In the wake of the horrifying, gag-inducing allegations made against Michael Jackson in HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary, the one-time King of Pop’s voice is slowly slithering away from the cultural landscape. Not only are radio stations in Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Canada pulling his music from rotation, but now The Simpsons is pulling the episode he once voiced.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the show has decided to put the 1991 episode into the vault. In the episode, titled “Stark Raving Dad,” Jackson voiced a character named Leon Kompowsky, a mental patient moonwalking around a psychiatric institution and claiming to be the singer. The episode aired in the show’s third season, although it wasn’t particularly memorable save for Jackson’s appearance and a way-too-catchy birthday song that Jackson sings to Lisa Simpson.
In light of the allegations, The Simpsons team is pulling the episode. The show’s longtime executive producer James L. Brooks told the WSJ that pulling the episode is “clearly the only choice to make.” He added that while the show’s writers and producers are used to arguing with each other all the time over jokes, he and executive producers Matt Groening and Al Jean “were of one mind on this.”
He added: “I’m against book-burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”
In Leaving Neverland, James Safechuck and Wade Robson tell the stories of their relationships with Jackson, who allegedly sexually abused them from the ages of 7 and 10 in the early 1990s. Jackson’s family has denied the allegations against the singer and denounced the documentary.