For pretty much the first time ever, a television network has chosen common sense and decency—or perhaps just the desire to avoid legal repercussions—over airing something that would have surely attracted a lot of controversy-driven viewership.
Discovery Networks International has pulled Michael Jackson's Autopsy: What Really Killed Michael Jackson, which had been set to broadcast in several countries of western Europe and in the United Kingdom on January 13.
As you all probably remember, Jackson died suddenly on June 25, 2009, just weeks before beginning a series of comeback concerts. An LA autopsy showed Jackson died primarily from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol that he used as a sleep aid.
Discovery's show, which was not scheduled to air in the U.S., was a fictional account of what the autopsy must have been like. A print advertisement for the program showed a body covered by a sheet, with one hand sticking out wearing a well-recognized sequined glove.
Not surprisingly, Jackson's estate objected to this show, and co-executors said in a letter to Discovery Communications that “Your decision to even schedule this program is in shockingly bad taste, insensitive to Michael’s family, and appears motivated solely by your blind desire to exploit Michael’s death, while cynically attempting to dupe the public into believing this show will have some serious medical value.”
“On behalf of Michael’s family, fans, common sense and decency, we urge you to reconsider and cancel this program.”
Jackson fans worldwide also protested the show, through an online petition launched earlier this month.
In a statement released today, Discovery Networks International said: “Given the commencement of legal proceedings beginning next week, and at the request of Michael Jackson’s estate, the scheduled broadcast of the medical documentary related to Michael Jackson’s official autopsy has been postponed indefinitely.”
Whether it was the family's response, the fan backlash, or the upcoming court hearing with the physician at the time of his death, Dr. Conrad Murray, I'm glad to hear Discovery has reconsidered this show. "Medical documentary" my ass.
What do you think about this decision? Would you have watched Michael Jackson's Autopsy: What Really Killed Michael Jackson?
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