Joseph Fiennes on playing Michael Jackson: ‘It was a wrong decision’

The actor opened up to The Observer about the pulled episode of "Urban Myths" from 2017.

In a recent interview, Joseph Fiennes opened up about his controversial performance as Michael Jackson in the pulled 2017 episode of the anthology series “Urban Myths.”

In the episode, the late pop star embarks on a fictional “post-9/11 road trip” with stars Marlon Brando (played by Brian Cox) and Elizabeth Taylor (Stockard Channing). At the time, Fiennes was accused of whitewashing, as theGrio previously reported, and the actor defended the decision. Now, in an interview with The Observer, Fiennes is expressing regret regarding the project, calling it a “bad mistake.”

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals
Joseph Fiennes attends the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 27, 2019, at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“I think people are absolutely right to be upset,” Fiennes told the outlet. “And it was a wrong decision. Absolutely. And I’m one part of that – there are producers, broadcasters, writers, directors, all involved in these decisions.”

“But obviously if I’m upfront, I have become the voice for other people,” he continued. “I would love them to be around the table as well to talk about it. But you know, it came at a time where there was a movement and a shift and that was good, and it was, you know, a bad call. A bad mistake.”

As theGrio previously reported, Fiennes’ casting was controversial from the start. Back in 2016, Fiennes spoke to “ET” about his casting, defending it due to the late pop singer’s skin color.”[Jackson] definitely had an issue  a pigmentation issue  and that’s something I do believe,” the actor said in the Interview. “He was probably closer to my color than his original color.”

Fiennes also explained how the episode got pulled to The Observer, revealing that he asked the broadcaster to pull it himself. “I asked the broadcaster to pull it,” he added. “And there were some pretty hefty discussions, but ultimately people made the right choice.”

At the time, Sky Arts shared a statement saying they would not air the episode, “in light of the concerns expressed by Michael Jackson’s immediate family.”

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