Morrissey’s manager Peter Katsis addressed The Simpsons’ recent episode about a Morrissey-like character by accusing the show writers of using “harshly hateful tactics” to depict The Smiths’ frontman. The episode aired last night, April 18, titled “Panic On the Streets of Springfield” in reference to The Smiths’ song “Panic,” and is about Lisa Simpson having “a depressed British singer from the 1980s” played by Benedict Cumberbatch for an imaginary friend.
Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie wrote the songs that Cumberbatch sings in the episode, including “Everyone Is Horrid Except Me (And Possibly You),” which can now be watched in full. It’s pure jangle-pop pastiche that intends to poke fun at both Morrissey’s lyrics and his public personality by highlighting the complaining nature of some of his songs and jokingly alleging that the singer views himself unworthy of criticism in spite of his controversial reputation.
Katsis initially appeared to speak on Morrissey’s behalf by using the Morrissey Official account to voice his complaints. He began by criticizing The Simpsons’ writing in recent years, saying that they used to have great insight on modern culture but have “since degenerated to trying to capitalize on cheap controversy and expounding on vicious rumors.”
Surprising what a “turn for the worst” the writing for The Simpson’s tv show has taken in recent years.
He also argued that a scene involving an older, fatter version of the Morrissey-like character eating a meat sandwich on stage was just hurtful, adding that Morrissey has never looked that overweight and remains a staunch vegan. Additionally, Katsis notes that the episode references the allegations that Morrissey is a racist without citing examples of racism. Katsis accused The Simpsons of being the real racists for Hank Azaria’s Indian impersonation as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, which Azaria has recently apologized for.
Continuing, Katsis said that several other accusations made by The Simpsons episode weren’t true, claiming that “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.” There have at least been accusations of Morrissey canceling concerts and suing companies for libel. While Morrissey’s official account had initially acted interested in promoting the episode, but Katsis has flipped to saying that the series is just “hurtful and racist” now that they’re all the way in Season 32.
In a follow-up post, Katsis criticized journalists for failing to separate his quotes from Morrissey’s feelings due to the use of the Morrissey Official account. It’s important to note here that the original post hadn’t been attributed to Katsis, and that Katsis edited the post quite a few hours after he posted it to clarify that he had written it. So, he phrased his frustration as a complaint that the journalists hadn’t called to check who wrote the Morrissey Official post, and instead trusted the post to at least be speaking on behalf of Morrissey. Katsis also accused them of using “false facts” to support The Simpsons’ accusations without mentioning the “false portrayal of Morrissey” used in the episode. It’s apparent that The Simpsons intended to make fun of the singer with their portrayal and that the parody prefers allegations to proved characteristics, regardless of where the allegations come from.
More shoddy journalism by COS and Pitchfork today.
They attributed my quote (on The Simpson’s poor writing) to…
The one news outlet that Katsis thanked was Rolling Stone, who reached out to him for comment. Katsis’ main complaint is that the character is clearly Morrissey rather than just a Morrissey-like character, and that the real Morrissey is “still a super vegan.” According to Katsis, Morrissey’s team isn’t planning to sue them, but they’re “looking at options.”
He continued to address the allegations of racism, “It’s hard to understand how someone who has Thelma Houston singing on his last single, or has been such a strong proponent of the writings of James Baldwin, or has three latinos in his band, could be called a racist. There’s no specific evidence of any of it. Does he hate terrorists and extremists? Yes! Did he blast the Chinese on their wet markets and ignoring animal rights back in 2010? Yes!”
Morrissey was dropped by BMG for his support of the far-right For Britain political party and statements on halal certifiers. He’s definitely experienced plenty of backlash recently. Due to the political statements, people such as Billy Bragg have gone as far as to call Morrissey a “white supremacist” due to his anti-immigration stance.