"Stark Raving Dad", one of The Simpsons more memorable episodes during the show's early seasons, will be removed from future airings and steaming following the controversy surrounding the Michael Jackson-focused HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland.
As the season three premiere, Jackson provided the voice for Leon Kompowsky, a mental patient who meets Homer (Dan Castellaneta) at a mental health facility. Kompowsky (who's white) thinks he's Jackson. While Jackson provided the voice, he didn't sing due to an arrangement with his record company and a soundalike was used during the musical sequences. The episode credited Jackson as "John Jay Smith."
Written by Al Jean and Mike Reiss, and directed by Rich Moore, it was only rumored of Jackson's involvement until it was confirmed years later it was actually him. Following the events in the documentary Leaving Neverland, which detail the story of two who accused Jackson of sexual assault as children, the show's producers decided to pull "Stark Raving Dad" from circulation.
Executive producer James L. Brooks said everyone creatively involved agreed on the decision to the Wall Street Journal:
"It feels clearly the only choice to make. The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this. 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. I'm against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we're allowed to take out a chapter."
Jean didn't have anything to add after further inquiry from Variety.
Brooks added it would take time for the episode to be removed from syndication, FXX's "Simpsons World" on-demand service and future reissues of DVD sets.
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