‘Leaving Neverland’ Doc Was Too Scandalous Even For ‘The Simpsons’

It seems HBO’s recent Michael Jackson documentary, Leaving Neverland, has proven to be too scandalous even for Fox’s irreverent animated series, The Simpsons.

James L. Brooks, co-creator and executive producer of the long-running animated series, told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that one of the show’s most popular episodes – featuring the actual voice of Jackson – will be pulled from circulation after the allegations of sexual abuse by Jackson in the documentary.

Brooks told the WSJ, “It feels clearly the only choice to make.”

Brooks emphasized that he’s “against book burning of any kind” when it comes to censorship, but added, “but this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”

The episode, titled “Stark Raving Dad,” featured Jackson as a mental patient who believes he is Michael Jackson. Showrunner Al Jean told The Hollywood Reporter in 2012 that Jackson himself reached out to do the show.

Jackson voiced the character in 1991, although he was credited as “John Jay Smith.” Near the end of the episode, the character helps Bart Simpson write and sing a birthday bop for his sister, Lisa. 

Interestingly, Jackson’s voice for the song was performed by MJ impersonator, Kipp Lennon, but Jackson did write the tune for the episode. 

Pop culture site, The Ringer, lists the episode as one of the all-time Top Ten episodes of The Simpsons.for managing to “showcase the King of Pop’s talents, poke fun of his persona, and humanize him in a way that nothing has before or since.”

While the episode is being taken out of circulation, you can still check out the Michael Jackson scenes from the installment below (at least for now).



And here’s the musical climax, “Lisa, It’s Your Birthday" written by Jackson:



(h/t WSJ, The Ringer)

What do you think?