“The Simpsons” executive producer James L. Brooks announced the episode featuring Michael Jackson’s voice will be pulled from syndication, per a report from Joe Flint of the Wall Street Journal.
“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” Brooks said of the episode entitled “Stark Raving Dad,” which first aired on Sep. 19, 1991. The plot involved Homer striking up a friendship with a mental hospital patient voiced by Jackson. The climax featured Jackson performing a song for young Lisa Simpson.
The decision comes in the wake of the release of the Netflix documentary Leaving Neverland, which detailed Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse of Wade Robson and James Safechuck when they were 7 and 10 years old, respectively.
Show creator Matt Groening confirmed during a conversation with Australia’s The Weekly that it actually is Jackson’s voice in the episode.
“We really did have Michael Jackson,” Groening confirmed to Australia’s The Weekly. “He has a voice that sounds like someone doing a Michael Jackson bit.” Ironically enough, Groening actually hung up on the King of Pop, who initially reached out to the animator with a cold-call expressing interest to hop on the then-global phenomenon. “He said that he loved Bart [Simpson] and wanted to be on the show.
Groening received some negative press for his comments surrounding the character Apu, a stereotypical Indian immigrant who owns a convenience store in the fictional city of Springfield. Comedian Hari Kondabalu released a documentary called The Problem with Apu, which talked about the character’s negative effect on the representation of Indian-Americans in popular media.
Groening deflected the criticism.
I’m proud of what we do on the show. And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended
This is a developing story.