That Joseph Fiennes-as-Michael Jackson show has been cancelled, thankfully


Last year, we actually heard about Joseph Fiennes’ terrible career decision to take the role of Michael Jackson. We heard that it was a weird TV movie and that the story was based on an unverified claim that immediately following 9/11, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando rented a car and tried to drive across the country, from New York to California. The other casting choices were surprising solid – Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Brian Cox as Brando, both of which fit pretty well. But Joseph Fiennes as MJ was and is… difficult. Stupid. Idiotic. Offensive. It was made worse by Joseph trying to talk his way out of the controversy and making a hash out of it.

The trailer for the project, called Urban Myths, came out this week and it created a firestorm. Here’s the trailer again:

Yeah, I still don’t know why anyone thought this would be a good idea. MJ’s daughter Paris Jackson tweeted this in response:

Well, good news. Because after the trailer dropped and everyone in the world was like, “Yeah, this was a TERRIBLE idea,” Sky has canceled the airing of this one episode.

European pay-TV company Sky has ditched plans to air the controversial footage from British comedy series “Urban Myths” in which Joseph Fiennes plays the singer Michael Jackson. In a statement, a company spokesperson 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.”

[From Variety]

My questions still remain… why cast Joseph Fiennes in the first place? Why didn’t they cancel this last year when the controversy first broke? Why did they actually put this episode in the trailer? Was it all promotion for this silly show?


Photos courtesy of Sky, WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

88 Responses to “That Joseph Fiennes-as-Michael Jackson show has been cancelled, thankfully”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Pedro45 says:

    Why does he look like Matt Lauer on a particularly terrible Halloween Today show?

    • ravensdaughter says:

      Hee-hee-hee-I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until you said that.
      Who was the demented producer who thought thais might work?

  2. ElleBee says:

    This was tasteless from the beginning and everyone involved gets a side eye but Joseph especially gets the nastiest look that I can manage. Why would he ever think this is ok?

    This is white washing in the MOST OFFENSIVE way possible. The Flex Washington portrayal of MJ was bad enough and he’s black…..


    • Lahdidahbaby says:

      Yeah, it was one big counterintuitive DUH from the beginning. I find it hard to imagine how Fiennes ever thought it would be a good career move.

      • JustJules says:

        @jwoolman, just to play devils advocate here, the vitiligo explains the face bleaching but what about the nose ops to make his nose thinner? That would make it seem like he was trying to be white for whatever reason I don’t know.

        I don’t doubt he had the skin problem and I also don’t support a white man portraying him, just asking the question.

    • Selena Castle says:

      It was comedy that’s why. Michael Jackson tried for years to look like a white woman. I think Emma Thompson would have been better casting (because this is a British production). Let’s face it (pun intended) Michael Jackson tried to make himself white, there was no vitigilo, so why not portray him as white in a comedy show? Would it have created more controversy having a black actor dressed up in “white face” with a weird prosthetic nose, strange chin and cheek implants?

      • jwoolman says:

        People who had vitiligo certainly thought Michael had it. I stumbled on a forum for people with the disease while working on a translation about skin diseases. They all said he showed signs of it while a young man, they recognized the patches on pictures. They also said that at some point, as the patches get bigger and there are many more of them, it’s easier to bleach your skin than to try to use makeup on the depigmented areas to match your natural skin tone. Michael was also seriously burned at one point, explaining the plastic surgeries. He also clearly had chronic pain issues (his sleep problems were almost certainly linked with that, at least I had a very hard time getting any sleep when having difficult nerve pain), which can come along with vitiligo. Lack of sleep is exhausting and can drive you crazy, I can understand why he went to such extremes to deal with it. It can be very difficult to find a safe drug that will work with many types of chronic pain. I don’t know why people have such trouble believing this. Maybe they just don’t know much about the disease.

      • prissa says:

        I’m late, but Michael Jackson most definitely did have vitiligo. His autopsy photos are all over the web. One look as those photos (as well as reading the autopsy report) and you will clearly realize he really did have vitiligo.

  3. loislane says:

    Here’s to hope hollywood will learn Something from this… But we all know they won’t.

  4. Tobbs says:

    I don’t get why anyone thought casting Fiennes as MJ was a good idea. But I’m curious, who would be a good choice to play him?

    • TheSageM says:

      John Hensley. Who is also white, by the way.

