Marge In Chains featured an outbreak of flu (Picture: Fox)

The Simpsons writer reckons the idea that the classic animated show predicted coronavirus is ‘gross’.

The Fox cartoon is always considered to have predicted world events – like Donald Trump being elected as president and the horsemeat scandal – but amidst the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, it was claimed that a 1993 episode actually foresaw the outbreak.

Marge In Chains saw Springfield struck down with the ‘Osaka Flu’, after a sick factory worker in Japan coughs into boxes used to ship a juicer ordered by many Springfield residents, including Homer Simpson.

A cloud is seen emerging from every box, with the town coming down with the flu over the coming weeks.

While former The Simpsons showrunner Mike Reiss joked: ‘The whole “Simpsons predicted it” thing is silly, but The Simpsons predicted it’, Bill Oakley, who co-wrote Marge In Chains, is not happy with how the episode is being used on social media.

He told the Hollywood Reporter: ’I don’t like it being used for nefarious purposes. The idea that anyone misappropriates it to make coronavirus seem like an Asian plot is terrible.

Oakley wrote the 1993 episode (Picture: Rich Fury/Getty Images)

‘In terms of trying to place blame on Asia — I think that is gross.’

Screenshots of the episode have been edited to claim that the TV show reported on coronavirus – which originated in Wuhan, China – rather than Osaka Flu.

Oakley continued: ‘It was meant to be absurd that someone could cough into box and the virus would survive for six to eight weeks in the box. It is cartoonish.

Osaka Flu hit Springfield in 1993 (Picture: Fox)

‘We intentionally made it cartoonish because we wanted it to be silly and not scary, and not carry any of these bad associations along with it, which is why the virus itself was acting like a cartoon character and behaving in extremely unrealistic ways.’

Oakley, who wrote the episode with Josh Weinstein, added that the only reason The Simpsons seemingly predicts world events is because ‘the episodes are so old that history repeats itself’ – noting that the imaginary Osaka Flu is most comparable to the Hong Kong flu of 1968.

Coronavirus has hit 153,000 people worldwide and led to 5,735 deaths, with 35 deaths confirmed in the UK.

The virus, also known as Covid-19, has also affected the entertainment industry, with multiple films including No Time To Die, Fast and Furious 9 and A Quiet Place 2 pushed back and shows including Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers’ late night chat shows suspending filming.

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