Al Jean, the longtime showrunner on “The Simpsons” and one of the key figures behind the recent decision to remove from circulation an episode featuring Michael Jackson, talked about the reasoning behind that decision in an interview with The Daily Beast.
Jean wrote the episode, “Stark Raving Dad,” the first episode of season three. Jackson provides his voice to one of the characters — you can see a clip below.
As we reported previously, the episode is being pulled from syndication along with DVD releases and streaming in the wake of the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” in which allegations of child abuse by Jackson are detailed.
“What saddens me is, if you watch that documentary — which I did, and several of us here did — and you watch that episode, honestly, it looks like the episode was used by Michael Jackson for something other than what we’d intended it,” Jean told The Daily Beast. “It wasn’t just a comedy to him, it was something that was used as a tool.”
Jean added that “the episode itself has a false purpose, and that’s what I object to about it now.”
Asked to clarify what its false purpose was, Jean said: “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.”
The publication asked Jean whether Jackson wrote a song that he and Bart sing to Lisa during the episode, which has Michael’s character singing, “And your first kiss from a boy…”
Jean said Jackson did write the song. “He did. But I’d really not talk about it anymore because I don’t want to belabor it,” he said. “It’s from the heart, on our part, and I think Jim [Brooks] put it really well. It’s not for any other reason [than] for what I just said, where if you watch the documentary and then you watch that episode, something’s amiss.”