‘Family Guy’ Voice Actor Mike Henry Stepping Down From ‘Cleveland Brown’ Role

‘Family Guy’ Voice Actor Mike Henry Stepping Down From ‘Cleveland Brown’ Role

Henry has been with "Family Guy" since 1999.

Family Guy actor Mike Henry, who played Family Guy's protagonist Cleveland Brown, says he is stepping down since 'persons of colour should play characters of colour'.

The state of play: One character on the show, Apu, was seen as an offensive caricature that "perpetuated ugly stereotypes about South Asians" to many Indian Americans and immigrants, the New York Times' Vikas Bajaj wrote in 2018.

Other white actors, including Mike Henry of animated series Family Guy, Jenny Slate of Big Mouth and Kristen Bell of Central Park, have also said they will no longer voice non-white characters.

It follows years of public pressure about the show's Indian convenience store character Apu, who is voiced by Hank Azaria.

Earlier this year, The Simpsons' Hank Azaria stepped down from his decades-long role as Apu, in response to criticisms raised by Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu.

‘Family Guy’ Voice Actor Mike Henry Stepping Down From ‘Cleveland Brown’ Role

Azaria, Shearer, and MacNeille will remain series regulars and will continue to voice their other popular characters.

The character has always been seen as problematic and conveying racist stereotypes. For instance, Simpsons staple Harry Shearer provides the voice of the Bill Cosby-esque Dr. Julius Hibbert, who is Black.

Both announcements come as more and more scrutiny is being directed toward animated projects that feature white actors voicing characters of color. He also voiced the character and his son, Rallo Tubbs, on the spinoff, The Cleveland Show, which ran for four years on Fox. "We all feel like it's the right thing and good about it".

Henry announced his decision via Twitter, indicating that he, as a white man, could no longer voice a Black character anymore in good conscience.

In a statement on Instagram Friday, Azaria said he's "extremely pleased" by the producers' decision to recast the characters.

"Casting a mixed race character [with a] white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience", she said in her statement.

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