Assange stars in Simpsons 500th episode

 

Wikileaks came to Springfield as controversial figure Julian Assange joined the cast of The Simpsons for their milestone 500th episode yesterday, which saw America's famous animated family being banished from their hometown.

Wikileaks founder Assange, who is currently under house arrest Britain and fighting extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes, recorded his cameo on The Simpsons over the phone from a secret location after the casting director tracked him down and asked him to guest star.

"Obviously he's a controversial figure and that was discussed before we agreed to let him do it. But it's a funny cameo and it makes no judgments about the larger case about him," Al Jean, executive producer of The Simpsons, told reporters.

Mr Assange is the latest big name to be added to the show's prominent guest-list, which has included a Who's Who of pop culture voices including Elizabeth Taylor, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and former British prime minister Tony Blair.

In the milestone episode, the family are exiled to a community of outsiders where they met Mr Assange.

Created by Matt Groening for Fox Television, The Simpsons first aired in 1989 and is the longest-running American sitcom in history. It is watched by an average 7.7 million US viewers this season, and is broadcast in more than 100 countries and 50 languages.

The tales of donut-loving father Homer J Simpson and his dysfunctional family, wife Marge and children Bart, Lisa and Maggie, have become a staple of American culture, winning 27 Emmy awards, earning a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and even coining a new word as Homer's expression "D'Oh" entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011.

Reuters