The acclaimed episode of The Simpsons, “Homer’s Phobia” was almost censored by Fox because of its representation of gay content, says the Pink News website.
In the episode, the family makes a new gay friend, John, voiced by John Waters. Bart starts wearing fancy clothes and a wig, so Homer tries to ensure his heterosexuality by taking him out hunting.
At the end of the episode, John saves Homer and Bart’s life after a bizarre hunting accident. Homer changes his mind and accepts John for his sexuality and tells Bart to accept him too.
Bill Oakley, a Fox showrunner, said recently that he received a lot of criticism from the network’s censors for “everything in the episode that had to do with being gay or the word ‘gay'”.
The feedback sheet was three pages long. The final line said, “The whole subject and content of this episode is unacceptable to air.”
Oakley and his colleague Josh Weinstein went ahead with producing the episode anyway. In 1996, the studio released the episode for broadcast. It aired for the first time in February 1997.
The episode ended up winning an Emmy award for a featured animation program and a GLAAD Media award for featured TV.
The Simpsons were praised for their LGBT+ representation
Patty Bouvier, one of Marge’s sisters, turned out to be a lesbian in an episode of Season 16, which aired in 2005.
In 2016, Smithers turned out to be gay, confessing his love for Mr. Burns, who rejects him. The episode entitled “The Burns Cage” also featured openly gay George Takei, and references to Grindr.
The showrunner, Al Jean, also said that he sees Lisa Simpson “possibly polyamorous.” In the 23rd season, an episode showed a future version of Lisa with two partners, which led to the original fan theory.