    • Hannah says:

      At that point of MJ’s life, he was “white”, so I don’t get the critics about casting a white actor. If it was an portrait of his early years, sure, it had to be a black actor.

      • Pedro45 says:

        No. He was African-American his entire life because that’s how it works. He lightened his skin due to vitiligo but it didn’t change his race.

      • kimbers says:

        I dont understand how you dont see whats wrong?!? MK was a black man who lightened his skin. They didnt even try to find a biracial man, they offensively went for a familiar name(to some) and a completely different race bc they thought it was “clever”. It was not clever and they had wanted to profit from it.

      • Londerland says:

        He was never white. Yes, he was deathly pale because of his skin condition, his surgery, his makeup, but he was still *a black man*.

        Whatever one thinks of his private life or the molestation accusations, he remains one of the most successful, influential and beloved performers of all time, and if he’s going to be played onscreen, then that honour (even if some consider it dubious; even in a stupid tv show like this) should be reserved for a black actor. It’s wrong to eradicate his race, his experiences as a black man, or his cultural significance, just because he wasn’t dark-skinned anymore.

        Fiennes here looks so unlike him, anyway, and is so caked in makeup, that it seems to me they could have cast a black actor in the same prosthetics anyway and have about as close a resemblance.

      • Tobbs says:

        @Londerland agreed. I was actually wondering about which black actor would be right for the role. As you say, any actor would have to wear a lot of makeup and prosthetics so why they can’t just choose a black actor is beyond me.

      • noway says:

        In fairness, how do we know they didn’t even try to find a biracial actor? Ideally, I don’t see anything wrong with Fiennes portraying an African American, although this portrayal seems campy at best, but not knowing the show maybe that is what it is. My problem with the entertainment industry in general is yes we see many caucasian actors playing other ethnicities, but rarely reversed. Denzel Washington could play the whitest character known to man, and I would still go see it as he is an amazing actor who could pull it off and make me believe. If you haven’t seen Fences go see it, both him and Viola Davis are amazing. Until we get to the point where we can do that, and include more people of color in our stories, I think we need to cast the people of color for those characters that are historically people of color. Big shout out to Lin-Manuel Miranda for doing exactly that, but he is the few.

        Also, just wondering as this is a British show and curious to not be offensive, but in Britain is Black a term that is used or is it African or British African. I know a lot of people find Black offensive in the US, and wondering if it is worldwide or what.

      • Mira says:

        He wasn’t a white person, EVER. Its pointless to speak on race if you don’t understand how skin colour affects a person.
        Also Joesph Fiennes looks ridiculous and not in a good way.

      • Llamas says:

        Per Lin Manuel Miranda, are you saying it’s okay he cast poc for historically white people? Because if it had been reversed there would be pure unadulterated outrage.

        I think picking a white actor to play him in at the point in his life where he looked white is fine.

        Joseph fiennes looks like laughably absurd.

      • applepie says:

        @noway. Black or African is generally the way everyone in UK decribes poc. Contrary to what you may hear via media we aren’t as racist as it seems in the us. Trumpmagedon is terrifying to me. I feel for you guys. 😨

  5. Merry says:

    Yay Paris! I worried last year that perhaps the family were silent because they were fine with it and that would embolden the production.

  6. Nicole says:

    They should’ve cancelled it last year when the news broke. But they didn’t so everyone was going to hit them where it hurts: the bottom line.
    Just like when producers ignored the controversy with Nina Simone and the movie tanked, this was going to as well.

  7. Lucy says:

    I’m glad this show (or at least this episode) has been cancelled, but honestly I wouldn’t put much of the blame on Joseph. Yes, he accepted the role, so responsibility where it’s due. But hadn’t it been him, they would have probably chosen any other white actor.

  8. JulP says:

    As you pointed out, Kaiser, considering all of the flack they got when they announced Fiennes was playing Michael Jackson, I have no idea why they didn’t recast the role. And accepting the role was certainly a poor decision on Fiennes’ part. I wonder what happened to his career by the way? He was everywhere back in 1998 …

  9. ell says:

    ‘why cast Joseph Fiennes in the first place?’

    because these white old men whitewashing everything are completely clueless, until they see audience’s reactions. well, now they know.

  10. Aphatty says:

    Well, I have one question….where were they supposed to find an actual black man who probably has black features to play Michael, who was obviously obsessed with becoming a white woman? It was a comedy for goodness sakes. I love Michael too and yes, he was amazingly talented – but that does not make him “off limits” as far as comedy goes. Lets be honest – it is not the first time hes been jabbed at, nor will it be the last. I don’t think anyone was trying to “dishonor” him, come on….

