Back in 1991, pop star Michael Jackson lent his voice (uncredited) to the season three premiere of The Simpsons. The episode, titled “Stark Raving Dad,” has become a fan favorite, but it will no longer be part of the show’s official rotation.
The show’s producers decided to pull the episode in light of Finding Neverland, the HBO documentary covering Jackson’s allegations of sexual assault.
The Wall Street Journal broke the news Thursday with statements from The Simpsons Executive Producer James L. Brooks. According to Brooks, the episode will be removed from syndication, future reissues of The Simpsons DVD sets, and FXX’s “Simpsons World” on-demand service.
Some Simpsons fans have taken to social media to share their disapproval of the popular episode’s ban.
Stark Raving Dad one of the best Simpsons episodes. RIP https://t.co/qkgwIaVYA2
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) March 8, 2019
— erika 🌹 (@__erkal) March 8, 2019
Yes, James L. Brooks is right when he says, “This is our book and we’re allowed to take out a chapter,” but to take “Stark Raving Dad” off the Season 3 set… Why, that’d be like removing the gannet from Olsen’s Standard Book of British Birds!https://t.co/ORh1tEHdRf
— Will Harris (@NonStopPop) March 8, 2019
Despite the potential for backlash, the producers are confident in their decision to remove the episode.
“This was a treasured episode,” Brooks tells the WSJ. “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.”