'The Simpsons' producer reveals why they are pulling the Michael Jackson episode
For decades, people have been speculating over Michael Jackson's alleged inappropriate relationships with young children, but it was only recently - thanks to the release of the Leaving Neverland documentary - that any real action has been taken to condemn the so-called King of Pop.
Following revelations made in the two-part film, many radio stations have decided to blacklist Jackson from their airwaves, and several celebrities have come forward to say that they can no longer stand by the singer. Some have even gone so far to say that Jackson certainly "had unhealthy interests in children", despite others claiming the complete opposite.
The latest development in this trend of distancing Jackson from pop culture has seen The Simpsons (a show recognised for its occasional cameos from famous figures), make the decision to stop airing an episode which features Jackson as a voice actor.
The episode, titled 'Stark Raving Dad', sees Homer Simpson get admitted to a psychiatric ward. While there, he meets Leon Kompowsky, a patient who sings Billie Jean and shows off his moonwalk dance. The joke of the episode is that Leon's delusion makes him think he is MJ - but he was actually voiced by the singer (even though his name in the credits appears as John Jay Smith).
"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," said the show's executive producer, James L. Brooks.
He explained that, considering what has come to light with the Leaving Neverland documentary, it would be wrong to continue showing the episode.
"The guys I work with– where we all spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this. It feels clearly the only choice is to make. The documentary gave evidence of monstrous behavior," he said.
He also added: "I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter."
The 'Leaving Neverland' documentary aired last Sunday on HBO, finally giving viewers insight into exactly what those at the Sundance Film Festival had found so harrowing earlier this year. The four-hour film features extensive interviews with James Safechuck and Wade Robson, two men who allege that Jackson molested them and other young children during the 1990s.
Robson, Safechuck, and the film's director, Dan Reed, have been the target of countless death threats since they started publicising the documentary, as many believe that they are only making the allegations for money or notoriety.
But the two victims have sworn time and time again that they are telling the truth, even going so far as to recount painful details from the ordeal.
"Michael drilled in you, 'If you’re caught, we’re caught, your life is over, my life is over,'" Safechuck recently told Oprah while appearing on her show. "It’s repeated over and over again, it’s drilled into your nervous system. It takes a lot of work to sort through that."
Jackson was acquitted of all criminal charges relating to children during his lifetime.