A former publicist for Michael Jackson has said he refused to allow Martin Bashir access to the star, adding he felt the journalist had an agenda.
He later went on to work for ITV, with the broadcaster commissioning a now-infamous interview with Jackson in 2003, where the singer admitted he shared his bed with children.
Mark Borkowski, Jackson’s UK publicist at the time, told Sky News that he met Bashir when he was trying to secure access with his client.
“He said ‘look what I did with Diana, it became a great event and she’s very pleased’ and at this point he brought out a letter… it was certainly signed by Diana and I read it and it was a fulsome praise of him and the interview.
“And it was a thank you letter to him and it was pretty dog-eared… that didn’t persuade me and I kept him at arms-length and we had a second meeting and he pushed me into what I was going to say.”
However, Mr Borkowski said his overall opinion was that Jackson should not let Bashir carry out an interview.
“I just felt he was clearly someone who’s working off an agenda to create another cultural moment. Nothing dissuaded me from that.”
He added that the decision to eventually offer Bashir access to Jackson was made by someone else, and claims that the interview changed the course of events for the singer.
On Friday, former head of ITN (which provides news programming to ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) Stewart Purvis told Sky News that despite his previous controversies, Bashir continued to be employed by the likes of the BBC and ITV because of his ability to secure big interviews.
He said: “Broadcasters like people who deliver big stories, big exclusives. Will they look the other way, as Prince William said, about what the BBC bosses did in the case of the interview?
“Sometimes they probably used to do that. Would they do it nowadays? I’m not so sure.”