On today's installment of Morrissey's crabby disposition seeping into those around him, the manager of the famously curmudgeonly rock star has taken to the artist's official Facebook page to issue a pointed statement decrying one of the largest ills plaguing our society – none other than *checks notes* The Simpsons poking fun at the musician via Benedict Cumberbatch? On Sunday night, the seemingly never-ending TV program aired a new episode entitled “Panic on the Streets of Springfield” in which Lisa discovers a band called the Snuffs and through a series of hallucinations, including one very British, very post-punk music video, befriends Quilloughby, the bands vegan, quiff-rocking leading man.
Yet per most hallucinations, things aren't exactly as they seem, with Lisa disappointed to learn that her imaginary buddy Quilloughby, voiced by the Doctor Strange actor, is actually an old, curmudgeonly grey-haired, meat-eating gasbag that would more likely than not be pissed off by TikTok teens dancing to his songs. Sound familiar?
Apparently irked by the thinly-veiled allusion to his likeness, Morrissey's manager, Peter Katsis took to Facebook to express his ire. “Surprising what a ‘turn for the worst’ the writing for The Simpsons TV show has taken in recent years,” reads the scathing statement. “Poking fun at subjects is one thing … 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."
It seems Katsis, and perhaps Morrissey by proxy, were particularly peeved at the episode's portrayal of the fictional musicians's vague, racist behavior. “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.” Throughout his career, Morrissey has been accused of racism, Islamaphobia, and sexism, on several occasions, calling Chinese people a “subspecies," decrying Muslim immigration, and standing up for alleged sexual abusers, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.
Katsis then ended the post by broaching the animated sitcom's long, sordid history with race. “They should take that mirror and hold it up to themselves,” Katsis mused, referencing the show's recent controversy surrounding the longtime character Apu, which has been voiced by Hank Azaria. "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.”
Despite tearing into the show and its creators, Katsis showed an apparent sense of restraint, staying mum about another classic Simpsons gag that one could argue draws apparent inspiration from his client. Pick your battles, folks.