Janet Loses Spot in Lena Horne Special

Janet Jackson receives yet another blow for her Super Bowlbreast fiasco, this time resigning from an ABC television biopic ofsinger Lena Horne, who refused to cooperate with the project aslong as Jackson played the lead role.

According to Billboard magazine, Jacksonwalked away from her role in the film on Feb. 24 after Horne anddaughter Gail Lumet Buckley pressured ABC to drop her from theproject. Horne refused to return her contract for the film untilJackson was removed from the cast. In a form of support, executiveproducers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan- producers of thecontroversial The Reagans- departed along with Jackson.

“Janet is no longer part of the[project] because Lena Horne didn’t want her in it,”Jackson’s spokesperson Stephen Huvane told Billboard.”ABC and the producers were supporting Janet, and Janetrealized this wasn’t going to change, so she needed to bowout, and then the producers bowed out with her.”

It has been widely reported that Horne, 86,was deeply offended by Jackson’s performance with pop starJustin Timberlake at the Feb. 1 Super Bowl half-time show, whichended with Timberlake ripping off Jackson’s costume top toreveal her naked breast. Although Jackson, 37, has repeatedlyapologized for the stunt, which she admits was planned, therepercussions continue to rise.

The infamous half-time show has created adomino effect of troubles for Jackson’s career, while herperformance partner in crime, Justin Timberlake, remains relativelyunscathed. Jackson was banned from the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards show,after refusing to issue CBS and on-air apology. Timberlake, whoagreed to an on-air apology, appeared on the broadcast. Timberlakerecently walked away from hosting the upcoming ABC televisedspecial, Motown 45. The difference is that Timberlake’sdecision to step down is being written off as the result of ascheduling conflict, rather than a question of character.

Jackson had been slated to do the film,tentatively titled “Lena Horne,” since Sept. 2003. Therole was intended to help revamp Jackson’s acting career,which includes credits on the television series “GoodTimes,” “Different Strokes,” and”Fame,” and the films “Poetic Justice,” and”The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.” Jackson wasexpected to record and sing all of Horn’s songs herself forthe movie.

Horne helped break Hollywood’s racialbarriers in the 1940s by becoming the first Black to sign along-term contract with a major Hollywood studio in 1942. The bluessinger and actress was most famous for her rendition of the song”Stormy Weather.”

ABC has yet to release a comment onJackson’s departure or the future of the film.