“Entertainment Tonight” says it won’t air a video it has acquired that shows the late Heath Ledger at a Hollywood party where drugs were apparently being taken.
The syndicated magazine’s sister show, “The Insider,” aired a “preview” of the video Wednesday that showed an unidentified man apparently snorting cocaine. The show said, however, that the video does not show Ledger doing drugs.
“Out of respect for Heath Ledger’s family, `Entertainment Tonight’ and `The Insider’ have decided not to run the Heath Ledger video that has been circulating in the world media,” said a posting on the Web sites Thursday.
Ledger, 28, died in his Manhattan apartment Jan. 22. The cause of his death will likely be known within days, after medical examiners complete toxicology tests.
Authorities suspect a possible drug overdose, but nothing conclusive has been determined. Several prescription drugs were found in the Manhattan apartment where the “Brokeback Mountain” actor’s body was found.
“The Insider” ran a fairly extensive “preview” of the video Wednesday. It showed Ledger in the doorway of a room in the Chateau Marmont hotel where a party was taking place.
The video shows a man, his face blurred, seeming to snort cocaine from a table. Ledger said that he was “going to get serious (word bleeped) from my girlfriend” for being at the party.
It also shows him rolling cigarette paper. He was heard saying “I used to smoke five joints a day for 20 years.” The show also quotes Drew Pinsky, star of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew,” saying he had seen the video and it was “heartbreaking.”
Beyond the cigarette paper, the video shows Ledger taking a slug from a beer. There have been a number of media reports quoting people who said Ledger used drugs.
The Hollywood community put pressure on the syndicated programs not to air the material. A statement spread through Hollywood by Ledger’s public relations firm called the video “shameful exploitation of the lowest kind.”
It said that “Entertainment Tonight” purchased the video for “a large sum of money in the hopes of stirring up a salacious and exploitive story about Heath.”
The PR firm, ID PR, also represents Ledger’s “Brokeback Mountain” co-star Jake Gyllenhaal and stars like Robin Williams and Natalie Portman. For the syndicated magazine shows, access to stars is like oxygen.