The already troubled Forever Michael Tribute Concert scheduled for this Saturday now faces a new issue: The Black Eyed Peas announced they would no longer be performing on Wednesday.
The group explained their decision was based off of “unavoidable circumstances,” and that’s about it.
Artists including Christina Aguilera, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Leona Lewis and Cee Lo Green, however, will still perform on Saturday.
Though the concert is set as a fundraiser for the AIDS Project Los Angeles and Prince’s Trust, protests of the upcoming event have been going on since its date was announced. The concert is taking place at the same time as the ongoing trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician accused of the legendary singer’s death.
Singer Janet Jackson does not plan to attend the concert at all. "Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me," Janet said in a statement released to the Associated Press in August.
Brothers of the King of Pop, Jermaine and Randy, had already been heavily criticizing the concert.
"We find it impossible to support an event that is due to take place during the criminal trial surrounding Michael’s death,” they said in a statement. “We feel it is inappropriate to be involved with such an ill-timed event.”
And while Janet, Randy, and Jermaine appear to be so against the timing of the tribute concert, family matriarch Mother Katherine Jackson supports efforts for Forever Michael. Other family members, including newly added performer La Toya Jackson agree with her decision.
“In speaking with my mother yesterday, I asked her where she thinks Michael would rather have us be–in this courtroom filled with negativity and lies, or on a stage celebrating his music, his legacy and his life,” La Toya said.
Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson and Marlon Jackson all plan to attend the event alongside their mother and other relatives.
Still, a lot of fans agree with the family members who are against the tribute. A group of fan clubs from across the world sent a letter to event organizers of the concert, Global Live Events, asking them to cancel it altogether.
According Reuters, fans started off the letter stating, "From the timing of this tribute, in the middle of Dr. Murray’s trial, to the ticketing prices, to the obscurity over what charities will be receiving the donation, to the no-guarantee policy of performers, the addition of Gene Simmons and dishonouring, thus tarnishing Michael Jackson’s legacy was simply the last straw.”
With all the controversy surrounding the concert, there are reports that ticket sales are low.
CBC News reported that Chris Hunt, chief executive of Global Live Events, has declined to say how many tickets have been sold.
Milyoni and Ridgeline Entertainment are providing live streaming of the concert on Facebook via Pay-Per-View for $3.99.