The episode, titled Panic On The Streets of Springfield, aired April 19. It saw Lisa getting a new imaginary friend named Quilloughby – a depressed indie singer from 1980s Britain voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Lisa discovers Quilloughby, who fronts the band The Snuffs, before falling for “their brand of literate, sardonic music” and his “militant vegetarianism”. When she attends a Snuffs reunion concert, she finds that Quilloughby has aged into an overweight, racist meat-eater.
Simpsons Morrissey, as flattering as you’d imagine pic.twitter.com/t5mAbqZSKv
— Billy Edwards (@biiilyedwards) April 19, 2021
Morrissey’s manager Peter Katsis hit out at The Simpsons in a statement on April 19 posted to the artist’s official Facebook page. Now, Morrissey himself has issued his own lengthy response via his Morrissey Central website, which he has used to share personal missives since April 2018.
In a post dated April 19 and titled “Hello Hell”, Morrissey wrote, “The hatred shown towards me from the creators of The Simpsons is obviously a taunting lawsuit, but one that requires more funding than I could possibly muster in order to make a challenge.”
“Neither do I have a determined business squad of legal practitioners ready to pounce. I think this is generally understood and is the reason why I am so carelessly and noisily attacked.”
He added, “You are especially despised if your music affects people in a strong and beautiful way, since music is no longer required to. In fact, the worst thing you can do in 2021 is to lend a bit of strength to the lives of others.”
Morrissey proceeded to offer his thoughts on the state of modern music and how it has “no place… for anyone with strong emotions” and how “limitations have been placed on art, and no label will sign an artist who might answer back”. Last November, Morrissey himself was dropped by the label BMG Records, a development he called at the time “perfectly in keeping with the relentless galvanic horror of 2020”.
“… The world in general, has become a mesmerizing mess, and we must let it go spinning along unbearably because free speech no longer exists,” he added in his April 19 letter.
Morrissey then reflected on his own experiences with the media, saying that he has “lived with horrible accusations” since his “very first interview several decades ago” and is “quite used to it”. “I’ve had enough horror thrown at me that would kill off a herd of bison,” he added.
He then returned to addressing The Simpsons: “Accusations usually come from someone with a crazed desire for importance; they don’t operate at a very high level. Writing for The Simpsons, for example, evidently requires only complete ignorance.
“But all of these things are too easy for me to say. In a world obsessed with Hate Laws, there are none that protect me.”
In the rest of the letter, Morrissey held forth on how he and fans of his music and The Smiths have been treated by the media, claiming that he has “lost several high-profile friends because they could no longer live with the night and day harassment from British journalists who are suicidally anguished because they cannot urge the people around me to drum up tell-tale incidents of racism”.
Read Morrissey’s full statement here.
In 2019, Morrissey was condemned for wearing a badge featuring the logo of far-right anti-Islam political party For Britain during a TV appearance on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. He later reaffirmed his support for the party and denied he was racist in an interview with his nephew on Morrissey Central.
That same year, Morrissey suggested that protestors he had ejected from a concert in Portland, Oregon were “planted” by the British press. He ended that North American tour with a Los Angeles concert, where he wore a t-shirt that read ‘Fuck The Guardian’, referencing the British newspaper that he has hit out at in the past.
In an interview with Variety published before the episode aired, The Simpsons writer Tim Long said that the Quilloughby character in Panic On The Streets of Springfield was not solely based on Morrissey.
“I’m sticking by that,” Long said. “Having said that, the character is 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.”
Representatives for The Simpsons have not responded to either Katsis’ or Morrissey’s statements.