Not unsurprisingly, U.K. pay-TV giant Sky said Friday it has decided not to air a special episode of its upcoming “Urban Myths” series which includes actor Joseph Fiennes as the late Michael Jackson.
The episode was scheduled to be part of the series and go to air on January 19th. It was to focus on Jackson’s fabled road trip from New York to Los Angeles with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after the 9/11 attacks. The episode also features Stockard Channing as Taylor and Brian Cox as Brando.
Jackson’s daughter, Paris Jackson, said she was “incredibly offended” by the portrayal of the late music star after the recent release of the trailer for the series. At the time she tweeted: “It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother Liz as well.” A petition to boycott the episode was launched and drew more than 20,000 signatures.
In a statement, the company says: “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 lighthearted look at reportedly true events and never intended to cause any offense. Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision.”
Just hours after the devision, Lifetime announced Friday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that it has ordered a biopic about Jackson titled “Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland”.
That centers on the final years of his life as told through the eyes of his trusted bodyguards. Navi will play Jackson and “The Walking Dead” actor Chad L. Coleman plays one of his most trusted bodyguards, Bill Whitefield.