NEW YORK (AP) — An escalating contract dispute suggests that Harry Shearer, a part-time resident of New Orleans, may exit “The Simpsons,” where he has voiced several of its characters since the Fox cartoon series debuted in 1989.

In Twitter posts on Thursday, Shearer said re-upping with the series would have denied him “what we’ve always had: the freedom to do other work.”

In a tweet hours later, “Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean resolved to “recast if Harry does not return.”

Shearer voices characters including Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns and Smithers, while pursuing other projects outside the show. He was not immediately available for comment.

In a statement, the series’ executive producers said Shearer “was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed.”

Fox has picked up “The Simpsons” for its 27th and 28th seasons.