Urban Myths trailer shows British actor Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson

Fairfax

Comedy sketch show Urban Myths shares weird celebrity stories that have been passed down over time and have now become part of urban folklore.

Michael Jackson's family have spoken out against his portrayal in a comedy show by a white actor. 

On Thursday, Sky Arts released a trailer for its upcoming Urban Myths series, which it says looks at "remarkable stories from well-known historical, artistic and cultural figures, which may or may not have happened in real life."

In the preview, Joseph Fiennes, a white actor, is shown wearing Jackson's signature hat while seated in a car driven by Elizabeth Taylor, who is played by Stockard Channing.

Joseph Fiennes is set to play Michael Jackson.
GETTY

Joseph Fiennes is set to play Michael Jackson.

Paris Jackson responded to images of the actor on Twitter, saying, "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."

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The Prince of Pop's nephew, Taj Jackson, also spoke out against the performance. 

"Unfortunately this is what my family has to deal with," he posted to Twitter. "No words could express the blatant disrespect."

Others also expressed their distaste at the casting: 

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The network says the episode will detail a supposed road trip taken by Jackson, Taylor and Marlon Brando.

The casting of Fiennes as Jackson was criticised when it was announced.

At the time, social media users shared 1993 footage of Jackson discussing the prospect of a white person playing him.

"Why would I want a white child to play me? I'm a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am," he said.

Fiennes defended himself to The Associated Press last year, saying the project doesn't promote stereotyping.

In an interview with US TV show Entertainment Tonight, the British actor,best known for his role in Shakespeare in Love, said he was just as shocked as anyone about the casting news, but defended it nonetheless.

He said the show was a "light comedy" and not "in any way malicious".

"I'm a white, middle-class guy from London. I'm as shocked as you might be," he said.

The trailer also stars Catherine Parkinson (Humans) Eddie Marsan as Bob Dylan, Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones) as Adolf Hitler, and Rupert Grint (Harry Potter) as "Hitler's friend".

 - AP

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