| Michael Jackson
London, Feb. 25 (Reuters): Pop legend Michael Jackson, outraged at a behind-the-scenes documentary in which he admitted sharing his bedroom with young children, said yesterday he was launching legal action against the British television network behind it.
A statement issued in London on behalf of the 44-year-old singer said Jackson would fight Granada Television over ownership of unaired footage of its controversial and hugely popular Living with Michael Jackson documentary.
The statement said Jackson was seeking to have all previously unseen footage held by Granada locked away until a wider dispute between the two sides, and interviewer Martin Bashir, was resolved.
“Michael Jackson has argued that Martin Bashir and Granada broke the agreement by which he was permitted to film Michael, concerning ownership of the filmed material and permissions relating to the inclusion of the Jackson children,” the statement said.
“In particular, Granada has failed to honour an agreement reached earlier this month to deliver up to Michael Jackson unused film footage of his children, where recognisable.”
A spokesman for Jackson said a hearing in the case was expected at London’s High Court on Friday. The documentary, aired to huge audiences in Britain and the US, was a rare peek at the private life of one of pop’s biggest icons which touched off a storm of controversy. Jackson has accused British journalist Bashir — given unprecedented access to the singer’s world — of betrayal and has slammed the documentary as a gross distortion of the truth. Jackson’s lawyers have already filed complaints with British broadcasting authorities over the film.
A spokesman for Granada Television said the company would fight the legal action:
“Michael Jackson’s London lawyers told us this evening they had issued proceedings against Granada... We shall be resisting such claims vigorously,” the spokesman said.
In the documentary, aired earlier in February, Jackson candidly revealed that his third child was born to a surrogate mother he never met. He also admitted sharing his bedroom with children. But in an attempt to turn the tables, the self-styled King of Pop has aired his own footage of interviewer Bashir praising Jackson’s way with children.