While “The Simpsons”’ parody of a “depressed British singer from the 1980s” — clearly styled at least partially on erstwhile Smiths frontman Morrissey — has gotten rave reviews in many quarters, the man himself is apparently less than thrilled. The singer was satirized as an imaginary friend of Lisa Simpson’s named Quilloughby, from a fictional band called the Snuffs, who, like Morrissey, was a vegan with a quiff a glum outlook.
The character was voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch; the episode was titled “Panic on the Streets of Springfield,” in reference to the group’s 1986 single, and it features many references to the singer (an Oscar Wilde poster) and the Smiths’ album artwork.
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Morrissey has made multiple questionable comments about race over the course of his career, particularly in recent years, in which he has supported a right-wing British political group, called Chinese people a “subspecies” and mocked London mayor Sadiq Khan’s accent.
In a post on the singer’s Facebook page written by his manager, Peter Katsis, and posted shortly after Sunday’s episode, Katsis makes some strong but strangely supported accusations, apparently calling the show “hurtful” and “racist” for depicting him with a paunch he claims he never had, criticizing Hank Azaria’s long-running Indian character Apu, praising “Saturday Night Live” and concluding in Trump-like fashion with a dig at the show’s ratings.
“Surprising what a ‘turn for the worst’ the writing for The Simpson’s tv show has taken in recent years,” the post reads. “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.
“Poking fun at subjects is one thing. 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.
“Simpson’s actor Hank Azaria’s recent apology to the whole country of India for his role in upholding ‘structural racism’ says it all.
“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.
“By suggesting all of the above in this episode…the Simpson’s hypocritical approach to their storyline says it all.
“Truly they are the only ones who have stopped creating, and have instead turned unapologetically hurtful and racist.
“Not surprising…… that The Simpsons viewership ratings have gone down so badly over recent years.”
Before the episode, show writer Tim Long said that Morrissey, Cure singer Robert Smith and Joy Division’s Ian Curtis were among the character’s inspirations.
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