The character of "Apu" from "The Simpsons" has been in controversy for "racial stereotyping".
An Argentina-based news channel is drawing criticism on social media for airing an image of "Apu", a fictional character of Indian ethnicity from the TV show The Simpsons, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched down in Buenos Aires for the G20 Summit on Thursday.
Cronica TV aired an image of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon alongside a footage of PM Modi landing for the G20 Summit. The caption underneath read, "Llego Apu," which in Spanish means, "Apu arrives". For the background music, the TV reportedly decided to use the song "Ring Ring Ringa" from the movie Slumdog Millionaire.
The character of "Apu" has been in controversy for "racial stereotyping". Comedian Hari Kondabolu criticized Apu as a negative stereotype of South Asians, and made a documentary – "The Problem with Apu." In the film, Mr Kondabolu interviewed actors from South Asia about the perception of South Asians in American culture and how the character of Apu impacted their lives.
The comedian was among the first ones to tweet. "This couldn't be true, right?" he wrote while sharing a snapshot from the channel.
This couldn't be true, right? https://t.co/xiEzNgpXip
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) November 30, 2018
Soon after, reactions started pouring on social media calling the news treatment of PM Modi's arrival in Argentina as "demeaning" and "irresponsible".
Disgusting. He's representing a billion people there. This is unwarranted. https://t.co/vTxVE1BwL9
— My Gotra Rocks (@brumbyoz) November 30, 2018
It is condemn able https://t.co/NuIAeqITJ7
— Syed Mohsin (@AAPkamohsin) November 30, 2018
This is despicable. But the world now knows why Argentina goes bankrupt every 3 years and defaults on its debt
BBC News – Modi's arrival at the G20 summit 'announced with Apu meme' https://t.co/8JBRl6DcK3
— Rakesh Mital (@Rakesh_Mital) December 1, 2018
The character itself has been criticized as a stereotype of the Indian-American community, and the Argentine channel's decision to use it to describe Modi's arrival was attacked by social media users.