“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” the animated show’s longtime producer, James L. Brooks, told WSJ. In the episode Stark Raving Dad, which aired during The Simpsons’ third season, Jackson voiced the character of Leon Kompowsky, a patient in a psychiatric hospital who thinks he is a pop star and ends up rooming with Homer Simpson.
Brooks said the decision was made alongside show creator Matt Groening and former show runner Al Jean following their viewing of HBO’s Leaving Neverland, which details two men’s allegations against Michael Jackson accusing him of sexually molesting them while they were minors. Brooks said it was important to pull the Jackson episode to “show compassion for Mr. Jackson’s alleged victims,” WSJ wrote.
“The documentary gave evidence of monstrous behavior,” Brooks said. He added that the episode was among his favorites. “This was a treasured episode. There are a lot of great memories we wrapped up in that one, and this certainly doesn’t allow them to remain.”
While nixing the Jackson episode from syndication and all platforms will take time, Brooks said that “the process has started.”
The two-part documentary, Leaving Neverland, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and also aired via HBO last Sunday and Monday. Directed by Dan Reed, the documentary details Wade Robson and James Safechuck’s graphic sexual child molestation allegations against the late singer when they were under the age of 10 in the 1980s and 1990s. The Jackson estate denies the allegations and is suing HBO for $100 million.