Matt Groening's multi-generation-spanning animated sitcom, The Simpsons, is no stranger to ruffling feathers, or so to speak. Over the years, Fox has always stood by The Simpsons and continued airing episodes, regardless of the controversy. But, things have changed. The Simpsons is now under the Disney umbrella and streaming on Disney+, and now, the long-running cartoon just removed its first old episode in quite a while.
Why is Disney+ banning a certain The Simpsons episode?
Earlier this month, The Simpsons made waves when it announced that an upcoming episode will feature Waylon Smithers finally finding the love of his life. After "Portrait of a Lackey on Fire" aired last November 21, 2021, The Simpsons currently finds itself in hot water once again.
Surprisingly enough, the problem isn't with an upcoming episode or even a recent one. Rather, it's from one of the show's older episodes, which reportedly made Tiananmen Square jokes at the expense of the Chinese government.
After Disney+ launched in Hong Kong, subscribers found out that Disney had removed an episode from Season 16. "Goo Goo Gai Pan" is an episode that aired years ago that references the Tiananmen Square Massacre along with a plaque that says "Tien An Men Square: On this site, in 1989, nothing happened."
The tongue-in-cheek humor of the plaque is a dangerous game that it appears Disney doesn't want to play. The Chinese government has made significant efforts to try and suppress knowledge of what happened back in 1989. The Hong Kong national security law even went as far as to shut down a yearly candlelight vigil and a museum that was created to help commemorate the unfortunate event and pay respects to those who died on that particular day. In addition to this, the 2020 law has also forced Hollywood to censor several of its films and TV productions and make sure that they don't refer to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in any way.
The aforementioned tragedy started innocently enough with university students in China holding a peaceful protest. At the time, the students were fighting against the corruption of the country's then-government. However, Deng Xiaoping was not a fan of the country's citizens exercising freedom. Instead, Deng Xiaoping sent the People's Liberation Army marching straight to the area - with tanks.
It is believed that the People's Liberation Army opened fire in Tiananmen Square, an event that resulted in the death of thousands.