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Dublin: 26°C Thursday 11 August 2022

Sky has pulled the Michael Jackson programme after complaints

A petition to boycott the episode had been signed by more than 20,000 people.

SKY ARTS HAS decided not to broadcast the controversial Michael Jackson comedy starring Joseph Fiennes.

It comes after the first shots of Fiennes playing the musician received widespread criticism when they were released earlier this week.

On its website, Sky described the series called Urban Myths as “slightly tongue-in-cheek, mischievous and deliberately ambiguous”. This episode depicted the legendary story that Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Jackson took a road trip from New York to LA after the 11 September attacks.

Jackson’s daughter Paris used Twitter to express her anger at how her father was portrayed – by a white actor with full prosthetic makeup for comedy effect.

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

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

Paris also retweeted a compilation video of her father saying numerous times that he was proud to be a black American.

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In a statement released this morning, Sky said it “never intended to cause any offence”.

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.

A petition to boycott the half-hour episode had also been signed by more than 20,000 people.

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