'The Simpsons' Pulls Michael Jackson Episode From Streaming Services, Syndication Following Abuse Allegations

The Simpsons is shelving one of its most iconic episodes following the airing of Leaving Neverland.

Producers of the long-running animated series announced their decision to pull the Season 3 premiere "Stark Raving Dad," which features an uncredited cameo appearance from Michael Jackson, following the extensive allegations of sexual assault chronicled in the HBO documentary.

"It feels clearly the only choice to make," executive producer James L. Brooks told the Wall Street Journal Thursday. He added that fellow executive producers Matt Groening and Al Jean agreed with the decision. "The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this," Brooks said.

Jean responded to the story to Variety, writing in an email: "I agree with Jim, nothing else to add."

Jackson infamously provided a voice for the episode, which first aired on Sept. 19, 1991. His involvement was not revealed at the time and remained a rumor before the singer himself confirmed his involvement years later.

The singer voiced the character of Leon Kompowsky, who meets Homer Simpson in a mental institution. Homer then takes the character home, a large white man claiming to be Michael Jackson.

Ultimately, Leon helps Bart Simpson celebrate his sisters birthday by singing one of the show's most memorable tunes, "Happy Birthday Lisa."

"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," Brooks told WSJ. He said it would take time, however, for the show to be removed from syndication, as well as FXXs "Simpsons World" on-demand service, and future reissues of DVD box sets.

"I'm against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we're allowed to take out a chapter," he told the Journal.

The decision comes less than a week after the two-part documentary, Leaving Neverland, aired on HBO. The special detailed allegations of sexual abuse against Jackson, featuring interviews with accusers James Safechuk and Wade Robson, both of whom said they were abused by Jackson when they were children.

The special has garnered mixed reviews, with some viewers standing behind the accusers, while others questioned the reliability of their claims.

Paris Jackson broke her silence on the allegations made by the documentary in a series of tweets, responding to an article claiming she believed her father's innocence.

"I actually haven't made any statements yet, especially regarding how it affects my work life," she wrote in a since-deleted tweet. "You guys are reaching a bit. At least this wasn't a disgusting and attacking article though."


In a follow-up tweet, she wrote, "Y'all take my life more seriously than I do. Calm yo tittaaaaysss."