Morrissey's manager bashes The Simpsons for 'harshly hateful' and 'hypocritical' parody
The British musician's manager, Peter Katsis, wrote a searing diatribe about the show, specifically the episode "Panic on the Streets of Springfield," over the character Quilloughby, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.
"Surprising what a 'turn for the worst' the writing for The Simpson's [sic] tv show has taken in recent years," reads a post by Katsis on Morrissey's Facebook page. "Sadly, The Simpson's show started out creating great insight into the modern cultural experience, but has since degenerated to trying to capitalize on cheap controversy and expounding on vicious rumors."
A representative for Fox didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
In the episode, Lisa Simpson gets an imaginary friend in the form of Quilloughby, "a depressed British singer from the 1980s." Tim Long, who wrote "Panic on the Streets of Springfield," told Variety that the character was a composite of various U.K. '80s musicians. But he's "definitely Morrissey-esque, with maybe a small dash of Robert Smith from the Cure, Ian Curtis from Joy Division, and a bunch of other people."
Toward the end of the episode, Lisa and imaginary Quilloughby attend a concert to see what the real-life Quilloughby is like. He walks out on stage with his belly busting out of his vest as he yells at the crowd.
"Can't you see this show is just a cash grab?" he says. "I'm only here because I lost my fortune suing people for saying things about me that were completely true." He then says veganism was invented by "foreigners." "That's right. I hate the foreign coming to this country and taking our jobs, sleeping with our men."
It's safe to say Katsis didn't get or appreciate the joke.
"Poking fun at subjects is one thing," his post reads. "Other shows like SNL still do a great job at finding ways to inspire great satire. But 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. 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. They should take that mirror and hold it up to themselves."
Katsis cites the recent apology from Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria for his part in creating a stereotypical Indian character, Apu. "Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize. And sometimes I do," Azaria had said.
"Simpson's actor Hank Azaria's recent apology to the whole country of India for his role in upholding 'structural racism' says it all," Katsis writes.
"Unlike the character in the Simpson's 'Panic' episode… 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," he continues. "By suggesting all of the above in this episode… the Simpson's hypocritical approach to their storyline says it all."
Simpsons director Debbie Mahan called the episode a "labour of love" in a post on Instagram.
"I've worked on this show for nearly 20 years. And this — BY FAR — is the most fun I've ever had working on an episode," she wrote. "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."
This article has been updated to clarify that Peter Katsis wrote the critical post on Morrissey's Facebook page, not Morrissey himself.