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  1. ITV Report

TV show featuring Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson binned after backlash

The casting of Fiennes as Jackson was criticised by the pop star's family Credit: PA

A television comedy that featured Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson has been pulled from broadcast after a backlash from the pop singer's family.

The show was part of Sky Art's Urban Myths series that begins on January 19.

But the programme makers came in for heavy criticism over the casting of Fiennes as the King of Pop when the trailer for the episode went online.

Jackson's daughter Paris said that the cast of Shakespeare In Love star Fiennes as Jackson in the episode, titled 'Elizabeth, Michael And Marlon', had made her want to "vomit".

Fans also took to Twitter to express outrage at the move.

A spokesman for Sky Arts said: "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."

The episode featured Stockard Channing (r) as Taylor alongside Fiennes as Jackson Credit: Sky Arts

The episode was supposed to detail a reported road trip undertaken by Jackson along with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando following the September 11 attacks.

In the show, Stockard Channing played Taylor and Brian Cox played Brando.

Paris Jackson criticised the casting of Fiennes to play her father Credit: AP

Fiennes, who was cast as Jackson last year, had argued that the choice was appropriate as he was playing the singer later in life, by which point his skin colour had considerably lightened.

But following the release of the trailer Paris Jackson wrote on Twitter: "I'm so incredibly offended by it, as I'm sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit."

"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 [Taylor] as well.

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

The show detailed a reported road trip undertaken by Jackson along with Taylor and Marlon Brando (played by Brian Cox) Credit: Sky Arts

A petition calling for a boycott of the show, set up on the Care 2 website, was signed by more than 20,000 people.

The petition describes how Jackson suffered with skin condition vitiligo throughout his life, which caused the lightening of his skin.

The author of the petition, Julie Rodriguez, wrote: "This casting is an insult to the very real professional struggles and health issues Jackson dealt with during his lifetime.

Michael Jackson died in 2009 aged 50.