Animators behind comedy cartoon series The Simpsons have been slammed for showing their support for U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama - and implying that the rival Republican party is involved in vote-rigging.
In the first episode of season 20 of the hit show, character Homer Simpson attempts to vote for Democrat Obama five times - but each time he tries, the vote registers for Republican candidate John MCCain instead.
The comedy sequence, which aired in the U.S. on Saturday night (01Nov08), has been slammed by MCCain supporters, who fear the move will add support to Obama's campaign in this week's (04Nov08) presidential election.
One MCCain supporter, writing on a Republican website, says, "I realise a lot of celebrities are in the tank for Barack Obama but I am very disappointed to learn Homer appears to be among them."
But The Simpsons writer Al Jean has defended the episode, insisting the move wasn't intended to show favour to Obama.
He says, "We try to satirise society. I think there are people who believe the voting process, especially with electronic voting machines, is suspect, so that's what we're satirising."