Morrissey slams Simpsons over unflattering parody

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Morrissey has accused The Simpsons of "hatred" and "ignorance" after the show's latest episode featured an unflattering parody of a moody British singer in part inspired by the former Smiths frontman.

In the episode, first aired Sunday in the United States, the precociously intelligent Lisa Simpson makes a new imaginary friend: a depressed but charismatic indie rocker from 1980s Britain with an uncanny resemblance to Morrissey.

The character, named Quilloughby and voiced by Hollywood star Benedict Cumberbatch, is a devoted vegan -- like Morrissey and Lisa -- who inspires her with his music and acidic social commentary.

But when Lisa attends a concert by Quilloughby's band The Snuffs in the present day, she is shocked and disappointed to see that instead of the imaginary dashing singer, he is an overweight, grumpy and anti-immigrant meat-eater.

Morrissey was less than impressed with the portrayal.

"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," the rocker wrote Tuesday in a lengthy post on the Morrissey Central website.

"Writing for The Simpsons... evidently requires only complete ignorance."

Morrissey, 61, found fame as the quiffed frontman of The Smiths, one of the most acclaimed and influential bands of the 1980s. He has had a solo career since the band split in 1987, but has been plagued by controversy.

Morrissey became an alienating figure as he faced accusations of racism over his rhetoric on immigration and support for Britain's far right. He has forcefully denied that he is racist.

The title of the Simpsons episode, "Panic on the Streets of Springfield", is a play on lyrics from the Smiths song "Panic" using the name of the fictional city in the show.

It also included parody songs with spoof Smiths titles such as "Hamburger is Homicide".

The episode's writer Tim Long insisted in an interview with Variety that Quilloughby was a mix of various British artists that he grew up with.

"And 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."