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Sky Arts pulls the plug on Michael Jackson episode of Urban Myths

01.13.2017

Earlier this week the first trailer dropped for the upcoming Sky Arts show, Urban Myths, which tells semi-true stories about famous figures in an absurd, comedic light. However, viewers have responded to the trailer, and Joseph Fiennes’s casting as the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and after a massive amount of negative feedback Sky Arts announced via Twitter it would not be airing the episode (which was set for January 19). The network put out a statement saying:

We have taken the decision not to broadcast Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon, a 30min episode from the Sky Arts Urban Myths series. This decision was taken 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 & never intended to cause any offense.  Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision.

The quote mentions the Jackson family’s outrage over the episode, most notably from Jackson’s nephew, Taj Jackson, and his daughter, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson. Paris went on to say she found the trailer offensive, and that it made her want to “vomit" during a series of tweets.

The show gained notoriety since it was announced about a year ago that Fiennes was cast to play Jackson. However, it took people seeing him as Jackson in this week’s trailer to really begin to speak out.

As a lover of art, I support creative expression in virtually any and all forms. However, with Jackson you're getting into sticky territory, no doubt. Jackson lived, to say the least, one of the most interesting and scrutinized lives of any celebrity, and telling a story about him in such a goofy light probably wasn’t a smart move for serveal reasons. However, I do think the story of Jackson will need to be told, and we have to figure out a way to tell it honestly, and I don’t think there’s going to be a way to do that while pleasing everyone.

The rest of the episodes from the show will air at their normal dates.

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