‘Urban Myths’ Episode With Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson Canceled by Sky TV

Urban Myths

European pay-TV company Sky has ditched plans to air the controversial footage from British comedy series “Urban Myths” in which Joseph Fiennes plays the singer Michael Jackson.

In a statement, a company spokesperson said: “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 singer’s daughter, Paris Jackson, has called the portrayal “shameful” after viewing a trailer for the series. She tweeted: “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.”

Michael Jackson’s nephew Taj Jackson joined the condemnation. “Unfortunately this is what my family has to deal with. No words could express the blatant disrespect,” he tweeted.

In the episode, Michael Jackson is seen making a road-trip across the U.S. with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after 9/11. Stockard Channing plays Taylor and Brian Cox is Brando.

Paris Jackson also objected to the portrayal of Taylor, a close friend of her father’s and her godmother. “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,” Jackson tweeted.

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

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  1. James says:

    Absolutely pathetic the society we live in where someone can complain about something they don’t want to see and deprive it for others. If you don’t want to watch it don’t watch it. Very cowardly move to pull the episode. Comedy is dying a slow death and this is another nail in the coffin.

  2. Vince says:

    A white guy playing Michael Jackson is bad but a black man playing James Madison is OK?

  3. Tim James says:

    Is an insulated child raised by an insulated man-child really the best arbiter of what’s appropriate for a world of grown-ups to watch? Screw that self-centered, exploitative family. They’re the ones that made him crazy enough to be the subject of Urban Legends in the first place.

    • Asia says:

      So a daughter cannot express an opinion about her own father and her godmother whom she knew personally on a portrayal about them in a movie. Is that what youre saying. Truthfully these people are dead and no one can speak for them. If the producers arent going to honor them faithfully then dont make the movie.

  4. Me says:

    What a bunch of cowards. I wonder if all these outraged people have ever seen a picture of Michael Jackson. They might as well have hired a white lady to play that part.

  5. TomB says:

    dog gonnit!! I was very much looking forward to this.

  6. Billy Badass says:

    Mr. Jackson could have been easily portrayed by a Black woman. It was done with the Dylan biographic, I don’t see why it couldn’t have been the solution here also. This is a case of some lazy, careless decision-making.

  7. Leon says:

    So stupid. Hollywood is so out of touch its sad. Just another reason to start reading again.

    • Brandon says:

      Leon, What’s stupid is you deciding it’s Hollywood when the article clearly said Sky-TV, European pay TV and British Comedy. Hollywood is in California. Sky-TV is on a different continent.

  8. Maury Hopson says:

    The story is an urban myth. It never happened. The tragic event of 9/11 is no basis for a comedy.

  9. Simon says:

    i Don’t think its that big of a deal i watched the trailer and it doesn’t seem that bad. Now its a british comedy how many times has the American Media made fun of MJ come on now. let’s go up and take things with a gain of salt please

  10. M. says:

    That this is not allowed to run is another loss for our rights to watch something black people find offensive. When will this walking around on eggshells ever end ?

    • Brandon says:

      So M,. you have no problem with being openly blatantly racist? You don’t want to walk on egg shells, you just want to be as offensive as you can without being checked on it. Elisabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando were not Black by the way. And how about they pulled the piece because it wasn’t funny. There was objection to the piece when Fiennes was cast long before shooting started. But they decided to spend their money shooting it anyway. The only reason they would pull it now after they spent their money is they realized it was not funny and could not be funny when they are trying to get humor out of the huge human tragedy that was 9/11 based on faked conversations and observations of three dead people. Sounds hilarious on the page doesn’t it? Not.

