Well, it looks like the creators of legendary TV series The Simpsons are pulling one of its biggest fan favorites: an episode featuring Michael Jackson.
Executive Producer James L. Brooks told the Wall Street Journal on the decision: “It feels clearly the only choice to make. The guys I work with [show creator Matt Groening and fellow EP Al Jean] — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this.”
The episode in question is the season 3 premiere, “Stark Raving Mad,” originally aired back in the fall of 1991 and quickly became one of the show’s most popular episodes. In it, Jackson provided the speaking voice of Leon Kompowsky, who meets Homer in a mental institution and claimed that he was Michael Jackson…despite the fact that the character was white, bald, and over 300 pounds. It became popular because of the catchy duet that Leon did with Bart Simpson for little sister Lisa’s birthday.
[Fun Fact: Although Jackson provided the speaking voice, it wasn’t actually him singing. Due to contractual reasons, MJ had a singing doppelgänger to sing the song, under his supervision]
Despite being one of the greatest episodes in the history of the show, Brooks and his fellow show runners are sticking by the decision, in light of the HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland, chronicling MJ’s alleged sexual abuse of children. Brooks says, “This was a treasured episode. There are a lot of great memories we have wrapped up in that one. I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”
In addition to pulling it from syndication, the creators are also working to getting the episode pulled from streaming services and future DVD & Blu-Ray box sets.