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‘Simpsons’ producer says Michael Jackson exploited show’s 1991 episode to ‘groom boys’

The nearly 30-year-old “Simpsons” episode featuring Michael Jackson was recently pulled because the singer exploited it to “groom boys,” according to a longtime executive of the show.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Beast , executive producer and writer Al Jean explained the decision to no longer air the episode following HBO’s broadcast of “Leaving Neverland,” the two-part documentary in which two men provide detail of Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse of them when they were boys.
FILE — “The Simpsons” (Fox Broacasting Co.) 
“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 said. “It wasn’t just a comedy to him, it was something that was used as a tool. And I strongly believe that. That, to me, is my belief, and it’s why I think removing it is appropriate.
“I lose a little bit of money financially, it’s not something that’s great personally to lose one of the most successful things I ever did, but I totally think it’s the right move. I don’t believe in going through and making judgments on every guest star and saying ‘this one was bad, that one was bad,’ but the episode itself has a false purpose, and that’s what I object to about it now.”
Jean was asked to expound on what he believed to be that false purpose.
“I think it was part of what he used to groom boys,” he said. “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 episode in question, “Stark Raving Dad,” served as the long-running show’s season three premiere in 1991. Jean co-wrote the script specifically for Jackson, who was a fan of the show.
The singer provided the voice for the character Leon Kompowsky, an institutionalized man who believed that he was the King of Pop.
Jackson asked for the inclusion of a scene in which he and the Bart Simpson character would duet on a song, according to the Daily Beast. Jean said Jackson wrote the song “Happy Birthday Lisa” for the episode.
Shortly after HBO began airing “Leaving Neverland” earlier this month, Jean, fellow producer James L. Brooks and series creator Matt Groening decided to take “Stark Raving Dad” out of circulation.
“This was a treasured episode,” Brooks explained . “There are a lot of great memories we have wrapped up in that one, and (the documentary) certainly doesn’t allow them to remain.”
In the documentary, Wade Robson and James Safechuck provide graphic details of Jackson’s alleged years-long sexual abuse of them, starting when they were young boys through adolescence.
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Jackson’s estate, which is suing HBO for $100 million, released a statement denying the men’s claims.
“Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them,” the statement read.

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