      • M. says:

        i see you are one of those trolls with nothing better to do than to reply to every post, so I will humor you and reply to yours. you have obviously not understood the article and what it was about, this was about a tv network bowing to SOME people’s unhappiness over how someone they knew was portrayed, and not airing a piece of film. period. there have been countless dramas made about white people that have not portrayed them as holier than thou but despite white people’s protests, that were aired anyways. now we have a few black people crying fake crocodile tears over a dead relative, one that is still providing them with a cushy income, and now the world needs to stop turning and everyone has to be allright with that. its not. same as it is not allright to not show the face of Allah because some towel heads get upset. i get racist when i see stupidity like that, and when I see people like you who don’t bother reading the main story on an article and substitute instead what you think you see, and reacting to it. typical attitude of kids today… the article is about the Jackson objecting to the piece and the network not airing it. period. all the rest is trying to excuse their decision by shifting the spotlight away from the real issue. and waving some shiny objects like that (the oh, everyone’s on the production is all right with that) in front of people like you has worked, it makes you miss the real point of the article and it leaves you content that they were right. and that you approve. you know, i think Trump is an idiot but the fact that he is now president proves that many people, the silent majority, the ones who voted for him, think he’s right that the rights of the white people are being stepped on left, right and center and that this has to stop. that every race and religion should be held to the same rights, laws and decency as everyone else. now every minority is free to commit a crime it seems or do something to hurt or upset others, and low and behold society will come down on the poor white guy because he wants the laws respected and his rights protected. if being a racist to you means leaving common sense behind and not questionning questionnable moves and allow someone to get away with something just because he is a minority in this country and should not be held accountable for his mistakes, well then yes, I am racist.

  11. Let me off this planet. says:

    The casting choice made all of us scratch our heads for sure, but shouldn’t we give the creators the benefit of the doubt until we’ve actually seen the show? We don’t know the full details of the premise of the episode, or whether these characters are intended to be the actual celebrities or just impersonators, or perhaps even mediated through somebody’s imagination/narration. Of course, in this day and age, critical thinking is dead, censorship is king, and anti-intellectualism is the new normal. Historically, it’s been fascist regimes’ first move to clamp down on the arts and political & social satire. Now we do it for them, instead.

  12. hornacek says:

    Everyone involved should just take a drink of Jesus Juice and calm down.

  13. malcolm says:

    The idea of the episode is interesting but the makers seem to gone out of their way to offend,would it have been so hard to cast a lighter skinned black actor to portray him so sad and so unnecessary…unless of course it was deliberate to get publicity it which case F-them the sick B—–ds

    • Dirk says:

      Did it bother you when they decided to change Alexander Hamilton’s skin color? You know a real life figure just like MJ?

  14. Sarah says:

    Who cares how a child rapist is portrayed?? Paid his way out of the charges. Paris should be ashamed of a father that routinely invites children to his bedroom. He was. Disgusting human and the fact that he could sing and had he money to pay off the parents shouldn’t garner him any respect.

  15. Iván el Conquistador says:

    Just because somebody’s feeling were hurt?

    • meiray says:

      It’s also racial. They couldn’t get over the hump of having a white man play a black man. It doesn’t matter what Jackson looked like in the last 20 years of his life – he had dysmorphia and vitiligo, but not a desire to disown his racial identity.

      • An adult not in denial says:

        He completely reconstructed his nose and face so it had no black features. None. How is that not disowning his racial identity, at least on a surface level?

        I understand the skin bleaching if he had that disease that takes the pigment out of the skin in splotchy patterns — when I lived in New York I used to see people with this condition. At first it was disarming to see but then I got used to it and didn’t give them a second look. They were normal people just trying to get through their day who didn’t ask to be stared at. I can’t help but wish Michael Jackson had the courage to just tell the world about his condition, maybe wear some makeup when on stage if it made him feel better and go on with his career and let his talent speak for itself.

        But he didn’t have that courage and somehow he got it in his head that it was best to get plastic surgery so he looked like Peter Pan. It is sad. But we don’t have to bury our head in the sand and invent a narrative in which he embraced his African American heritage and appearance until the end. That’s just YOU trying to make yourself feel better.

        You can still be a fan of his work and celebrate his talent while accepting that he had mental issues that led him to do extreme things to his appearance.

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