“The Simpsons’ 20th Anniversary Special” aired on January 10th and drew some 20 million viewers. Here’s how it was flagged by the New Haven Register: “And what a mix of celebs and places it is: John Waters, Sting, the theme-song musicians, Dan Rather, Seth Myers, Mike Judge, Trey Parker and cohort Matt Stone, James L. Brooks (producer and godfather of the show) and even Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.”
Donohue was interviewed for the Anniversary Special in October. Though the animated series has managed to offend one segment or the other in the course of 450 episodes, the Catholic League has had only a few complaints, and two of the three dealt with ridiculing the Eucharist.
We protested two episodes of “The Simpsons” in the late 1990s and didn’t issue another news release until last fall, right around the time the film crew came to our New York City office. On October 19th, we went public with our complaint regarding the show that aired the night before. “Mocking the heart of any religion always crosses the line,” Donohue said, “and mocking the Eucharist does it for Catholics.”
The clip they aired of the interview, conducted over a two-day period, fairly showed Donohue registering his misgivings. It did not take his words out of context or attempt to caricature his remarks.
Donohue quipped, “What are Catholics supposed to be—piñatas? Are we supposed to be like the guy that you can just beat up on?” Not on your life.