The Michael Jackson estate is objecting to an ABC TV special set to air Thursday night about the end of the life of the late King of Pop, calling it a crass attempt to exploit Jackson without respect for his legacy or children.
The estate said Wednesday in a statement to the Associated Press that The Last Days of Michael Jackson is not sponsored or approved by Jackson’s heirs and will most likely violate their intellectual property rights.
Advertising for the two-hour documentary says it will reveal new information on Jackson and focuses on his apparent decline in the run-up to his death at age 50 on June 25, 2009.
“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,” said the estate.
Representatives for ABC owner Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The estate said ABC was using a copyrighted silhouette and photo to promote the special, but stopped after demands from Jackson attorneys.
The estate said it understands the show is using other intellectual property without permission, including music, photos and artwork.
“It is particularly disheartening that Disney, a company known to strongly believe in protecting its own IP rights, would choose to ignore these rights belonging to the Estate,” the statement said.
Jackson died in 2009 of “acute propofol intoxication.” The superstar had been taking the prescription anesthetic to sleep as he prepared for a series of comeback concerts.
Former cardiologist Conrad Murray was convicted in 2011 of giving Jackson a fatal dose of the drug. He served two years in jail for causing Jackson’s death. Murray’s conviction was upheld in 2014.