    Perhaps Paris should think about what SHE is doing to Michael’s legacy….its not like she has been the bastion of sainthood…..

    • ell says:

      ‘where were they supposed to find an actual black man’

      yes. nothing more to say. they use prosthetic and make up on white men and they could use them on black men, too.

    • Odette says:

      Yeah, I didn’t realize that this was a comedy. Which does change the lens a bit. And having a white guy play him, in this instance, may have actually been satirical commentary on colorism as it related to MJ; who knows, they could have made that work, and gotten a point across. Welp, we’ll never know now.

      To be clear, I am against whitewashing. 100%. But I do think each case should be looked at in context.

    • Chaine says:

      there are plenty of African American entertainers that could play Michael better than some British white guy who clearly had prosthetics on his face anyway to approximate Michael’s surgery ravaged features.

    • MellyMel says:

      “Perhaps Paris should think about what SHE is doing to Michael’s legacy….its not like she has been the bastion of sainthood…..” heartless much? That child lost her father and was and continues to go through that pain. I would love to see how you would handle losing your parent and being a teenager in general all while in the spotlight.

      • Lady D says:

        I thought that was kind of low too. Girl doesn’t have a lot of people looking out for her best interests, they’re more into the interest she is collecting.

      • Aphatty says:

        Well, I am not in the spotlight, but I have lost a parent. It hurt like hell and forever will, but it did not give me a hall pass to act like she has at times. I am sorry for her loss, however, why is her pain so much greater than anyone else’s? Is it because she is rich and a semi-celebrity? I am actually curious as to why you think it is “LOW” of me to state the obvious. Yes, her father was MJ, but that does not excuse her past indiscretions and it shouldn’t be cause to “shake her finger” at people who admired her father and cope with his loss with comedy.

        What if no one ever spoke of MJ again? Would she be as offended?

    • Lena says:

      He had vitiligo. Maybe look that up?

      • NastyWoman` says:

        Did vitiligo change his nose and straighten his hair, too?

      • MellyMel says:

        Yeah cause black people can’t get nose jobs or straighten their hair…

      • Selena Castle says:

        Oh this business about him having vitiligo is so much rubbish! We all knew it back then when he was alive. Just because he is dead does not mean that he somehow got “better”. He was a weird little man who lightened the hell out of his skin when he was alive and that is still true.

        Seriously if you think it is easier to lighten your skin with makeup when you have vitiligo you are very sadly mistaken. It is much easier to darken it. But he wanted to look like Liz Taylor or something. He was mentally ill.

    • M.A.F. says:

      Black men have played him before. They can play him again.

    • Odette says:

      I absolutely understand everyone’s point. And largely agree. But it is worth noting that sometimes, in comedy, the casting is part of the satirical commentary. Again, I agree with the criticism. Plus, I think it’s important to protect the uncomfortable parts of comedy, as it often does allow for difficult cultural self-reflection, which isn’t always comfortable. Not all comedy, but with the good comes the bad.

  11. BengalCat2000 says:

    Paris Jackson’s response broke my heart.

  12. MellyMel says:

    Good! Tasteless and disrespectful, plain and simple.

  13. gene123 says:

    A couple thoughts
    1. Why did it take them this long? Before the trailer dropped I thought they had cancelled it already

    2.Do the actors still get paid for the role?

    3. In a perfect world, who would be the dream casting for MJ? He passed around 7 years ago so I assume we’re going to start to see a biopic soon. Who would be the best for the role?

  14. Shambles says:

    That trailer is grossly insulting to everyone with the last name “Jackson,” people of color as a whole, and all decent makeup artists with a passion for good prosthetics

  15. Brandi says:

    The preview looked entertaining but his casting as MJ ruined it!! I don’t know what people were thinking to cast him or what he was thinking to actually do it. He looked so awful and it just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Kori says:

      Seriously. A car ride with MJ, Liz and Brando? That could’ve been great. And stockard looking perfect for her role.

  16. Jo says:

    I feel like I might be the only person that thinks this is a slight over-reaction. There have been programmes before satirising MJ, such as Bo Selecta and other British programmes portraying caricatures of celebrities, such as The Windsors and Star Stories.

