*Voiceover actor Kevin Michael Richardson, a Black man, has been tapped to replace Harry Shearer as the voice of Dr. Hibbert on “The Simpsons.”
The casting news follows criticism over non-white characters being voiced by white actors on the beloved animated series.
“Moving forward, “The Simpsons” will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” the producers noted in a statement last June. Hank Azaria previously announced he would no longer voice Apu, telling Stephen Colbert at the time “I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it,” he said.
Don’t believe everything you read. 😸
Class is back in session next Sunday! pic.twitter.com/OmK3qCUDSC
— TheSimpsons (@TheSimpsons) February 22, 2021
Mike Henry also confirmed last year that he would be stepping away from “Family Guy,” voicing Cleveland Brown.
“It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years,” Henry explained via Twitter. “I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color.”
Henry has provided the voice of the character since the Fox animated series’ debut in 1999.
Fans will start hearing Richardson’s voice as Dr. Hibbert on “The Simpsons” beginning Feb. 28.
Shearer has voiced Dr. Julius Hibbert for over 30 years ever since the character’s debut on the show. He previously pushed back against recasting characters. During an interview with Times Radio last year, he said: “I have a very simple belief about acting. The job of the actor is to play someone who they are not. That’s the gig, that’s the job description.”
Richardson is best known for his voice work on “Family Guy” and “American Dad!” His portrayal of Rosie on “F Is For Family” earned him an Emmy nomination in 2019.
Shearer will reportedly continue to voice his other characters, which include Mr. Burns, Smithers, Reverend Lovejoy, Principal Skinner, and Ned Flanders.