Once news surfaced of a white actor named Joseph Fiennes’ portrayal of revered icon Michael Jackson in a British television show, concern and outcry consumed the production over its selection. Recently, a trailer for the show was released and drew even more criticism on Fiennes’ controversial appearance. Now, the “Human Nature” artist’s family has put a halt on the airing of that Urban Myths episode, BBC reports.
The program was set to depict the likeness of Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando alongside the King of Pop, but according to network Sky Arts, the backlash proved far louder than what any of the actors would have to say on screen. In a statement issued by the production company, Fiennes has backed their ruling.
“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,” the statement reads. “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.”
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the storyline planned to follow Taylor, Brando and Jackson on a road trip from NYC to L.A. in a seemingly “urban folklore” tone. The series had a premiere date of Jan. 19.
Earlier this week, Jackson’s daughter revealed her true thoughts on the show in a series of tweets. “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,” Paris Jackson wrote. “Where is the respect? They worked through blood sweat and tears for ages to create such profound and remarkable legacies. Shameful portrayal.”