THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 1991 TTCFFC(LOS ANGELES) — The Simpsons showrunners have decided to remove an episode featuring the voice of Michael Jackson from all TV and streaming platforms, as well as future DVD box sets, according to The Hollywood Reporter, confirming an earlier Wall Street Journal report.
Executive producer James L. Brooks, creator Matt Groening and showrunner Al Jean collectively agreed to pull the episode, titled "Stark Raving Dad," in response to the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, in which two men accuse Jackson of sexually abusing them as children.
The Simpsons episode, which originally aired in 1991 during the show's third season, featured Jackson as the voice of Leon Kompowsky, a man who believes he's the "Bad" singer. Jackson, a fan of the show, offered to guest star and was originally credited under the pseudonym "John Jay Smith."
Brooks told the Wall Street Journal Journal, “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.”
The decision to pull the show from the Simpsons catalog follows three radio stations in Montreal, Quebec that have decided to pull Jackson's music from their playlists. Meanwhile, a Hollywood-based deejay told Variety that she'll no longer play Michael's music at parties and events.
The Leaving Neverland documentary drew in 1.29 million viewers for its first installment Sunday night, the third-largest audience for an HBO documentary this decade.
Jackson's family and his estate have denied the allegations in Leaving Neverland and have filed a lawsuit against HBO, claiming that film violates a non-disparagement clause from a 1992 contract HBO signed in order to air a Jackson concert.
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