    As for the casting, yes, Joseph Fiennes was an odd choice. Apparently at one point they were even considering a woman for the role (according to Brian Cox). But we can’t really escape the fact that, by the end of his life, MJ’s skin was very pale indeed and he lost many of his original african-american features (apologies if this is the wrong terminology). Was the alternative lightening the skin of a black person with make-up? Does that feel right?

    Are we just offended because he is dead, because Paris spoke up or something else?

  17. Rocio says:

    Hi, there! I’m going to tell you a story. In my country we have an important national holiday on May 25th, The Revolution of May, which was the beginnig of our independence process. At schools, primary schools in particular, it’s a common practice to dramatize what happened that day. Some students dress up as the historiacal figures like Mariano Moreno or Manuel Belgrano among other but the rest dresses up as the common folks. One of these common folks is a black man selling candles. There were some slaves in Río de la Plata but for some reason there are no black people anymore. So teachers or parents paint a white child black.

    My point is people are stupid.

    • TheSageM says:

      So maybe blackface is not as “loaded” an issue in Argentina. But then, in Argentina it’s also ok to call grown up, professional women “girls”. In other words, they have a long way to go. The other day I saw an job advertisement for a digital/social media manager that had to be “female, under the age of 45”. There are many things wrong with that society.

      • Rocio says:

        We are a pretty f*cked up society. Right now we’re calling the native peoples terrorists and sending the security forces to repress them so yes, we have a long way to go.

      • TheSageM says:

        Yes, that’s where I’m from originally, but I left 21 years ago. I really hope things improve. The country and its people have so much potential.

  18. Quiet_Too_Quiet says:

    Did any of you watch the clip? It’s a comedy!

    It actually looked funny from the trailer. Hopefully they’ll still show it in the UK, where we’re a bit less sensitive about Michael Jackson…? From first glance, If you thought this was supposed to be a serious biopic, MJs appearance is kind of appalling. But it isn’t a serious thing; it’s supposed to be funny.

    And, by the end of his life, Michael was pretty white skinned. Would it make you feel more comfortable having a dark skinned actor “white-up”?

    I really don’t understand why you’re all so upset?

    • Jo says:

      I hope so too. I feel Americans in general do seem more sensitive to race. Ironic given their president elect.

  19. Della says:

    The definitive proof that Americans don’t understand satire…

  20. eto says:

    They got plenty of feedback on the casting last year, decided to run with it for publicity and it backfired. No sympathy.

  21. detritus says:

    The comments on this topic are why some women feel feminism is not intersectional.

    If you are white, you don’t get to lecture people of colour on how they Should feel when something like this comes up. Full stop.

    You’ve had the privilege of seeing yourself represented, your heroes represented from a very early age, everywhere. It’s time to take a small break in talking, and listen to what your sisters are telling you and why they feel the way they do.

    • NastyWoman` says:

      Detritus – I generally enjoy your comments, so that is why I am responding (and in the interest of dialogue, not to argue). I am a black woman. And toward the middle of his life (with the skin lightening, multiple surgeries and the adoption of only white children), I stopped feeling like Michael Jackson was representative of me. Sure, I admired him for what he’d done career-wise and musically (I still think he’s a musical genius), but he stopped being – to me – a black icon. I felt that he had assimilated so much, that he lost himself. So, frankly, I don’t find this offensive. But I do see how other people on this thread might see it as the ultimate “white washing.”

      • Odette says:

        I’m a black woman, too, and largely agree with you, NastyWoman. Yes, Michael had a skin condition, but let’s not pretend that he didn’t have plastic surgery to alter his facial structure, not to mention his seeming determination to not have black children (White and Asian, fine; But never a Black kid; and no, those kids are not genetically related to him.) That’s problematic. His white worship was problematic. Like, the man wanted to be white. I have to wonder who he would have cast as himself, if he was given full creative control over a biopic.

        That’s why I leave room for satirical comedy in this instance. There is fertile ground to till, here, in terms of MJ’s obvious colorism issues. And yes, an uncomfortable casting choice could have been part of the “punchline.” Comedy is a very gray area, for me.

      • detritus says:

        Thanks Nasty, I like your comments a lot and I love a good dialogue =) I actually winced at your comment the other day, because I assumed (my HUGE bad) you were another white lady lecturing the black community. I’m sorry, that’s pretty shitty and hypocritical of me.

        You got a lil bit of a pile on last time, but I do think I get what you are saying. MJ is a very polarising figure, both good and bad, his story both uplifting and grotesque, and I would imagine for the black community it’s even more complicated. I bet there are a lot of people who feel the way you do too.

