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Real-life dispute led to one of the most controversial moments in the history of The Simpsons

Real-life dispute led to one of the most controversial moments in the history of The Simpsons

It changed The Simpsons forever and stirred up plenty of controversy - but it all happened because of a behind-the-scenes incident

One of the most controversial moments in the history of The Simpsons happened because of a pay dispute behind the scenes.

An episode of The Simpsons aired in 2000, with a big shocking moment designed to increase ratings, led to a wave of controversy for the show - and it was all caused by a pay dispute with one of their stars.

The season 11 Simpsons episode 'Alone Again, Natura-Diddily' revolves around the death of Maude Flanders at a racetrack, and her husband Ned's crisis of faith as he copes with being a widower.

The original idea for the episode was to have a bunch of real-life NASCAR drivers make guest appearances, rather like the much loved episode 'Homer at the Bat'.

However, according to Mike Scully on the episode's commentary track, nobody wanted to do it as they were 'concerned about the way we were portraying NASCAR' - so the guest appearances were nixed.

Maude Flanders died in the episode after her actor couldn't reach a deal for better pay conditions.

Instead, it focused more heavily on the death of Maude Flanders which was triggered by a behind-the-scenes dispute between Fox and Maggie Roswell, who voiced the character.

Roswell had decided to leave the show after asking for her pay-per-episode to be increased from $2,000 to $6,000, as ever since 1994 she'd been flying between Denver and Los Angeles twice a week to record her lines.

With the time and cost of travel involved Roswell's situation wasn't really viable, but rather than getting the pay increase she was hoping for she was offered an extra $150 per episode and she decided to leave.

Roswell would return to The Simpsons in 2002 after reaching a deal to record her lines in Denver, but 'Alone Again, Natura-Diddily' became the episode where Maude Flanders would die, falling to her death after being hit with several shots from t-shirt cannons that were aiming at Homer.

Having already left the show, Roswell didn't voice Maude Flanders during the episode so Marcia Mitzman Gaven instead provided the performance.

A promo for the episode suggested that Lenny might be the one to die caused controversy.

It was a big episode in Simpsons history but it also led to one of the show's more controversial moments as producers decided to tease audiences with the fact that one of the characters would die without revealing who.

While the episode's title provided a big clue, a promo for it told viewers 'one of Springfield's most beloved will die' and showed Lenny being hit by a car tire, leading some to think it was going to be him who died.

However, this caused controversy in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, as there had recently been a fatal accident at a speedway race where three people died after being hit by debris.

The promo was slammed as 'a real insensitive thing to do' and was edited to remove the part with Lenny, though the episode was still aired after it was judged that they weren't actually referencing the fatal accident.

Featured Image Credit: Disney

Topics: The Simpsons, US News, Film and TV