The Michael Jackson ‘Urban Myths’ Episode Won’t Air After All
Join me, as we step back in time to the simpler and more innocent era of two days ago: The trailer for British TV network Sky Arts’ new program Urban Myths had just surfaced, teasing a collection of whimsical shorts featuring fictionalized versions of such celebrities as Bob Dylan, Adolf Hitler, and Cary Grant. One segment in particular commanded more headlines than any other: An episode featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, and Michael Jackson taking a drive through the country in the wake of 9/11. White actor Joseph Fiennes shocked everyone with his getup as the post-skin-whitening Jackson, and many cried foul at what is technically a blackface performance. The late King of Pop’s daughter Paris tweeted that she was “incredibly offended” by the performance and that it “makes [her] want to vomit.”
“Wow,” the viewing public collectively thought, ”I wonder when they‘re gonna pull the plug on this terrible idea.”
Today, it turns out! Deadline reports that Sky Arts has removed the half-hour episode “Elizabeth, Michael, and Marlon” from their schedule, likely to never allow it into the light of day. A spokesperson from Sky Arts offered the following statement in an effort to smooth things over:
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. [sic] Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision.”
That’s that, then. Joseph Fiennes is probably going to get a lot of dirty looks at bars over the next few months, the rest of the series will run unimpeded, and this hideously miscalculated flame was extinguished before it permanently charred the whole network.