Former The Smiths frontman Morrissey’s manager blasted “The Simpsons” for their depiction of the singer in the latest episode of the show.
The artist’s manager Peter Katsis said the show, “has since degenerated to trying to capitalize on cheap controversy and expounding on vicious rumors.”
The episode “Panic on the Streets of Springfield,” which aired Sunday night, followed Lisa Simpson obsession with a vegan British musician named Quilloughby, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is the lead singer of the band the Snuffs. Quilloughby appears as an imaginary friend to Lisa, who inspires her to sing songs like “Hamburger Suicide” and “Everyone is Horrid Except Me (And Possibly You).”
However, things change when Lisa sees Quilloughby perform in real life and he turns out to be a snobbish, meat-eating xenophobe.
While the episode never directly references Morrissey, show director Debbie Mahan said in an Instagram post last week the episode was, “the most fun I’ve ever had working on an episode. My husband, who also works on the show, is an avid Smiths fan/collector, and was our resident Morrissey expert so it truly was a labour of love.”
Episode writer Tim Long told Stereogum on Saturday Quilloughby is, “definitely Morrissey-esque,” along with other artists like Robert Smith from the Cure and Ian Curtis from Joy Division.
Morrissey’s manager Peter Katsis responded to the episode on the artists’ official Facebook early Monday morning, saying the show’s writing has taken a turn for the worst and took a hit at the show’s viewership ratings.
“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” Katsis said.
Katsis referenced actor Hank Azaria’s recent apology on providing the voice of Indian-character Apu, saying the role upheld, “structural racism.”
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“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,
“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. By suggesting all of the above in this episode…the Simpson’s hypocritical approach to their storyline says it all,” he wrote.
“The Simpsons” declined to comment on the Facebook post. Katsis and other Morrissey representatives did not respond immediately to request for comment from USA TODAY.
The 61-year-old British singer has made comments defending actor Kevin Spacey over allegations of sexual abuse, saying he was “attacked unnecessarily”. He has also worn a badge during performances for the far-right political group For Britain.
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Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.