'The Simpsons' has replaced Harry Shearer with Black actor Kevin Michael Richardson as the voice of Dr Hibbert

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'The Simpsons' has replaced Harry Shearer with Black actor Kevin Michael Richardson as the voice of Dr Hibbert
Harry Shearer (L) and Kevin Michael Richardson (R).JC Olivera/WireImage
  • Kevin Michael Richardson will be the new voice of Dr. Hibbert on "The Simpsons."
  • White actor Harry Shearer had previously voiced the character for over 30 years.
  • The show announced that it would no longer use white actors to voice characters of color last year.

Harry Shearer has been replaced by Kevin Michael Richardson as the voice of the popular "Simpsons" character Dr. Julius Hibbert seven months after the show's producers announced that the long-running animated series would no longer use white actors to voice characters from other ethnic backgrounds.

Shearer, 77, has voiced Dr. Julius Hibbert for over 30 years ever since the character's debut on the show. Kevin Michael Richardson, a Black voice actor who is best known for his voice work on "Family Guy" and "American Dad!," will take over in a new episode set to air on FOX Sunday.

Shearer will continue to voice his other characters, which include Mr. Burns, Smithers, Reverend Lovejoy, Principal Skinner, and Ned Flanders.

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'The Simpsons' has replaced Harry Shearer with Black actor Kevin Michael Richardson as the voice of Dr Hibbert
Dr. Hibbert.Disney

Producers of "The Simpsons" made the commitment to no longer have white actors voice non-white characters last June, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. A few months prior, white actor Hank Azaria said he would no longer play the character of Indian convenience store owner Apu, a role he had voiced since the show's premiere in 1989.

"I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it," Azaria told Stephen Colbert at the time of his resignation.

Azaria's portrayal of Apu had been a source of debate since the release of the 2017 documentary, "The Problem with Apu," which saw Asian-American comedian and writer Hari Kondabolu investigate how the character of Apu helped to perpetuate racial stereotypes of Indian Americans.

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Harry Shearer had previously pushed back against the decision to recast 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."

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