Business Insider reports that the 1991 episode of animated series “The Simpsons” which featured the voice of Michael Jackson will be pulled from circulation. Series Executive Producer, James L. Brooks, told reporters that the decision to remove the episode comes on the heels of the HBO documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” which outlines disturbing allegations of child sexual abuse at the hands of pop star Michael Jackson.
The show’s production team including Brooks, as well as Matt Groening and Al Jean, agreed unanimously to remove the episode from all streaming services, syndication, boxsets, and video websites.
What is reason behind the sudden taking-down of the episode?
The decision comes following allegations in the documentary “Leaving Neverland”, detailing the accounts of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck who say the pop star sexually abused them and groomed them as children at his Neverland estate.
In an interview to Wall Street Journal, the long-time running show’s executive producer James L. Brooks announced that the classic episode featuring Jackson’s voice will be removed from circulation, dailymail.co.uk reports.
“The episode called ‘Stark Raving Dad’, which appears in season three, will be pulled from syndication and streaming services,” Brooks said.
“This was a treasured episode. There are a lot of great memories we have wrapped up in that one, and this certainly doesn’t allow them to remain,” Brooks said on the episode.
Talking about the decision, Brooks said: “The documentary gave evidence of monstrous behaviour. I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”
In the episode, Jackson plays Leon Kompowsky, a mental hospital patient who ends up sharing a room with Homer Simpson. In the episode, he sings his classic “Billie Jean” and shows off his iconic moonwalk dance moves.The singer’s involvement in the show was initially uncredited, and was only confirmed to be the real Jackson years later. For some reason, though, Jackson doesn’t actually sing on the episode, instead they used impersonator Kipp Lennon for the ‘Happy Birthday Lisa’ song.
The allegations re-stirred Jackson’s controversy over the alleged abuse of boys.
About the documentary:”Leaving Neverland”
If you can’t see that Michael Jackson was a paedophile after watching @danreed1000 ‘s film you are being wilfully blind. And if you are campaigning against it you are actively colluding in the silencing of victims.
— Louis Theroux (@louistheroux) March 7, 2019
The documentary “Leaving Neverland”, details the accounts of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck who say the pop star sexually abused them and groomed them as children at his Neverland estate.
Brooks told the Journal that pulling the episodes was important to show compassion for the alleged victims while the long-standing allegations resurfaced.
Some viewers said they felt sick after watching it, while Louis Theroux – who made his own documentary about Jackson in 2003, said people are being ‘wilfully blind’ if they ‘can’t see that Michael Jackson was a paedophile’.
Michael Jackson’s estate, however, is suing HBO over the documentary, saying it violates a non-disparagement clause from a 1992 contract. The complaint also describes the documentary as ‘a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself’, The Guardian reports.
HBO have responded to the lawsuit from Jackson’s estate, saying their plans ‘remain unchanged’ to air the documentary, in order to ‘allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for the themselves’.