LOS ANGELES (AP) — The producers of “The Simpsons” are removing a classic episode that featured the voice of Michael Jackson after HBO aired a documentary in which two men claim they were sexually abused by the singer when they were younger.
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“It feels like the only choice to make,” executive producer James L. Brooks told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Fellow executive producers Matt Groening and Al Jean are “of one mind on this,” Brooks said.
The action follows HBO’s broadcast of the documentary “Leaving Neverland.” Jackson’s family has denounced the program, saying it’s full of falsehoods. His estate is suing HBO. In the 1991 “Stark Raving Dad” episode, Jackson voiced a character who claims to be Jackson and who meets Homer Simpson in a mental institution. The singer is listed in credits as John Jay Smith.
The episode will be removed from streaming services and future DVD sets. Also, organizers say an online petition calling for the end of the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show “Michael Jackson: One” had gotten several thousand signatures by Friday.
Cirque du Soleil representatives declined comment.