Priyanka Chopra claims 'The Simpsons' character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon was the "bane of her life" when she was younger.

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra

The 35-year-old actress - who was born in India before moving to America as a teenager - has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Kwick-E-Mart owner, after it was claimed his portrayal by white actor Hank Azaria is racist and perpetuates harmful stereotypes.

Priyanka said: "He was the bane of my life growing up, for sure.

"A lot of people are talking about, 'Oh, the show was so successful for 30 years, why are we suddenly waking up and being offended by a character that everyone loved?'

"What happened from that time to now, the population of Indian Americans has tripled. So the voice is louder. Representation for people of colour is louder. There's the Internet and the media, where people can have a conversation."

Because of the cartoon character's over exaggerated accent, the 'Quantico' star claims her classmates used to ask her ignorant questions.

She added during an appearance on 'The View': "I was always asked when I was in high school at 14, 15, why I didn't speak like that. Or are my parents doctors (which they are)? Did I find gold in my rivers? Did I go to school on elephants? I always had questions like that.

"So I think, yes, it is a time where, why try to erase stereotype? Yes, it is a cartoon. Yes, it's a pop culturally super successful show. But that gives it more responsibility. It's out of date on so many levels."

Priyanka's comments come after Apu's voice actor Hank - who has performed the role since 1989 - said he would happily step aside in order to make the character better represented in the future.

He said: "The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased based on the character of Apu, it just really makes me sad. It was certainly not my intention. I wanted to spread laughter and joy with this character, and the idea that it's brought pain and suffering in any way, that it was used to marginalise people, it's upsetting. Genuinely.

"I am perfectly willing and happy to step aside or help transition it into something new. I really hope that's what 'The Simpsons' does. It not only makes sense, but it just feels like the right thing to do to me."