Controversy after a white actor is cast to play Michael Jackson in a TV movie


British actor Joseph Fiennes will star as Michael Jackson in the upcoming comedy Elisabeth, Michael & Marlon. Problem : the fact that he is white has spurred “complaints” on social media.

Produced by Sky Arts, Elisabeth, Michael & Marlon is a comedy based on a 2011 Vanity Fair article reporting a strange road trip during which Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor drove from New York to Los Angeles in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Stockard Channing will play Taylor, and Brian Cox has been cast as Brando.

Once the news was confirmed, many people have spoken out on social media about the choice of Fiennes to play Jackson, an African-American man who suffered later from vitiligo, which caused his skin to lose pigment and whiten.

This news comes in the midst of another conversation concerning the lack of diversity in Hollywood as only white actors were nominated at this year’s Academy Awards.  One of the criticism was that even when telling the story of people of color, white actors were the preference.

On Twitter, many users expressed their confusion :

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