Pat Houston, president of the singer’s estate and her sister-in-law, issued a critical statement about the movie on Houston’s website on the eve of the movie’s airing. She said the movie was done without the family’s blessing and against the wishes of her mother.
“If you watch this movie, watch it knowing that Lifetime is notorious for making bad biopics of deceased celebrities and brace yourself for the worst,” Pat Houston wrote.
She said she didn’t think it entered the minds of anyone involved with the project that “what lifts up one person in the headlines may in fact destroy another.”
A Lifetime representative said Saturday the network had no comment. The movie was directed by Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett, identified only in the statement as “a woman who claimed to be (Whitney Houston’s) friend.” Pat Houston wrote that “misrepresenting the term friendship to advance an agenda is not only disrespectful and dishonest but a slap in the face to her true and loyal friends.”
“You should expect people will always rise to the occasion for prominence and profit — not love, respect or honor,” she wrote. “I question the morality of the making of this because of the lack of experience knowing Whitney’s life.”
It’s not clear who, if anyone, in Houston’s family saw the movie in advance, and the statement had no specific observations on the film, where Yaya DaCosta portrays the late singer. The statement said “selected members” of the family were denied an advance copy.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.