Usually any news regarding Michael Jackson is occasion for me to back into some bushes because I don’t want to deal with the obsessive fanbase, but this news item seemed too surprising to ignore. The Simpsons‘ creators have decided to remove the episode featuring Jackson’s uncredited voice acting — “Stark Raving Dad,” the Season 3 premiere from September 19th, 1991 — after watching HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, which left them with little doubt that pulling the episode was the “only choice” they could make.
The Simpsons creators Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Al Jean were unanimous in their decision, with Brooks telling The Wall Street Journal, “It feels clearly the only choice to make. The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this.” Brooks went on, “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.”
In the episode, Jackson voiced a character named Leon Kompowsky, a mental patient who believes he’s Michael Jackson. Brooks said it will take time to fully remove the episode, but it will eventually be pulled from FXX’s “Simpson’s World” streaming service, as well as being removed from syndication and any future box sets. It will also not be available to purchase online.
“I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter,” Brooks explained, perhaps feeling the same way many radio stations are about airing Jackson’s work right now. Al Jean later confirmed to Variety that “I agree with Jim, nothing else to add.”
Oh, and if you’re a huge Michael Jackson fan, please don’t email me. I can’t give you a time machine to go back to when his reputation was spotless. Both of our time spent arguing would be better spent doing anything else, like watching old episodes of The Simpsons that haven’t been yeeted down the memory hole, for example.