        What it really comes down to for me, is not dismissing someone’s feelings as too much, too sensitive, especially on a topic that doesn’t have the same impact. It’s something I think most women have faced, when told that we need to get over being touched inappropriately, or call ugly bitches for turning down a guy, I think most have experience minimising and gaslighting. I’m really uncomfortable with a man telling me about my lived experience as a woman, and I try to apply that to other groups?

        If he wasn’t such a complicated figure do you think you’d feel differently?

        Odette, same question if you have time, would you feel differently if he hadn’t embraced the bleaching/plastics so heavily? I’m wondering too, wouldn’t it have been as funny if they used a black guy, and added all the ridiculous prothesis to him?

      • Odette says:

        Hey there detritus. Yes, my opinion is very much tied to the fact that we’re talking about Michael Jackson. It’s very specific — and like I said above, MJ was kinda obsessed with becoming white. It was a tangible thing that we saw playing out in the public eye — and while people danced around it, it was never addressed full on, as it would be today. It was before the Internet, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and things were different back then!

        So yeah, IMO, the topic, specific to pop icon MJ, is fair satirical ground. And I think the casting may have been part of the punchline. I wish I was more articulate, but yeah, it just seems there was room to incorporate the casting choice as part of the bit, to make a larger point about how colorism is still a problem — via the vehicle of lampooning one of pop culture’s most notorious color-conscious celebrities.

      • Sixer says:

        (Sorry to interrupt).

        My understanding (as white and British) is that this series is indeed the latest in a long line of British satires poking fun at rich, famous or powerful people. We do this a lot here (I think it makes us feel better about the rampant classism that exists). I think the only real criteria for good satire is that it punches up, not down.

        I’m absolutely fine with sending up Michael Jackson as a celebrity, even if he is beloved by some.

        That said, the problem here is that satirising Jackson with a whitewashed actor playing him may well punch up since the target for mockery is/was a celebrity but also has a knock-on effect of punching down, in the way we all know whitewashing is damaging. So personally, speaking as someone very unlikely to take umbrage at anything satirical, I think the casting was a very bad idea.

        Sky Arts have a new trailer now, in which this episode has been completely whitewashed – if you’ll allow me a pun!

      • Odette says:

        Absolutely appreciate your point, Sixer — and take it on board. I’d still feel comfortable taking the position, though, that (to use your lingo), the bit could be construed as “punching up” — depending on how they did it. And I suppose that’s ultimately the problem in sussing out “the best answer” in this case, because we’re speculating without having actually seen the work. That proverbial “judging the book by its cover,” in some ways.

        But yes, I think, ultimately, since MJ is such a lightening rod — the lines become a little blurrier than they would be in another situation.

      • Sixer says:

        Odette – actually, yes, I would like to see it. Because I don’t deny the possibility that it *could* work. I mean for example, for all we know, they broke the fourth wall and mocked themselves for whitewashing. In which case, fine, right? I just think it unlikely!

      • Odette says:

        “I mean for example, for all we know, they broke the fourth wall and mocked themselves for whitewashing. In which case, fine, right?”

        That’s exactly the scenario I envisioned when thinking about the possibilities. A play on that. With a little bit of humor about how MJ, himself, would have probably cast the same dude (jabbing MJ’s own rampant perpetuation of the color myth)….

      • NastyWoman` says:

        Detritus – Yes, my opinion would change if it were someone other than Michael Jackson. I’ve been outraged at rampant whitewashing in Hollywood and boycotted my share of movies where groups of people were not depicted accurately (culturally, geographically, etc.) i even boycotted Tim Burton for his lack of diversity in films (and urged other people to boycott his films as well). But when it comes to Michael, well, you make your bed, you have to lay in it. He spent his life getting more and more “white” (not just his skin, as that was due to vitiligo, but his features). So I can’t spare any outrage for him being cast as a white man.

      • detritus says:

        thanks ladies for the insight into a tricky topic (you too sixer, the more the merrier as always)

        It sounds like a lot of the people who are saying ‘hey, not upset about Fiennes as MJ’ are coming from a place where if MJ rejected your culture, then he doesn’t deserve your effort, or a place of ‘satire can be done if it punches the right direction’. I can understand both of those, even if i’m stating them a bit clumsily.

  22. Capepopsie says:

    Best decision ever
    Thank goodness for Paris.

