'The Simpsons' Showrunner Explains Decision to Pull Michael Jackson Episode
“I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”
Like countless families and fans laboring over the legacy of Michael Jackson in the wake of Leaving Neverland, The Simpsons had to make a hard call last week. Showrunners, writers, and producers, together decided to pull a 1991 episode of the show that featured a cameo (and songwriting credit) from The King of Pop.
Now, showrunner, Al Jean, has clarified the decision to pull “Stark Raving Dad” from rotation. Speaking with The Daily Beast, Jean explains, “What saddens me is, if you watch Leaving Neverland — which I did, and several of us here did — and you watch that episode, honestly, it looks like the episode was used by Michael Jackson for something other than what we’d intended.” He adds, “It wasn’t just a comedy to him, it was something that was used as a tool.”
Elaborating on what he meant by “tool,” Jean claims “I think it was part of what he used to groom boys. I really don’t know, and I should be very careful because this is not something I know personally, but as far as what I think, that’s what I think.”
Since the two-part documentary’s premiere, Jackson’s fanbase has become predictably polarized. Many have maintained their allegiance (Pete Rock and Stevie Wonder,) while others (Drake and Virgil Abloh,) have opted not to ignore the severity of the allegations wagered (in painful detail) against the late King of Pop.