SALT LAKE CITY — "The Simpsons" will no longer air an episode that includes the voice of Michael Jackson, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- "The Simpsons" will pull the episode after the release of the "Leaving Neverland" documentary on HBO, which alleged pedophilia from Jackson.
- James L. Brooks, a "Simpsons" executive producer, told the Wall Street Journal they wanted to pull the show after watching the documentary.
- "The documentary gave evidence of monstrous behavior," Brooks told the WSJ. "The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this. It feels clearly the only choice to make."
- "This was a treasured episode. There are a lot of great memories we wrapped up in that one, and this certainly doesn't allow them to remain," he said.
- Brooks said it will take time for the Jackson episode to completely disappear from all platforms, according to Rolling Stone.
In the episode, called "Stark Raving Dad," Jackson plays a man named Leon Kompowsky, who is a mental health patient who shares a room with Homer Simpson. The character sings "Billie Jean" and even teaches Homer how to moonwalk, Fox News reports.
Context: "Leaving Neverland" debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The two-part documentary aired on HBO last Sunday. The documentary details sexual child molestation allegations against Jackson in the late '80s and '90s. However, the Jackson estate denies the allegations and is suing HBO, according to Vox.
- "Simpsons" pulling the episode happens during the same week some radio stations have nixed Jackson's songs from their playlists, which I wrote about for the Deseret News.
- The controversy with Jackson raises questions about how we handle artistry after the controversy. My colleague Jennifer Graham wrote about this just this week. Experts told her it's a decision we must all weigh when contemplating engaging art from troubled artists, especially Jackson.
- "He's such a cultural icon that we can't escape him, but we have to put that in context. I don't know now that I can call myself a fan. And I'm probably not going to intentionally listen to his music," said Ally Henny, a mother from Missouri.