Is Harry Shearer playing the long game?
Harry Shearer, the voice-actor who quit the Simpsons earlier this week over contractual issues, could be trying to put pressure on senior producers by tweeting about the issue, according to a veteran Hollywood publicist.
Harry Shearer is an integral member of The Simpsons team
Shearer tweeted that he wanted "the freedom to do other work", though executive producer Al Jean said the actor's roles would be recast if he did not return.
On Thursday, veteran TV producer James L Brooks - who brought the Simpsons to the small-screen - sent out a tweet asking Shearer to return to the negotiating table.
"Hey, we tried.We're still trying. Harry, no kidding, let's talk."
Veteran Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman suggested Shearer is merely putting pressure on Simpsons producers via his tweets and is likely to be negotiating a new contract in private.
"Harry put it on Twitter in hopes fans would pressure the producers," said Bragman, "Most of these things are done by agents, lawyers and managers, very privately and discreetly."
"He's trying to get his fans to rally behind him. And he's not talking about money, he's talking about his artistic freedom, which is the smart thing to do," Bragman added.
Jean later tweeted that Shearer had passed on a deal that five other voice actors had accepted. That deal would have allowed Shearer to pursue other work, as he has always done.
"My dream in life is for someone to treat me the way the Simpsons treated Harry," Jean added.
The Simpsons is the longest running series in prime-time history and has made News Corp - parent company of Fox - $1 billion in profit.
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