Michael Jackson’s nephew Taj Jackson and daughter, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, are no fans of Joseph Fiennes’ portrayal of the late pop star in the upcoming Sky Arts series Urban Myths.
A day after the first trailer for the half-hour comedy series was released, Taj Jackson, 43, tweeted, “Unfortunately this is what my family has to deal with. No words could express the blatant disrespect.”
His statement came in response to a tweet from journalist Soledad O’Brien criticizing Fiennes’ casting. “I woke up feeling like it’s going to be a beautiful day and then I remembered this is someone’s idea of Michael Jackson,” she wrote, attaching a screenshot of Fiennes in the trailer.
Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, 18, was also asked for her thoughts on the project and tweeted, “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.”
She went on to call the project “insulting” — not just to her father, but to her late godmother, Elizabeth Taylor, who is portrayed in the episode as well. Jackson’s daughter also stressed that her father “made a point of it plenty of times to express pride in his roots.”
The decision to cast Fiennes, a white English actor, to play the King of Pop has been controversial since news of the project broke last year. Starring opposite Stockard Channing as Taylor and Brian Cox as Marlon Brando, Fiennes plays Jackson in a single episode of the series, about the trio’s supposed attempt to leave New York after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Fiennes told the Associated Press last year he doesn’t believe the project promotes stereotyping, and he conceded, “This is territory that is sensitive.”