Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, several internet users widely shared claims purporting that the animation show “The Simpsons” predicted the Queen’s death. The internet users shared a photo alleging to show the late Queen Elizabeth II lying in a coffin that bears a mark that reads: “Elizabeth II 1926-2022.”
Upon investigating the claim, Misbar found it to be fake. “The Simpsons” never predicted the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and the widely shared photo is digitally altered.
This was not the first time that “The Simpsons” was wrongfully described as a show that predicts the future. In this blog, Misbar's team looks back into viral claims that falsely attributed predictions to “The Simpsons.”
Earlier this summer, social media accounts across the MENA region shared a screenshot from an episode of “The Simpsons,” claiming that the show predicted Algeria's qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Misbar investigated the claim and found it to be misleading. “The Simpsons” did not predict Algeria's World Cup qualification. The screenshot circulated with the claim is from an old episode from 2010, which discusses the Winter Games that year rather than the World Cup football tournament.
Another widely circulated claim related to “The Simpsons” purported that the character of “Homer” had Monkeypox and that the writers of the show predicted the spread of the virus and should be investigated.
Misbar investigated the claim and discovered that the photo actually shows “Homer” when he was sick with Chickenpox as a result of an infection transmitted to him by his daughter “Maggie.” The episode, titled "Milhouse of Sand and Fog," aired in 2005, as shown in the screenshots below.
The second photo shows “Homer” with a monkey named “Mojo” sitting beside him. “Mojo” had been adopted by “Homer” to assist him with household chores while his wife was busy presenting a children's program. As can be seen below, the episode was titled "Girly Edition" and aired in 1998.
Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, social media users shared a collage of images from “The Simpsons” that allegedly predicted the invasion of Ukraine and the impending use of nuclear weapons.
Misbar investigated the claim and found it to be fake. The photo of a soldier pointing a rifle at President Putin has been altered digitally. During the investigation, Misbar's team discovered that the original photo of a soldier was taken from the episode "Mad About the Toy," which aired in 2019. The plot of the episode proved to be completely unrelated to Ukraine.
Moreover, the photo of the explosion, which is alleged to predict nuclear warfare in Ukraine, is taken from the episode entitled “To Surveil With Love," which aired in 2010. Mibsar's team investigated the claim by analyzing the synopsis of the episode and found that it has no mention of Ukraine.
The photo of the explosion had also been previously linked to other conspiracy theories claiming that “The Simpsons” predicts future events. In 2020, the photo was claimed to prove that the show predicted the Beirut explosion.
Al Jean, the showrunner of “The Simpsons” had tweeted that the Ukrainian crisis was not hard to predict.
Shortly after the deadly explosion in Beirut back in August 2020, a video began circulating on social media suggesting that the explosion had been predicted on “The Simpsons.”
Misbar's investigation into this claim revealed it to be fake. The video in question depicts “Homer Simpson” purchasing fireworks.
After President Donald Trump announced that he tested positive for COVID-19, social media users circulated claims purporting that “The Simpsons” had featured the former President Trump lying in a coffin.
Misbar's investigation revealed that the photo is fake and digitally altered. The show never aired a similar scene.
Following the global outbreak of COVID-19, posts on social media platforms claimed that “The Simpsons” predicted the Coronavirus outbreak in one of its episodes.
Misbar's investigation found that the viral video, which was indeed taken from “The Simpsons” series, refers to a fictional flu, called the "Osaka flu." According to the episode, the virus originated in a Japanese factory in the city of Osaka. The images purporting to show the name of Coronavirus in one of the episodes are fabricated.
Why Do People Think “The Simpsons” Can Predict the Future?
Over the years, “The Simpsons” has been repeatedly said to predict the future in its episodes. Hence, the popular show has become a staple for conspiracy theorists.
In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, the show’s runner Al Jean explained: "There is the kind of prediction, where we reference something that has happened, happening again — we hope it wouldn’t, but sadly, it does.”
In other words, “The Simpsons” is inspired by past and current events, which sometimes prove that history repeats itself.