The Simpsons' executive producer has thrown cold water on the Apu rumours

Apu with Homer Simpson in an episode of The Simpsons

Apu with Homer Simpson in an episode of The Simpsons

The episode would have focused not just on Apu, but would have incorporated "other prominent Indian Americans in hilarious ways to highlight the importance of diversity and individuality through the lens of The Simpsons, " according to Indiewire.

Shankar told Indiewire in an interview that "multiple sources" told him that Apu would be quietly dropped in order to avoid further controversy.

Shankar told IndieWire he has now found "the ideal script", which he had hoped Fox would produce as an episode of "The Simpsons".

Since April, Shankar, 33, had been running a screenwriting competition to help find a clever way that either writes Apu out of the show or evolves his character into a "fresh, amusing and realistic portrayal of Indians in America". As Kondabolu explained via Twitter, "The Problem with Apu" is meant to be "an entry point into a larger conversation about the representation of marginalized groups & why this is important".

Hank Azaria has already said he is ready to stop voicing Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu in the wake of criticism that it is a stereotype.

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The producer was crowdsourcing a script to solve "the problem with Apu" and hoped Fox would produce it as a Simpsons episode - however, he was reportedly told the character would be eliminated from the show altogether. One of the show's writers told Vanity Fair that Apu had, "barely had a line in the past three seasons". "Wow. That's the takeaway from my movie and the discussion it sparked?" quipped Indian-American film-maker Hari Kondabolu, who is behind the documentary The Problem with Apu.

The Simpsons also responded to the controversy with an April episode titled No Good Read Goes Unpunished, which debated the controversy metacontextually.

"'The Simpsons" may soon drop an Indian character - Apu - from the show to avoid growing controversy. Shankar calls the decision "a mistake", arguing that a show about cultural commentary shouldn't be afraid to comment on the cutlure. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers' room, not in a token way, but genuinely informing whatever new direction this character may take, including how it is voiced or not voiced.

Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, the actor said he was "perfectly willing to step aside" so someone else could play the Kwik-E-Mart owner.

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