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The Controversial Simpsons Episode That Got Banned From Disney+

It is truly amazing to think that out of the extensive catalog of episodes of "The Simpsons,"  there could be one deemed unfit for syndication or streaming. Originally premiering in the halcyon days of 1989, the beloved animated show has well over 730 episodes across 34 seasons and has earned an amazing 178 award wins from 340 nominations at the time of writing (via IMDb).

Considering that "The Simpsons" is currently the longest-running scripted American television series, the show has had plenty of time for famous celebrity guest stars and plots. Some of the celebrities who have lent their voice to the series have been Johnny Cash as a spirit guide, Michelle Pfeiffer as a potential threat to Homer (Dan Castellaneta) and Marge's (Julie Kavner) marriage, and Leonard Nimoy playing himself as a spokesperson for the city of Springfield's ill-fated monorail. Besides tapping some serious star power, "The Simpsons" has had some controversial moments, like when Mr. Burns (Harry Shearer) forces Homer to do degrading things while acting as his "prank monkey," an episode that features scantily clad women with the aims of attracting more people to the Catholic Church, and several scenes that lampoon a certain big-name 24/7 news channel, earning the wrath of one its leading anchors (via New York Times). Considering all of this, which episode raised a few eyebrows and caused it to be absent from the streaming service?

The Simpsons' Season 3 premiere was pulled due to the involvement of a maligned singer

For those perusing Disney+'s "The Simpsons" offerings, it may have come as a shock to see the premiere episode of Season 3 absent from the service. Titled "Stark Raving Dad," the episode starts with Homer being sent to a mental institution for wearing a pink shirt to work. Once there, he befriends a fellow patient with the rather recognizable name of Michael Jackson (voiced by the actual King of Pop himself). As Lisa (Yeardley Smith) is upset that Bart wasn't there for her on her birthday as promised, Bart and "Jackson" sing her a birthday song. Then, it is revealed that "Jackson" — who looks nothing like the singer — is actually named Leon Kompowsky.

Although "Stark Raving Dad" is free of typical "Simpsons" controversy, the issue at hand is the presence of the famous Moonwalker. Jackson, who died in 2009, has been accused of sexually abusing minors, resulting in several lawsuits and investigations (via NPR). Speaking to the Wall Street Journal (via The Guardian), producer James L. Brooks explained the decision to pull the episode. "This was a treasured episode," he said. "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." 

Ultimately, the stigma surrounding Jackson's legacy was enough to invoke a rather strong response, and "Stark Raving Dad" has earned somewhat of a pariah status because of it.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).