Music Business

Morrissey believes free speech no longer exists because he can’t sue The Simpsons for satirizing him

In the wake of a recent episode of The Simpsons in which the show gently poked fun at the already controversial singer, Morrissey has come out with some outlandish and genuinely confusing comments including, among others, that free speech no longer exists because he can’t sue the show.

Op-ed by Mike Masnick of Techdirt

This shouldn’t need to be said, but The Simpons is satire. It often makes fun of people. In a recent episode it sorta, kinda mocked the singer Morrissey, as most of the episode was about Lisa’s obsession with a band called “the Snuffs” and its moody lead singer “Quilloughby” (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). It was pretty clearly satirizing Morissey, and exaggerating a bunch of character traits many people associate with Morrissey, and mixing in some stereotypical character traits associated with washed up old rock stars. I can understand why some people might not like being gently mocked on a popular TV show, though I think some well adjusted folks might recognize that even being relevant enough to be mocked on The Simpons is probably a nice nod towards your cultural relevance, but apparently not Morrissey.

After his manager got all pissy and accused the show of being racist for its portrayal of Morrissey (?!?). Morrissey himself then posted a bizarre rant saying he wanted to sue and that there’s no free speech any more and none of it makes any sense at all.

This is my first comment (and hopefully my last) on The Simpsons’ episode – which I know has enraged many people. 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.

For what it’s worth, Morrissey does have a decently extensive history of litigation over mentions of him in the media he disagreed with — so, uh, the idea that people would think they could attack him because he won’t sue is already almost certainly not true. He has a history of suing. So, if anything that seems more likely to create chilling effects around anyone talking about him.

But, I guess we’re sort of leaping over the larger point here: sue over what? It’s a satire. They don’t even call the character Morrissey. There is no legal basis for any kind of lawsuit. Especially in the US where The Simpsons is made. What possible violation of the law is there in lightly mocking the concept of an aging rock star? And how fucking huge of an ego must you have to think that that’s something you can sue over?

But, his comment gets even dumber.

In a world obsessed with Hate Laws, there are none that protect me.

Um. Yeah, sorry, but no “hate laws” any where are designed to protect the flailing egos of aging rock stars from being gently satirized on a popular TV show. If you think that’s what hate laws are for then you’ve got some serious ego problems.

Anyway, forgive me, we all know this because we can see how music – and the world in general, has become a mesmerizing mess, and we must let it go spinning along unbearably because free speech no longer exists. We all know this.

Wait, what? How does this even make any sense. Free speech no longer exists… because you can’t sue a TV show for satirizing someone kinda like you for “hate” speech? It’s a weird sort of brain that complains about a lack of free speech just sentences after whining about how you can’t sue someone for their speech.

Everyone reacts to being mocked in different ways, but whining about how you want to sue to silence people, while simultaneously claiming there’s no more free speech seems dumber than most options out there.

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1 Comment

  1. Notice any similarities to a particularly vain, narcissistic, and egomaniacal former US president?

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