Morrissey hits out at 'The Simpsons' over 'harshly hateful' parody

Morrissey performs during his concert in the Citibanamex arena in Monterrey Nuevo Leon on March 29, 2017.  (JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Morrissey, seen here in 2017, is not happy with The Simpsons. (Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP via Getty Images)

Morrissey has hit out at The Simpsons after the cartoon show parodied him in its latest episode, Panic On The Streets Of Springfield.

The Smiths singer was satirised as Quilloughby, lead singer of fictional band The Snuffs, an imaginary friend of Lisa Simpson's complete with a quiff, a vegan diet and a misanthropic outlook.

The character was voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Read more: Harry Shearer to stop voicing Dr Hibbert on The Simpsons

A statement posted to Morrissey's official Facebook page after the episode aired in the US claimed the show had used "hateful tactics" in its depiction and called out the quality of the programme.

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It said: "Surprising what a 'turn for the worst' the writing for The Simpson’s tv show has taken in recent years.

"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."

The message went on to criticise the programme for painting the "Morrissey character" as "a racist, without pointing out any specific instances".

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Morrissey has expressed support in the past for far-right political party For Britain, sporting a badge with its logo in a TV appearance in 2019.

Read more: The Simpsons brings back Mrs Krabappel in tribute to actor Marcia Wallace

In response to the suggestion that the group's leader Anne Marie Waters could be considered racist, he said in an interview posted to his website in 2019 that "everyone ultimately prefers their own race".

The Facebook post also referenced the apology voice actor Hank Azaria – who is white – made last week for voicing Indian shopkeeper Apu for 30 years.

"Simpson’s actor Hank Azaria's recent apology to the whole country of India for his role in upholding 'structural racism' says it all," it said.

Watch: Morrissey issues statement after he's satirised on The Simpsons

The plot saw Lisa Simpson attend a concert for the band featuring an older version of the Quilloughby character who said he now ate meat because veganism “was invented by foreigners, of whom there are far too many on this planet”.

Referencing the events of the episode, the message said: "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."

It added: "Truly they are the only ones who have stopped creating, and have instead turned unapologetically hurtful and racist."

Ahead of the episode, writer Tim Long said that as well as Morrissey, Quilloughby had been inspired by The Cure singer Robert Smith and Joy Division's Ian Curtis.