Simpsons apologise for blaming it on Rio

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Not everyone loves The Simpsons. Makers of the American cult cartoon were forced to apologise yesterday after they were threatened with legal action by Brazilian tourist officials.

Authorities in Rio de Janeiro failed to see the funny side of a recent episode featuring the family on a visit to the Brazilian city, which showed them confronted by monkeys, bisexuals and rats.

Homer Simpson was kidnapped by an unlicensed taxi driver, and he and his son Bart were robbed by street children. The episode was watched by about 11 million people.

"What really hurt was the idea of the monkeys – the image that Rio de Janeiro was a jungle," a spokesman for the Rio tourist board said. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the President, claimed it "brought a distorted vision of Brazilian reality".

James Brooks, the show's executive producer, said yesterday: "We apologise to the lovely city and people of Rio de Janeiro. The Simpsons is a satirical look at a modern American family."

¿ In January, the Mayor of Rio threatened to sue a weather forecaster who wrongly said there would be storms on New Year's Eve, a forecast that kept crowds away from one of the city's biggest festivals.