"The Simpsons" pull Michael Jackson episode amidst 'Leaving Neverland' documentary
“The Simpsons” producers came to the decision after watching the documentary.
Following the backlash of the Michael Jackson Leaving Neverland, producers of “The Simpsons” have decided to pull an episode featuring the late pop star from streaming and syndication.
“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” Simpsons executive producer James L. Brooks told The Wall Street Journal in a statement.
Brooks also revealed to the Journal that the decision to pull the episode came after he, “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, and showrunner Al Jean viewed the new documentary, in which two men accused Jackson of molested them when they were children. “The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this,” Brooks said.
The season 3 premiere, “Stark Raving Dad,” is about Homer Simpson accidentally being committed to a psychiatric institution, where he rooms with a man pretending to be Michael Jackson. Jackson voiced the character of Leon Kompowsky without credit, however, another voice actor was used when Leon sings “Happy Birthday, Lisa.”
The two-part documentary directed by Dan Reed originally debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival back in January. It focuses on Wade Robson and James Safechuck who have claimed that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. Jackson had always denied any mistreatment of children before his death in 2009, and the Michael Jackson Estate recently sued HBO to prevent its airing.
Since debuting on HBO, several radio stations outside the United States have stopped playing Jackson’s music, while artists like T.I. has come out in support of Jackson. “Let this man speak for himself to defend his legacy,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “Don’t just listen to one side and expect to find truth. Oh that’s right…Dead men can’t speak. So what was the point again? Destroy another strong black historical LEGEND?!?!”
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