A 1991 episode of “The Simpsons” in which Michael Jackson appeared as an uncredited voice will no longer be in the show’s rotation as a result of the scathing documentary “Leaving Neverland” in which two men accuse the singer of molesting them for several years, Variety reports.
“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” executive producer James L. Brooks told the Wall Street Journal.
The episode, entitled “Stark Raving Dad” is considered a classic among “Simpsons” fans.
On Thursday Brooks said that he, along with executive producers Matt Groening and Al Jean co-signed the decision. “The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this,” Brooks said.
According to the episode’s description, Jackson (credited as John Jay Smith) voiced a character named Leon Kompowsky, who meets Homer Simpson in a mental institution. Simpson brings home the character, a large white man who claims to be Jackson. Ultimately, Leon helps Bart Simpson celebrate his sister’s birthday by singing one of the show’s most memorable tunes, “Happy Birthday Lisa.” But although Jackson wrote the song, he didn’t actually sing it, due to contractual obligations. It was sung instead by vocalist Christopher “Kipp” Lennon.
“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 told the Journal.
“I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter,” he said. It will be a while before the episode is completely removed from syndication, Brooks said.
Meanwhile, “Leaving Neverland” has caused Jackson’s estate and his family to fire back feverishly.
Last week, brothers Marlon, Tito and Jackie, who he performed with in the Jackson 5, along with nephew Taj all appeared on “CBS This Morning” to defend the singer.
“This documentary is not telling the truth,” claimed Marlon.
“There has not been not one piece of evidence that corroborates their story,” Marlon added. “And they’re not interested in doing that,” he said.
CBS co-host Gayle King asked if they were being naïve about the allegations.
Jackie replied, “I don’t care to see it…because I know my brother. I don’t have to see that documentary. I know Michael. I’m the oldest brother. I know my brother. I know what he stood for. What he was all about. Bringing the world together. Making kids happy. That’s the kind of person he was.”
The family believes that Robson and Safechuck are looking for money.
“It’s all about money,” said Marlon, 61.
Jackson was acquitted of sexually abusing children in a 2005 trial and had always maintained his innocence against the claims.
Further, the Jackson estate has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking $100 million in damages.
“The Jackson Estate will seek all damages proximately caused by HBO’s reprehensible disparagement of Michael Jackson, which could exceed $100 million should HBO succeed in the damage it is intending to cause to the legacy of Michael Jackson,” the lawsuit read, according to Deadline.