Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images
Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images
The Michael Jackson saga continues.
The pop star's family is upset with a planned MSNBC special, Michael Jackson and the Doctor: A Fatal Friendship, which purportedly chronicles the disgraced cardiologist Conrad Murray's life during the course of his highly publicized trial.
Murray was convicted on Monday of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death. And what is the family saying?
While sister La Toya Jackson tweeted that she was seeking legal measures to "prevent this from being aired," her brother Jermaine Jackson seemed to suggest just ignoring it.
"I hear all upset/frustrations re Murray doc," Jermaine tweeted today regarding the controversy. "It's shameless & sickens me too, but I choose not to give it attention/controversy it craves. We've bigger battles to fight than against the meaningless words of a liar whose version of events was unanimously rejected by a jury."
But the story didn't end there. The co-executors of the late singer's estate, John Branca and John McClain, sent a letter to the execs at the cable news net, NBC Universal and Comcast (also the parent company of E! Networks) blasting MSNBC for its decision to tell a now-convicted felon's version of events.
"The mere title of your 'documentary,'…is bewildering," reads the letter. "Since when was Dr. Murray ever Michael Jackson's friend? Since when does any doctor—let alone any friend—act in such an irresponsible manner in the care and treatment of another human being?"
The letter goes on to argue against giving Murray a platform to speak "without fear of cross-examination" in order to "shift the blame post-conviction to Michael Jackson, even though a jury considered the evidence and rejected this very argument."
The lawyers demanded producer October Films account for its claim that it only paid Murray $1 for his participation.
"It doesn't matter to us if it was a production company, Comcast, NBC Universal or MSNBC that paid for 'access' to Dr. Murray, because all are morally culpable," added Branca and McClain.
The attorneys concluded their blistering missive by reminding the documentary's backers that the pop superstar was Murray's victim, "a loving father and an incredible talent," and that the physician is now a convicted felon and in jail.
"He is not someone NBC Universal should be giving a platform to on a prime-time pedestal," they wrote. "We demand that you exercise proper judgment and refrain from airing this program."
A rep for MSNBC/NBC Universal declined to comment for the most part except to deny that payment was made to Murray or his defense.
"NBCUniversal licensed the documentary from Zodiak Rights. In connection with the documentary, NBCUniversal had the opportunity to conduct a promotional interview with Dr. Murray. Neither Dr. Murray nor his legal defense were compensated in any way," said the cable net in a statement.
The special is slated to air Friday at 10 p.m.
Already, Murray's side of the story—at least prior to Monday's verdict—is getting a full airing in the form of a two-part interview, the first of which was broadcast this morning on NBC's Today. The second installment airs tomorrow.
The King of Pop's brother Jermaine sounded as if he had a clear idea in mind for Michael Jackson's legacy, and that it did not include Conrad Murray. "Protecting & preserving Michael's legacy is about celebrating and focusing on HIS life, words, music, goodness and truth," he tweeted.
—Reporting by Natalie Finn