The Simpsons: Kevin Michael Richardson Replaces Harry Shearer as the Voice of Dr. Hibbert

The Simpsons actor Harry Shearer will be replaced as the voice of Dr. Hibbert by Kevin Michael Richardson.According to Variety, Shearer voiced Dr. Hibbert for the final time in the 12th episode of Season 32, “Diary Queen,” which aired in the United States on Sunday night. Richardson, who is best known for his voice work on Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and American Dad, will take over the role of the kind-hearted family doctor in next week’s episode, titled “Wad Goals.”

Shearer is a veteran Simpsons voice actor, having joined the cast of the animated sitcom back in 1989. Over the years, he has provided the voices of numerous characters, including Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, and many more. Shearer will continue to voice his other characters even though he will no longer play Hibbert.This recasting news comes after Fox declared that The Simpsons would “no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” following particular criticism of Hank Azaria’s Apu voiceover. The show came under fire for the portrayal of the character in the 2017 documentary “The Problem With Apu,” which explored negative stereotypes, racial microaggressions, and representations in popular culture.

Azaria went on record last year to say that he had watched the documentary and that he would no longer voice the character of Apu, the proprietor of Springfield’s Kwik-E-Mart convenience store. A few months later, Azaria also stepped down from voicing Carl Carlson, Homer’s co-worker at Springfield’s Nuclear Power Plant. Alex D├ęsert took over the role in Season 32, which premiered last September.

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Other animated shows have also witnessed white actors stepping down from non-white roles in recent months, with key roles being recast. Family Guy voice actor Mike Henry announced that he would no longer be playing the role of Cleveland Brown on the long-running animated sitcom. It was later announced that YouTube star Arif Zahir would be taking over the role for future episodes.

Adele Ankers is a Freelance Entertainment Journalist. You can reach her on Twitter.



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