Groening thinks people are "picking the wrong battles."
Matt Groening has been catching heat these past few years for the creation of Apu. The friendly convenience store owner has been a mainstay on The Simpsons for decades, but Hari Kondabolu’s documentary, The Problem with Apu, pointed out the racist undertones of Apu's personality. Complaints about Apu range from the fact that he is an Indian immigrant who owns a convenience store, to his arranged marriage and thick accent. Apu is essentially a caricature who has offended many Americans of Asian descent.
Groening sat down with The New York Times recently to speak about the issues surrounding Apu. He tried to address the issue on an episode of The Simpsons, but it only made matters worse. "I love Apu. I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad," stated Groening. "But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky. I love the character. I love the show."
When asked about his statements claiming that “people love to pretend they’re offended," he answered, "That wasn’t specifically about Apu. That was about our culture in general." He continued on to use an example to illustrate his point. "And that’s something I’ve noticed for the last 25 years. There is the outrage of the week and it comes and goes. For a while, it was, believe it or not, kids were stealing quarters out of their mothers’ purses in order to go to the video arcade, and that was going to bring down civilization. No one even remembers that, because that lasted a week. I think particularly right now, people feel so aggrieved and crazed and powerless that they’re picking the wrong battles."