Network Pulls Show Starring White Guy as Michael Jackson

Sky says it 'never intended to cause any offense'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2017 9:19 AM CST
Network Pulls Show Starring White Guy as Michael Jackson
A scene from a since-deleted trailer for "Urban Myths."   (YouTube)

An episode of a TV series in which a white British guy posed as Michael Jackson—called a "nightmare" by some and "shameful" by Jackson's own daughter—won't see the light of day. Sky says the episode of Urban Myths, in which Joseph Fiennes portrays Jackson on a rumored post-9/11 road trip with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, has been pulled "in light of the concerns expressed by Michael Jackson's immediate family," per the BBC. More than 20,000 people had also signed a petition to boycott the episode, set to air in April.

"We set out to take a lighthearted look at reportedly true events and never intended to cause any offense," Sky says, adding Fiennes "fully supports our decision." Fiennes—who delivered a "really sweet, nuanced, characterful performance," according to the series director—had previously defended the episode as satire. Other episodes in the series—which Palmer says uses elements of truth or rumor and "lots of poetic license" to retell odd stories—will still air as planned, including one based on the tale that Muhammad Ali talked a suicidal man down from a ledge, per the Guardian. (Read more Michael Jackson stories.)

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