Since Michael Jackson’s death, TV networks have been picking over the bones of the controversy surrounding his demise with specials and “exclusive interviews.” Discovery Channel’s bone-picking appears to have gone over to the almost literal sense as the network plans to air a reenactment of Michael Jackson’s autopsy in Europe next month.

According to TMZ, Co-Executors of Jackson’s estate, John Branca and John McClain sent a letter to the president of Discovery urging the network to pull the special and complaining about the print-ad, which features a body on a steel table, covered in a sheet with one gloved hand exposed. You have to admit, the ad gets the point across but Branca and McClain may be right in saying it’s “sick and insensitive.” They went on to express disappointment in the network, which they say was “synonymous with some of the best programming television had to offer, including focusing attention on many of the same environmental issues Michael was so passionate about during his life.”

I like Michael Jackson as much as any other red-blooded American who was around during some of his best years. I missed The Jackson Five and the disco days but I’m old enough to remember trying (and failing) to do the moonwalk and the Thriller dance and waiting for the next big, amazing music video to make its world premiere on TV. I can look back at his contributions to music with nostalgic fondness. Do I need to know what happened when doctors cut into him and attempted to uncover the truth behind his death? No. Personally, I’d love to see the obsession with Jackson’s death put to rest for a while. Curiosity about the super-star’s early demise seems normal given how famous he is but specials that explore (or exploit – however you want to look at it) his death in depth aren’t necessarily a good thing, no matter how educational they try to be.

As TMZ points out, the executors know they have no legal grounds to get the special pulled but they’re appealing to Discovery’s moral decency. If you agree, here’s the online petition you can sign to protest the special.

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