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The Simpsons pull episode with Michael Jackson from streaming, syndication

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The fallout against Michael Jackson after the airing of the two-part documentary LEAVING NEVERLAND is continuing in swift fashion, and after several radio stations stopped playing his music the creators of the iconic animated comedy THE SIMPSONS have decided to pull their episode featuring the pop star. Jackson anonymously lent his voice to the episode, “Stark Raving Dad,” as the gentle giant Leon Kompowsky, a man in a hospital who has the delusion that he is indeed the actual pop star.

THR confirmed news originating in The Wall Street Journal that series executive producer James L. Brooks, showrunner Al Jean and creator Matt Groening made the decision to pull the episode from syndication, remove it from streaming platforms and wipe it clean from future versions of physical copy releases. Brooks spoke to the Journal about it, saying it was the “clear choice”, and that “the guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this."

The episode aired during the third season in 1991 while the show was becoming a staple in TV comedy at the time. Featuring Homer being thrown into a ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST-esque mental hospital ­for one silly reason or another, he becomes pals with Kompowsky, who believes he is actually the “Thriller” singer. Not wanting to be credited under his real name, Jackson decided to be credited as “John Jay Smith” and while speaking his own lines a voice double was used for the singing parts.

“I’m against book burning of any kind,” Brooks added. “But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”

The episode comes on the heels of the bombshell documentary airing on HBO, wherein men Wade Robson and James Safechuck recounted years spent being around Jackson, during that time they claimed he sexually abused them, mostly during their pre-teen years. The impact of the documentary has been tremendous, leading many to not only stop playing his music altogether.

While the episode is considered a classic from the show’s early heyday, Brooks added they could not in good faith continue to let it play one. “This was a treasured episode,” he said. “There are a lot of great memories we have wrapped up in that one, and this certainly doesn’t allow them to remain.”

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