  23. Sassback says:

    I just think people didn’t understand the show. It’s supposed to be a type of Drunk History comedy series where celebs play silly outlandish versions of legendary stars. Like all these stories are myths, how silly would it have looked if it did happen? I think everyone in America is very sensitive to Michael’s legacy because race is such a loaded issue here and because he was an American icon. In England, they just see him a strange pop star who had all that surgery done and may have been a pedophile.

  24. Pandy says:

    I didn’t realize it was a comedy. To me, that changes the tone a bit. Satire/comedy is to be viewed through a different lens.

    • Onemoretime says:

      You said a satire like Drunken History but the cast the appropriate race of the persons they are telling the story about. So no ma’am no comparison. Michael Jackson said numerous times he was a black man. So for all those. Saying this isn’t a big deal, don’t get it never will! It’s 2017 and some of us still making excuses for whitewashing poc roles. There are plenty of poc actors who could have done the role if they were given an opportunity . For those saying then who should play him any man of color because Fiennes definitely doesn’t look like Micheal Jackson!! We come in all skin tones including pale so give it a rest.

  25. Bridget says:

    Glad this disaster isn’t happening.

    But Paris? Your father’s death doesn’t exactly put him beyond reproach or criticism or even satire (though fortunately not this one).

  26. Radley says:

    That’s an incredibly f*ck effort make-up job. I get that this is a comedy apparently, but damn. It does seem like it’s meant to insult more than be a lighthearted comedy. All 3 had their controversies in life. Maybe not the best subjects for this show. More like a “cool story bro” narrative thing for the internet.

  27. Shambles says:

    Even as satire, I still think it’s problematic to make a joke out of a man who’s relationship with his race was so deeply troubled that he resorted to such extreme measures to assimilate. I think that’s a place for compassion, not comedy.

    • ParlerBleu says:

      +100 I haven’t seen that perspective articulated a lot in this debate. Michael Jackson’s abusive childhood is common knowledge. For a person of color to be so haunted/body dysmorphic/uncomfortable in their own skin that they would resort to the measures he resorted to–how can you not be compassionate towards that level of internal torment within another human being?

  28. artistsnow says:

    With all the information leaking out right now about Michael Jackson’s past proclivities, it is inconceivable that anyone thought this would take off despite excellent performances from Stockard, et. al.

  29. FuefinaWG says:

    TBH, I really wanted to see the horrors of this parody. I wonder if it will ever hit youtube?

  30. Vampi says:

    Wow. Can’t believe some of these judgmental comments about Michael and his skin condition, or what he went through. Like you all KNOW him. He was a PROUD black man. Always. Having surgery didn’t mean he hated being black. All of Hollywood does this now. Many go overboard. A little research may be helpful, not just what you read on TMZ. Sickening. Go Paris!

    • Odette says:

      He was not a proud black man. Sorry. That is revisionist spin. It has nothing to do with TMZ. Michael Jackson had colorism issues. Is it sad? Yes. But it is also true. His skin condition is not the only point of reference here.

      • msd says:

        I feel with Michael that there were sooooo many things going on psychologically that neither position (he wanted to be white v he had a skin condition) can be considered the full story. His vitiligo, combined with childhood abuse, seemed to trigger body dysmorphia that was both internalised racism and something more; a desire to just not be the same person, with the same body.

  31. JL says:

    So where was the outrage when Amy Poehler played him on SNL? How is this any different?

  32. Hfsni says:

    Oh man i wanted to watch i rhought it would b funny. Hope i can find it somehow

  33. Shannon says:

    Bad idea, for sure. But I’m curious – could anyone play him? I know he reportedly had a skin condition, but whether he did or not (and I’m not doubting it) his skin color did change dramatically. So if a portrayal of him is done on film, it seems somebody’s gonna end up doing white face or black face. I’m seriously asking, how do y’all think that should be handled. Maybe just let him RIP imo.

  34. EMAu says:

    What was Fiennes thinking?

  35. Lady Rain says:

    It’s sad Michael had issues with internalized racism, body dysmorphia and vitiligo. He wasn’t “weird.” He had complicated issues his own body and race, just like many of us.

    Those issues don’t deserve to be satirized onscreen given that race in America is still complicated and unresolved given the country’s legacy of 400+ years of slavery, Jim Crowe, fight for civil rights, and current issues of police brutality of black bodies and more.

    We’re hardly at the point of “joking” about someone’s internalized racial issues.