The long-running, groundbreaking animated collection The Simpsons marked the beginning of its third season with “Stark Raving Dad”, an episode each initially widespread and now controversial for its selection of friends–Michael Jackson. Now the present is obtainable on Disney+, with one curious omission… “Stark Raving Dad” is unavailable, with the third season starting with “Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington”.
In “Stark Raving Dad”, Jackson voiced Leon Kompowsky, a person Homer meets in a psychological establishment who curiously sounds precisely like–and claims to be–Michael Jackson. Jackson was by no means credited for the episode resulting from contractual points, however the episode was sparked from Jackson himself. A fan of the show, he known as creator Matt Groening and supplied to do a visitor look on the collection.
It isn’t the primary time the episode has been pulled from circulation in latest reminiscence. In March 2019, the episode was pulled from circulation after HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary highlighted the singer’s darkish historical past of molestation accusations by a number of males.
Following the documentary, Simpsons producers opted to take away the episode from streaming and TV channels, with government producer James L. Brooks declaring it “the only choice to make”. He instructed the Wall Road Journal:
“The guys I work with – where we spend our lives arguing over jokes – were of one mind on this. This was a treasured episode. 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.”
Jackson’s property has vehemently denied all allegations, and Disney+ has not but commented on the episode’s exclusion. It’s assumed that the omission follows the troubling documentary and its latest pulling.
Disney Struggles To Tackle Previous Controversy
Since its streaming launch, Disney has made several kinds of attempts to handle previous content material that’s explicitly or subtly problematic, in complete or partly.
A variety of its earlier episodes, cartoon shorts, and animated options embrace of their description a warning that they “may contain outdated cultural depictions”. The warning sits alongside each well-known controversial content material, like Dumbo with its notorious and troubling crow scene, and with some older content material that doesn’t actually have evident points. The coverage appears to be a content-irrespective catch-all to cowl bases concerning Disney’s early content material.
Alternatively, Disney’s Tune of the South is overtly omitted from the streaming service for having specific racist content. The 1946 movie’s final theatrical launch was in 1986, and it has by no means obtained a VHS or DVD dwelling launch.
Disney is clearly looking for a passable option to pretty incorporate its long-spanning content material library, even when earlier content material is acknowledged right this moment to be inappropriate. In some instances, content material is reclaimed with a good warning, whereas different earlier content material could also be axed totally–the coverage Disney appears to implicitly be following with “Stark Raving Dad”.