The Egyptian TV network al-Tahrir reports on a trending Facebook conspiracy theory in the Middle East that a 2001 episode of The Simpsons (“New Kids on the Blecch”) “suggests that what is happening in Syria today was premeditated” and that the U.S. played a role in inciting the civil war raging in the country now. The episode centers on Bart Simpson, Millhouse, Nelson, and Ralph forming a boy band whose first single is secretly a recruitment campaign orchestrated by the Navy. The primary evidence for the conspiracy theory is the music video embedded in the episode, where a jeep in an unnamed Middle Eastern country has the exact flag currently used by Syrian forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad. The Times of Israel has pointed out that the flag was Syria’s original flag “used by Syria from its independence until 1963, when the Ba’ath party under current President Bashar Assad’s father Hafez took over,” and resurrected by the Syrian opposition.
The episode originally aired on February 25, 2001, several months before the events of 9/11, and later syndication broadcasts edited out some scenes from the episode although more recent re-runs seem to have restored the edited scenes.
As of press time, no comment has been issued by Bart Simpson, Millhouse, Nelson, Ralph, or any other cast or crew member of The Simpsons to rebut or confirm al-Tahrir’s claims.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)