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Simpsons-Family Guy Crossover Episode's Rape Joke Draws Criticism

09/25/2014 01:09 EDT | Updated 09/25/2014 01:59 EDT

The long-awaited crossover episode featuring "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons" drummed up plenty of buzz back when the teaser trailer dropped in May. Now, with days before the episode's debut, a joke from the teaser has critics talking again — but for a different reason.

Some critics have said a joke in the teaser went too far when it made light of rape. The scene in question involves Bart teaching Stewie how to pull off a prank phone call. In classic Simpsons fashion, Bart calls Moe's Tavern asking if there's someone by the name of Lee Keybum. Moe turns to his patrons asking for a "leaky bum".

Bart passes the phone to Stewie who calls Moe again only to say, "Hello Moe? Your sister's being raped." You can see the scene in question starting at the 0:48 mark.

As Mediaite points out, the scene shows a stark contrast between the two shows' styles of humour -- one favouring puns and gags, the other shock appeal.

The joke didn't sit well with members of the Parents Television Council, a U.S. advocacy group.

I was blown out of my shoes when I saw the scene with the rape joke in it,” PTC president Tim Winter told the Associated Press. “It really troubled me.”

Winter, a long-time fan of "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening's work, said the joke comes at a time where sexual assault at post-secondary institutions and the fallout from violence against women in the NFL have dominated headlines.

When rape is turned into a punchline "it becomes less outrageous in real life," he added.

Winter wrote to Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy but neither he nor Fox have replied to his letter. Fans of MacFarlane's work will know that the cartoonist and voice actor has never shied away from controversy.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, MacFarlane said he foresaw the media would attack him for the rape joke but added "but in context, it's pretty funny."

The Simpsons-Family Guy crossover episode is scheduled to premiere on Sunday, Sept. 28 on Fox.

What do you think about the joke? Let us know in the comments below.

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