Sky pulls Michael Jackson programme after family complaints

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Sky has said it will not air a TV programme about Michael Jackson after his daughter said she was “incredibly offended” by the portrayal of him.

The episode – part of a series called Urban Myths – had been due to air on Sky Arts.

Sky released a statement on Friday saying they had pulled one episode after concerns were raised by Paris Jackson.

The broadcaster said it “never intended to cause any offence”.


Statement from Sky:

“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.

“We set out to take a light-hearted look at reportedly true events and never intended to cause any offence. Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision.”


The stories had been described as “slightly tongue-in-cheek, mischievous and deliberately ambiguous” by Sky Arts on its website.

The episode told the story of Jackson taking a road trip from New York to Los Angeles with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Actor Joseph Fiennes had said he was shocked to be given the part of Michael Jackson last year.

On Thursday, Jackson’s daughter Paris said on Twitter that trailer footage from the episode made her “want to vomit”.

“It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother [Elizabeth Taylor] as well,” she said.

“Where is the respect? They worked through blood sweat and tears for ages to create such profound and remarkable legacies. Shameful portrayal.”

More than 20,000 people also signed a petition to boycott the half-hour episode.

The petition particularly objected to Fiennes’s casting as Jackson instead of a black actor.

“It’s easy to see why the story would make a compelling film – but it’s harder to understand why the actor best known for his role in Shakespeare In Love was the first choice to play one of the world’s most iconic black musicians,” the petition said.

Michael Jackson died in 2009 aged 50.


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