Following outcries from both family and fans alike, the UK’s Sky Arts has decided not to broadcast a forthcoming television episode featuring the late Michael Jackson portrayed by white actor Joseph Fiennes.
The episode in question, from the television show Urban Myths, was based on a 2011 article in Vanity Fair that alleged that the King of Pop, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando road-tripped to Ohio shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Controversy erupted after a trailer was released on Tuesday, including comment from Jackson’s daughter, Paris, who was said to be “incredibly offended” by the portrayal.
@TheMJCast i’m so incredibly offended by it, as i’m sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit.
— Paris-Michael K. J. (@ParisJackson) January 11, 2017
“We have taken the decision not to broadcast ‘Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon,’ a half-hour episode from the Sky Arts Urban Myths series, in light of the concerns expressed by Michael Jackson’s immediate family,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to our sister site Deadline. “We set out to take a light-hearted look at reportedly true events and never intended to cause any offense. Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision.”
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Discussing the controversy with Entertainment Tonight in 2016, Fiennes said, “[Jackson] definitely had an issue, a pigmentation issue, and that’s something I do believe. He was probably closer to my color than his original color.” Fiennes also insisted that his portrayal was “not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing.” Now, the world may never know.
Do you think Sky Arts has made the right decision by scrapping the episode altogether? Are you shocked it was even greenlit in the first place?