- False rumors that “The Simpsons” predicted the death of Queen Elizabeth II are going viral.
- Users are sharing a doctored image that appears to show a cartoon of the Queen in a coffin.
- Controversial hoaxes claiming the show has predicted global news events keep going viral online.
False rumors that “The Simpsons” predicted the death of Queen Elizabeth II are going viral on TikTok, as the latest hoax in a series of false claims about the show’s prescience.
It’s based on a doctored image that shows a cartoon version of what appears to be the Queen lying in a coffin. A cartoon plaque above the body in the image reads, “Elizabeth II 1926-2022.”
Since the Queen’s death on September 8, videos that feature the image have been receiving millions of combined views on TikTok, typically with captions saying, “The Simpsons predicted the death of Queen Elizabeth.”
But the scene was never part of the show, and appears to be another example of people exaggerating “The Simpsons” ability to “predict” the future, a controversial online practice that dates back years.
The viral image never appeared on the show
The most viral video featuring the image was posted on September 14 and has 23 million views. It shows a short clip from season 15, episode three of the show, titled “The Regina Monologues,” which first aired in 2003 and depicted Queen Elizabeth II putting the show’s main character, Homer, on trial after he crashes into her carriage with his Tsar.
In the TikTok version, a small label can be seen on the wall behind the animated Queen, with the date “8.9.2022” on it, appearing to refer to the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. This label does not appear behind the Queen in the original episode. The TikTok then cut to reveal the doctored image of the cartoon Queen lying in a coffin, which also does not feature in the original episode.
Fact-checking website Misbar speculated that the image is a variation on an animated image of Donald Trump in a coffin, which went viral on Twitter in 2020. The Independent reported that online users claimed the image showed that “The Simpsons” predicted that the former The US President would die over the subsequent months, but a scene depicting Trump’s death was never featured on the show.
—Pim (@breakingbelief) June 17, 2021
The doctored image of Queen Elizabeth II that has been circulating in recent days appears to use the same coffin background from the fake image depicting Trump’s death, with a superimposed image of the animated Queen on top of it.
Some TikTok users have attempted to debunk the claims about the image by showing unedited footage from the original episode, but Insider was unable to find anyone with the same level of virality as those spreading the misinformation.
Controversial images falsely claiming ‘The Simpsons’ predicted global news events have gone viral before
Over its 34-season run, “The Simpsons” has developed a reputation for “predicting” the future, with many fans of the show pointing out that various events depicted in the show occur in real life years later.
As Insider previously reported, a 2005 episode showed the character Ned Flanders traveling to Canada and finding out Cannabis was legal there, 13 years before the country legalized the recreational use of marijuana. A 2000 episode of the show alluded to Donald Trump becoming president, 16 years before his election into office.
But as this reputation developed, misinformation also became widespread.
Fact-checking website Snopes reported that social-media users have falsely claimed that “The Simpsons” predicted the 2019 fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in France, and the 2020 deadly explosion in Beirut.
Some of the hoaxes have received intense backlash for misleading people on particularly controversial or significant news events. Snopes reported that in June 2020, claims that “The Simpsons” predicted the death of George Floyd, an event which sparked public outcry against the police system and led to a renewed wave of Black Lives Matter protests around the world, were circulating on Twitter.
Various news swear fact-checking outlets debunked the claims, saying the image was not taken from an actual episode of the show, while some users criticized people who spread the hoax for making light of the event.
Publicity representatives of “The Simpsons” declined Insider’s request for comment.
For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.