The Michael Jackson Episode Has Been Pulled From 'The Simpsons'

The present has a way of informing the past and making things that seemed fine at the time uncomfortable when cast in a new light. Some things just don't age well.

Think of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, or just about any college hijinks movie from the '80s. Knowing what we know now, and really should have known then, it's hard to imagine ever going back to watch them again on purpose.

Producers of 'The Simpsons' say they're putting the classic episode featuring Michael Jackson's voice on the shelf in the wake of HBO's 'Leaving Neverland' documentary.


As The Wall Street Journal first reported, the episode "Stark Raving Dad," which first aired in 1991, will be pulled in response to the shocking allegations of abuse detailed by James Safechuck and Wade Robson in the documentary.

Longtime executive producer James Brooks told the Journal that he and the other producers felt compelled to act.


"It feels clearly the only choice to make," he said. However, that doesn't mean it was an easy thing for him and the other producers to do.

"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."

Brooks added that there was no disagreement among himself, Matt Groening, and Al Jean about pulling the episode.


"The guys I work with – where we spend our lives arguing over jokes – were of one mind on this," Brooks said. "I’m against book-burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter."

"Stark Raving Dad" kicked off the show's third season and featured a character, 300 lb. white bricklayer Leon Kompowsky, who's in a psychological institution because he believes he's Michael Jackson.


However, Jackson's involvement in the show remained a mystery for many years. He's credited as "John Jay Smith" at the end, and his singing voice was actually done by a sound-alike named Kipp Lennon.

And yet, Jackson's involvement in the episode was his idea, as he was a huge Simpsons fan.

He also wrote a song for the episode that became an instant classic, "Lisa it's your birthday," as well as producing the song "Do the Bartman" for the album The Simpsons Sing The Blues.

The Simpsons producers' decision is only the latest in ongoing fallout from the 'Leaving Neverland' allegations.

Radio stations in New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands have announced they're pulling Jackson's songs from their playlists, and Britain's National Football Museum removed a statue of Michael Jackson on display there.

Jackson's family has pushed back against the allegations in 'Leaving Neverland.'

They call the documentary a "public lynching" and refer to Safechuck and Robson as "admitted liars."

In a statement, they said "Michael was subjected to a thorough investigation which included a surprise raid of Neverland and other properties as well as a jury trial where Michael was found to be COMPLETELY INNOCENT."