The new voice actor for Carl on The Simpsons has been announced
In June, the producers of The Simpsons announced that the show would no longer have characters of colour voiced by white actors.
Now, we have the first change to the voice cast, as Alex Desert has been announced as the new voice of Carl Carlson, starting from season 32.
Carl has been voiced by Hank Azaria since the first season of The Simpson. Originally introduced just to be one of Homer's co-workers, he became a fan favourite along with his colleague/best friend Lenny (voiced by Harry Shearer).
Alex Desert is best known for roles on The Flash, Becker and The Heights. He also has experience as a voice actor, playing Nick Fury on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon.
"Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have White actors voice non-White characters," said the producers of The Simpsons in June.
The practice of having white actors voicing characters of colour came under fire following the 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu. The film by comedian Hari Kondabolu investigated the legacy of the Kwik-E-Mart owner, and the impact of him being the most high-profile South Asian character on America TV in the 1990s.
Apu has always been voiced by Hank Azaria, but following the documentary pressure grew for the role to be recast or the character retired. Then in January of this year, Azaria announced that he "won't be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something."
Several other animated shows have also announced that they will be taking similar action. The voice actor for Cleveland on Family Guy, Mike Henry, confirmed he would stop playing the role. "It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years," Henry said in a tweet in June. "I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role."
Netflix's Big Mouth and Apple's Central Park also took similar steps, with Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell both no longer voicing characters of colour on those shows.
Season 32 of The Simpsons starts this weekend in the US.