Gay Cuban Character on 'The Simpsons' Recast with Out Cuban Actor

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday April 22, 2021

Gay characters Smithers (voiced by Harry Shearer) and Julio (now voiced by Tony Rodriguez) in an episode of 'The Simpsons'
Gay characters Smithers (voiced by Harry Shearer) and Julio (now voiced by Tony Rodriguez) in an episode of 'The Simpsons'   (Source:20th Century Studios)

Long-running Fox animated comedy "The Simpsons" has changed the voice behind a gay Cuban character, replacing veteran ensemble actor Hank Azaria with Tony Rodriguez, who himself is gay and Cuban, Hypebeast reports.

"Rodriguez made his debut as Julio in the March 2021 episode 'Uncut Femmes,' " the Hypebeast article said. Another actor, Mario Jose, filled in for one episode between Azaria's portrayal and that of Rodriguez.

Azaria had previously stepped away from voicing another of the many characters he portrays, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, after fans of the show aimed pointed critiques at the Indian character being voiced by a white actor.

One such critique was a two-and-a-half-hour compendium called "Every LGBT Joke on the Simpsons Ever," which was assembled by "Gayest Episode Ever" podcasters Drew Mackie and Glen Lakin, Hyebeast recalled.

That super cut was credited by some on social media with helping to spur the change from Azaria to Rodriguez, Hypebeast noted.


Azaria still provides voices for several characters, including Moe the bartender, Police Chief Wiggum, and Comic Book Guy.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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