Morrissey hits back at Simpsons over ‘hurtful and racist’ parody episode | Morrissey
The Simpsons won Morrissey’s wrath after he parodied the former Smiths frontman in an episode of the series.
The singer was satirized during the episode Panic on the Streets of Springfield, which aired in the United States on Sunday night. In the episode, Lisa Simpson becomes obsessed with a fictional group called the Snuffs and befriends their leader, Quilloughby.
The character, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a depressed young British singer from the 1980s who, like Morrissey, is vegan and sports a quiff. The episode features more nods to the singer, including an Oscar Wilde poster and parody song titles including How Late Is Then, Hamburger Homicide, and Everyone Is Horrid Except Me and Possibly You.
It turns out, however, that Quilloughby is a figment of Lisa’s imagination and his dream is shattered when he transforms into a gray, meat-eating, overweight man with anti-immigrant views.
Hours after the episode aired, a statement written on Morrissey’s behalf by his manager, Peter Katsis, appeared on the singer’s Facebook page, calling the show “hurtful and racist.”
“It’s surprising how much the writing of The Simpsons TV show has taken for the worse in recent years,” the statement reads. “Making fun of subjects is one thing… but when a show stoops so low to use hateful tactics like showing the Morrissey character with his stomach sticking out of his shirt (when he never looked like that at no time in his career) you wonder who the real hurtful racist group is here.
“Worse still, to call Morrissey’s character racist, without pointing out any particular case, offers nothing. It only serves to insult the artist.
Morrissey, 61, has always denied being racist, but has been condemned numerous times in the past for his comments on the breed, including calling the Chinese a ‘subspecies’, citing their treatment of animals, calling the meat halal of “evil,” declaring the animals are suffering, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, cannot speak properly.
He also expressed support for the far-right For Britain party, wearing a badge bearing his logo during an American television performance.
His manager’s statement, which did not explain how the Simpsons episode was racist, then accused the show of hypocrisy after Hank Azaria apologized for voicing Indian character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. “Hank Azaria’s recent apologies to the entire Indian country for his role in defending ‘structural racism’ speaks volumes,” the statement said.
The author of the episode, Tim Long, previously said Variety that the character was not based solely on Morrissey. “I’m sticking to that. The character is definitely Morrissey-esque, with perhaps a little hint of Ian Curtis from Joy Division and a bunch of other people.
Inspired by Long’s love for British indie bands in the 1980s – he told Variety how seeing the Smiths on their tour The Queen Is Dead changed his life – the episode features parody songs written by the songwriter Long and Flight of the Conchords Bret McKenzie.
The episode is scheduled to air in the UK on Sky One next month.