The man at the centre of the Wikileaks scandal will make a cameo appearance in the upcoming 500th episode of The Simpsons. According to a Reuters report, the episode, scheduled to be aired on Sunday (February 19, 2012), will feature the voice of Julian Assange, which was recorded down the phone after the show's producers' tracked him down in Britain.
Assange is currently under house arrest in Britain, fighting extradition to Sweden where he would be questioned for allegations of sex crimes. The executive producer of The Simpsons, Al Jean said of their decision to include Assange "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." The storyline for this milestone episode of the long-running show focuses on the Simpsons being banished from Springfield and trailers for the episode have seen Mayor Quimby announcing the results of a vote to have the family removed from their hometown.
The Simpsons was nearly axed by the Fox network after disagreements occurred during contractual negotiations. However, the show was renewed for another two seasons, with Al Jean explaining some of the problems involved in the decision- making process, saying "I personally wouldn't want to do the show without the people that we have. They're obviously integral to it and we've done so many episodes, I can't conceive of it. Had they not signed, we would have stopped the show." Assange joins a long list of celebrities and public figures who have made cameo appearances on the show, including Tony Blair, Hugh Hefner and ELIZABETH TAYLOR.