Morrissey lashes out at The Simpsons for portraying him as an overweight, meat-eating racist

Josh Milton
·2-min read

Morrissey, the peevish and controversial frontman of The Smiths, has slammed The Simpsons for portraying him as an overweight, meat-eating racist.

Wielding a hamburger and a microphone, the FOX TV show’s spin on the singer and animal-rights activist, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, as a bitter, anti-immigrant man didn’t quite sit well with Morrissey.

In a Facebook post, the 61-year-old’s manager, Peter Katsis, lit into the character as “hurtful [and] racist”.

“Surprising what a ‘turn for the worst’ the writing for The Simpson‘s TV show has taken in recent years,” Katsis wrote.

He added: “Poking fun at subjects is one thing. Other shows like SNL still do a great job at finding ways to inspire great satire.

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“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.”

It was an abrupt u-turn from how his management initially sought to promote the episode, titled Panic On The Streets of Springfield, a spoof of The Smith’s 1986 track, “Panic”, that aired in the US Monday (19 April).

The episode sees Lisa get a new imaginary friend named Quilloughby. With a stiff quiff and acerbic wit, the impassioned vegan and depressed crooner for “The Snuffs” is, well, literally the stuff of Lisa’s dreams.

But when she meets the real Quilloughby at Snuff’s reunion gig, she’s shocked to discover he’s not the sultry, self-loathing singer she expected.

“I was [a vegan], until I found out veganism was invented by foreigners, for whom there are far too many on this planet,” the character says, according to NME.

Writers of The Simpsons have sought to stress that the Quilloughby character is only partly inspired by Morrissey.

The character is a composite of various tropes inspired by various British post-funk icons – such as Joy Division’s Ian Curtis to The Cure’s Robert Smith – rather than a parody of Morrissey alone.

Fans of The Smiths have been forced to grapple between the voice that sarcastically sang of the miseries of capitalism with the Morrissey who has appeared to throw his support for far-right political parties and figureheads.