HBO’s airing of Leaving Neverland has put renewed scrutiny on Michael Jackson’s past relationships with underage boys. In response, several radio stations have ceased playing Jackson’s music; now we’ve learned of The Simpsons’ decision to pull its iconic episode featuring the pop singer.
The 1991 episode, “Stark Raving Dad”, will be removed from circulation, according to The Wall Street Journal, which quotes Simpsons producer James L. Brooks as saying, “It feels clearly like the only choice to make.”
Brooks told the Journal that he, along with Simpsons producers Matt Groening and Al Jean, made the decision after watching the HBO documentary. Brooks said he initially wanted to believe that Jackson was falsely accused, but “the documentary gave evidence of monstrous behavior.”
Beginning immediately, the episode will be pulled from all platforms, including including streaming services, television broadcasts, and Blu-ray/DVD box sets.
“I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter,” Brooks explained.
In “Stark Raving Dad”, Homer is put in a mental hospital for complications that arise from wearing a pink shirt to work. There he meets a man, Leon Kompowsky, who claims to be Michael Jackson (voiced by the actual Jackson). Kompowsky ultimately moves into The Simpsons’ house, and assists Bart in composing a birthday song for Lisa.