There are some things no one can get away with, as Sky has recently learnt after the backlash its Urban Myths trailer has caused.
The show, which recreates urban myths about celebrities, recently released a trailer in which British actor Joseph Fiennes was seen playing the late Michael Jackson in what many have labeled as a “charicature.”
His casting last year was already controversial, but the clip, in which he is seen going on a road trip with Grease’s Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Brian Cox as Marlon Brando, has caused a wave of anger that has Jackson’s children as its leading detractors.
Jackson’s daughter, Paris, tweeted that she was “so incredibly offended by it, as I’m sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit.” Michael’s nephew Taj also spoke on Twitter about his hate towards the portrayal of his uncle.
— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) January 11, 2017
So, of course, there was only one way this could end. By giving the episode the axe. Sky has released a statement announcing that the episode will never see the light of day:
“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.”
We can only guess that for the next time they film a series of Urban Myths (if they ever do), they will think twice before casting a British white actor known for playing Shakespeare as an American black music legend. Also, Fiennes’s voice in the trailer did sound like something out of a cartoon.
The show has other less insulting episodes which will see Ben Chaplin as Cary Grant and Game of Thrones’ Iwan Rheon as Adolf Hitler, among others.