard.
Up until now, Shearer has always voiced Doctor Hibbert, known for his infuriating chuckle at inappropriate instances. Now, Shearer is stepping down from the role.
Fox confirmed to Deadline that the change will be taking place from Sunday (January 28). Shearer’s last ever episode as Hibbert was ‘Diary Queen’. It aired on Sunday January 21 and was the 696th episode of The Simpsons .
Replacing Shearer as the role of Hibbert will be voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson.
Richardson, 56, is a renowned voice actor with a distinctively deep voice. He is known for his role of Lois’s ex-boyfriend Jerome on Family Guy.
He has also voiced Cleveland Brown Jr on The Cleveland Show.
Richardson is not entirely new to the Simpsons, however. In the past, he has already played a range of characters in the show. These include Jay G and the Nigerian King.
Last year it was announced that Hank Azaria was stepping down from voicing Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
Apu is a long running character on The Simpsons known for his catchphrase “Thank you, come again.”
He is a central character who plays the shop owner of the local store The Kwik-E Mart.
However, the show faced heavy criticism last year regarding Azaria’s portrayal of Apu. Many claimed that the portrayal of Apu was a racial stereotype.
Azaria decided to step down from the role of Apu, noting that “It just didn’t feel right,”.
Azaria told the producers of the Simpsons about how he felt: “When I expressed how uncomfortable I was doing the voice of the character, they were very sympathetic and supportive,”
Speaking further about the decision to step down, he confirmed that the decision was mutual: “We all made the decision together,” Azaria said.
“We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
Carl Carlson, who is Homer’s co-worker at the Power Plant, is another character who’s actor has been changed. Previously, Hank Azaria had voiced Carl since the shows first season.
Last year, it was announced that Alex Desért would be replacing Azaria for the role, starting from Season 32.
Desert, 52, is an actor known for various roles. He has featured on The Flash, Becker and The Heights. He also portrayed Nick Fury on The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon.
Image via Alamy