Jackson rock doc 'misled' fans says estate
Film debuts in Japan Friday, on anniversary of singer's deathThe estate of Michael Jackson is taking issue with a documentary that is to debut in Japan on the anniversary of the pop star's death on Friday.
Some of the footage in the film was shot by Marc Schaffel, a former business partner who had a major falling out with Jackson in a messy trial when they sued each other four years ago.
In a statement sent to The Associated Press on Thursday, the estate says the film's promoters "misled Michael Jackson's fans" by making it appear as if it were authorized.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," the estate said. "His estate was not consulted on this film, and will not endorse it."
The estate said none of the proceeds will flow to the estate, which benefits his children, mother and charities. It also said the movie cannot legally use any of Jackson's music.
Schaffel's lawyer, Howard King, said Thursday that his client had licensed footage that Schaffel either shot himself or hired a crew to take for the film's producer, Flamingo Features. He said Schaffel did not represent any endorsement from the estate.
"Marc Schaffel could not have been more clear about the lack of involvement of the estate," King said in an interview.
Schaffel provided footage from 2003 including of Jackson's birthday party at his sprawling Neverland Ranch, and was in Tokyo for the premiere with Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, King said.
King said the Japanese distributor, a company called Star Sands, may have mistakenly been promoting the film as authorized, but he said advertisements were being changed early Friday.
"What I believe is that Star Sands advertised the movie as being endorsed by the estate without knowing the truth," he said. "I believe they are currently changing their advertising, now that they have become aware of the estate's claim."
Flamingo Features is a Los Angeles-based company that lists its address on the lot of Paramount Pictures. Its involvement with the Viacom Inc.-owned movie studio was unclear. A Paramount spokesman declined to comment immediately.
Shaye Sullwold, one of the producers on the documentary and a Flamingo Features employee, on Thursday denied misleading Star Sands about the estate's involvement.
"We've never said anything about the estate endorsing anything," she said.