The executive producers say that it was a unanimous decision.
"Lisa it's your birthday, happy birthday Lisa..." Longtime Simpsons fans worldwide know that song because it brings back memories of Michael Jackson's 1991 guest appearance on the long-running animated sitcom. Just days after it was announced that radio stations around the world removed Michael Jackson's music from their playlists, The Simpsons have followed in their footsteps and yanked MJ's Season 3 "Stark Raving Dad" episode out of rotation. The episode will no longer air on television, on demand, or in future DVD box sets of The Simpsons.
In "Stark Raving Dad," Jackson voiced the character Leon Kompowsky, a balding, overweight man who Homer meets while in a mental institution. Kompowsky claims to be Michael Jackson, and later, Homer brings him home to meet the Simpson family. The stranger helps Bart and Lisa celebrate the latter's birthday, and they all come together to sing "Happy Birthday Lisa," a tune that has been etched in the minds of fans for decades. However, it was voice actor and singer Kipp Lennon who sang in the episode, not Jackson himself.
“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” executive producer James L. Brooks told the Wall Street Journal. Brooks also stated that his fellow executive producers, Matt Groening and Al Jean, echoed his sentiment. "The guys I work with — where we spend our lives arguing over jokes — were of one mind on this." Variety reached out to Jean who emailed them back saying, “I agree with Jim, nothing else to add."
To say that the two-part HBO documentary Leaving Neverland left a mark on the industry is an understatement. Wade Robson and James Safechuck starred in director Dan Reed's controversial documentary, graphically detailing sexual abuse they allegedly endured by Jackson when they were children. The documentary has left many divided over the truth behind Robson and Safechuck's claims, but it's clear the industry is taking a stand against the late King of Pop.