(Reuters) British actor Joseph Fiennes has been cast as iconic African-American pop star Michael Jackson in an upcoming TV comedy, provoking scorn on social media on Wednesday and fueling a controversy in the entertainment industry over opportunities for black artists.
Fiennes, who is white, will play the late "King of Pop" in an apparently real-life story for Britain's satellite TV channel Sky Arts about a road trip across the United States the singer is said to have taken in 2001 with movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando.
Sky Arts said in a statement on Wednesday that the 30-minute comedy, called "Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon," is "part of a series of comedies about unlikely stories from arts and cultural history. Sky Arts gives producers the creative freedom to cast roles as they wish, within the diversity framework which we have set."
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