The estate of Michael Jackson Wednesday slammed a planned ABC News special about the late King of Pop scheduled to air Thursday, calling it a “crass and unauthorized” effort to exploit the entertainer’s name.
ABC has billed “The Last Days of Michael Jackson” as focusing on the final days of Jackson’s life, featuring never-before-seen footage of interviews he did with Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, along with new interviews with Jackson associates and a tour operator who was outside the singer’s rented Holmby Hills estate the day he died.
The Jackson estate issued a statement Wednesday saying the special “is not sponsored or approved by the estate of Michael Jackson.” The estate also accused ABC of unauthorized use of a copyrighted photo and silhouette image in trailers and promotional materials, but those items have since been removed.
“We are told ABC intends to use music and other intellectual property owned by the estate such as photos, logos, artwork and more in the program itself, without having licensed the rights to any such material,” according to the estate. “Imagine if this was done with any of ABC’s intellectual property.
“We believe the special to be another crass and unauthorized attempt to exploit the life, music and image of Michael Jackson without respect for Michael’s legacy, intellectual property rights or his children.”
There’s been no response from ABC.
Jackson, 50, died on June 25, 2009, while he was in the Los Angeles area practicing for a planned series of concerts in London known as “This Is It.” He died from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol. Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted in 2011 for administering the fatal dose of medication to Jackson.