Morrissey has unloaded on The Simpsons for a recent episode parodying the former Smiths singer. Update: In a follow-up Facebook post, Morrissey manager Peter Katsis said he was the one who issued the initial post criticizing The Simpsons. Meanwhile, Morrissey has issued a statement of his own. Read the full update below.
Sunday’s episode titled “Panic on the Streets of Springfield” saw Lisa become obsessed with a British singer named Quilloughby, whose likeness and persona was inspired by Morrissey. Lisa discovers Quilloughby and his band The Snuffs on a streaming service, and immediately becomes enthralled with “their brand of literate, sardonic music” and his “militant vegetarianism.” Quilloughby, who was voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, soon appears in Lisa’s life in imaginary form — albeit as his 1980s self.
However, after Lisa has an opportunity to attend a Snuffs reunion concert, she soon discovers that Quilloughby is no longer his former self — instead, he’s now overweight, racist, and worst of all, he eats meat. “I was [a vegan], until I found out veganism was invented by foreigners, for whom there are far too many on this planet,” Quilloughby proclaims.
A statement posted to Morrissey’s official Facebook page following the airing of the episode blasted The Simpsons for trying “to capitalize on cheap controversy and expounding on vicious rumors.”
“When a show stoops so low to use harshly hateful tactics like showing the Morrissey character with his belly hanging out of his shirt (when he has never looked like that at any point in his career) makes you wonder who the real hurtful, racist group is here,” the statement opined.
“Even worse – calling the Morrissey character out for being a racist, without pointing out any specific instances, offers nothing. It only serves to insult the artist.” (Editor’s Note: Morrissey has a long history of spewing racist rhetoric.)
The statement went on to cite Hank Azaria’s recent apology over his portrayal of Apu as proof that The Simpsons cast and crew are the real racists. “Truly they are the only ones who have stopped creating, and have instead turned unapologetically hurtful and racist,” the statement contended.
Meanwhile, “Morrissey has never made a ‘cash grab’, hasn’t sued any people for their attacks, has never stopped performing great shows, and is still a serious vegan and strong supporter for animal rights,” the statement proclaimed. “By suggesting all of the above in this episode…The Simpsons’ hypocritical approach to their storyline says it all.”
The statement closed with a very Trumpian-line referencing the show’s dwindling ratings: “Not surprising…… that The Simpsons viewership ratings have gone down so badly over recent years.”
Read the full statement below. The episode of The Simpsons is currently available to replay on Hulu.
Update – 4:15 p.m.: In a follow-up Facebook post, Morrissey manager Peter Katsis said he was the one who issued the initial post criticizing The Simpsons. “More shoddy journalism by COS and Pitchfork today,” Katsis wrote. “They attributed my quote (on The Simpsons’ poor writing) to Morrissey, while using false facts to try and support more meaningless stories.” FWIW, the initial statement posted to Morrissey’s official Facebook page was not originally attributed to Katsis; it was only after the story started making the rounds that Katsis added his name to the end of it, and posted a follow-up statement ripping yours truly.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Katsis said they are not planing any legal action now, but “we’ll surely be looking at options.” “It’s sad that publications care more about what could achieve viewership or readership than anything that is related to the truth. It’s clear The Simpsons are hurting and they’re trying to be pertinent again. But this is an effort to be specifically hurtful in some weird kind of way.”
Update – 10:15 p.m.: Morrissey has issued his own statement. He, too, briefly flirts with the idea of taking legal action over a parody before acknowledging that such a lawsuit “requires more funding than I could possibly muster in order to make a challenge. Neither do I have a determined business squad of legal practitioners ready to pounce.”