States of Mind: Get set for ultimate clash of opposites

Eli Attie is no stranger to the world of presidential debates. He was part of Al Gore’s prep team in 2000 and went on to create similar scenes for fictional president Jed Bartlet as a writer and producer for the West Wing.

The Simpsons finds replacement to voice Carl after decision to stop white actors playing non-black characters

Carl in The Simpsons has a new voice

Alex will take over as Carl in the first episode of season 32 (Picture: MediaPunch/REX)

The Simpsons may sound a little bit different when season 32 kicks off this week.

Producers of the long-running animated series confirmed earlier this year that they would no longer have white actors voicing non-white characters.

And in Sunday’s season 32 premiere, a new actor will provide the voice of Carl Carlson – Homer Simpson’s nuclear plant colleague and Lenny Leonard’s best friends. 

The Flash star Alex Désert will provide the voice for Carl, according to Variety, after Hank Azaria gave up the character.

It is unclear whether Désert will permanently voice Carl on the show.

The 52-year-old has previously provided the voices for Nick Fury on The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Swarm on the animated Spider-Man series.

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria has stood down from many of the voices he provided (Picture: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Azaria, 56, had voiced Carl on The Simpsons since the beginning of the show, bar Carl’s first appearance in season one episode Homer’s Night Out, where he was voiced by Harry Shearer; who also voices Mr Burns, Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner.

Shearer, who is white, also voices Dr Julius Hibbert; while the doctor appears in the season 32 premiere, he does not speak, so it is unclear if Shearer has also been replaced.

Mainstream criticism of some of the voices on The Simpsons began after the release of Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu, which addressed Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and the stereotype of a South Asian man portrayed by the show.

Apu was also voiced by Azaria, who stepped down from the role after educating himself on racism.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons will no longer have non-white characters voiced by white actors (Picture: Fox)

The Friends star told the New York Times: ‘Once I realised that that was the way this character was thought of, I just didn’t want to participate in it anymore. It just didn’t feel right.’

Azaria admitted that he overlooked a ‘blind spot’ after basing the Kwik-E-Mart owner on Peter Sellers’ character in the 1968 movie The Party, unaware that the actor’s performance was deemed racist. 

The Fox series has tried to make changes in recent years, with Kevin Michael Richardson of The Cleveland Show often voicing the show’s black male characters.

The Simpsons’ producers’ decision to no longer have white actors providing the voices for non-white characters follows a number of other TV shows’ decisions to do the same.

The Good Place star Kristen Bell quit her role in Central Park, in which she voiced a mixed-race character, while Ayo Edebiri is taking over as the voice of biracial character Missy on Big Mouth, after Jenny Slate stepped down. 

The Simpsons returns to Fox this Sunday. 

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Jose Mourinho explains goalpost controversy as Tottenham progress in Europa League

Shkendija v Tottenham Hotspur: UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round

Jose Mourinho made his point very clear about the goalposts in North Macedonia (Picture: Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho was forced to step in and have the goalposts replaced before Tottenham’s Europa League clash with Shkendija on Thursday night because they were too small.

Spurs won the game 3-1, thanks to goals from Erik Lamela, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane, but only after some controversy before the match.

Tottenham’s goalkeepers complained that the crossbar was far too low and on inspection, Mourinho agreed and had to go to UEFA to make a complaint.

The goalposts were changed as a result and the game went ahead in Skopje, with no suggestion that this was a deliberate ploy from the North Macedonian opponents as they don’t usually play at the stadium.

‘Before the game was a funny situation because my goalkeepers told me that the goal was small,’ Mourinho said.

‘I went by myself and of course the goal was small. The goalkeepers, they spend hours and hours and hours in the goal so they know when the goal is not the right dimension.

‘I am not a goalkeeper but I know football since I was a kid and I know when I stand there and I spread my arms and I know the distance, so I felt immediately that something was going wrong.

‘We got the UEFA delegate to confirm and yes it was 5cm smaller, which of course we demanded for the goals to be replaced for goals of the right dimension.’

It was not a comfortable night for Spurs, as the hosts equalised in the 55th minute, causing some concern for the heavy favourites.

However, Kane came on five minutes later and Mourinho praised his impact on the game.

‘We just did our job,’ said the manager. ‘We did not play magnificent. We did our job in the end which is to qualify for the next round.

‘When Harry came to the game and Sonny started coming from the left it’s more his natural habitat and he had his chance and he scored a goal which was very important for us.

Shkendija v Tottenham Hotspur: UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round

Tottenham did enough to progress (Picture: Getty Images)

‘We were going into a direction of big risk when you have 1-1 in the result. If you let the game go you are in a big risk, so the second goal was important.

‘When Harry scored it killed the game which probably we should have done in the first half. In the first half we were 41 minutes without scoring and then we gave them space to play.

‘In the second half the game became more difficult for us after our changes and something that pleases me a lot, because I like to feel the players on the bench committed to the team and ready to make an impact. The people who came from the bench made a difference.’

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