The release of Disney+ means users of the subscription video-on-demand streaming service can watch all of their favorite episodes of The Simpsons. But there’s one episode that has been removed — the third season’s premiere, “Stark Raving Dad,” which covers Homer’s experience in a mental institution. During Homer’s time there, he meets a man he believes is Michael Jackson, Vice News reports.
The removal is likely due to the sexual abuse allegations leveled against Jackson in HBO’s Leaving Neverland by Wade Robson and James Safechuck.
The Simpsons’ executive producer, Al Jean, previously revealed in an interview with The Daily Beast that he believes the King of Pop used his Simpsons appearance to commit his crimes.
“I think it was part of what he used to groom boys. I really don’t know, and I should be very careful because this is not something I know personally, but as far as what I think, that’s what I think. And that makes me very, very sad.”
Another one of the show’s producers, James L. Brooks, announced in March to The Wall Street Journal that the Jackson episode would be removed from circulation following the release of Leaving Neverland, which he said provided “evidence of monstrous behavior.” While Brooks acknowledged that the episode contains great memories, he suggested that the accusations against Jackson do not allow them to remain.
“This is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter,” he said, referring to the ritual of book burning.
“I wish there were more people in the world like Michael Jackson. He’s truly one amazing human being.” – Russ Ragsdale, assistant engineer on 'Bad' pic.twitter.com/iVkvreThlw— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) October 18, 2019
It’s unclear whether the removal of “Stark Raving Dad” was a decision made by The Simpsons crew or Disney. Regardless, the decision fits with the service’s other removals, such as Song of the South, the controversial 1946 musical that spotlights the Reconstruction-era American South. Also missing is a “Commando Duck,” a propaganda cartoon from World War II that features locals depicted as racist caricatures.
In addition, the service has included a warning with older content that includes stereotypes and racism, including Dumbo and the Lady and the Tramp.
“This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions,” the warning reads.
The allegations spotlighted in Leaving Neverland haven’t just influenced Disney. As The Inquisitr previously reported, the recently released The Apollo documentary hit HBO last week and covered the legendary theater, which played a prominent role in black history and was integral in helping propel the Jackson 5 into the spotlight. Despite the theater’s connection to the Jacksons, the family’s legacy at the venue was reportedly scrubbed from the film.