"I'm against book burning of any kind," executive producer James L. Brooks told the Wall Street Journal Thursday, adding that this was a collective decision backed by creator Matt Groening. "But this is our book, and we're allowed to take out a chapter." The pull, of course, won't be quite immediate. As Brooks explained, there will be a slight delay on scrubbing the episode from the FXX on-demand app, as well as future DVD pressings.
"It feels clearly the only choice to make," Brooks said of pulling the (critically lauded at the time) episode, which longtime viewers will recall sees Homer being sent to a mental health facility due to matters of purported anarchy. While there, Homer meets someone who claims to be Jackson. Jackson contributing his voice to the episode wasn't confirmed until some time after it aired as the show's season 3 premiere.
The move follows the continued controversy surrounding HBO's two-part documentary Leaving Neverland. In the film, Jackson is accused by James Safechuck and Wade Robson of sexually abusing them as children. The Jackson family has released multiple public statements and given interviews in recent weeks which they adamantly deny both men's accounts.
Most recently, daughter Paris Jackson—though she didn't mention the film by name—responded to a fan's inquiry about her father's legacy being potentially ruined forever. "Tabloids and lies are the bigger picture?" she asked. "I'll pray for you."
Meanwhile, the Simpsons legacy was celebrated last month with a special collection from Virgil Abloh's Off-White.