Entertainment Tonight and The Insider have decided not to air footage of Heath Ledger at a drug party "out of respect for his family." The footage of Heath Ledger's drug binge in 2006 at the Chateu Marmont hotel was supposed to air on ET and the Insider.
UPDATE : Watch Heath Ledger 'Drug Video' - A Current Affair (ACA) 31/1/08
Pagesix.com claims the programs reportedly purchased the tape for $200,000 dollars. A preview of the tape was shown on the East Coast but did not air during the West Coast broadcast after industry pressures were applied by the ID publicity firm who represents A-list actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Ellen Page and Ben Stiller.
The footage, which was taken through a window into a hotel room, showed Ledger talking and shows at least one guest sniffing a "cocaine-like" substance off a drug-filled table with a rolled up bill in his hand. At one stage, Ledger's face is noticeably twitching as he speaks. WATCH THE ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT PREVIEW BELOW.
Heath Ledger At A Hollywood Drug Party
"I'm going to get some serious shit from my girlfriend," Ledger is heard saying.
Asked by someone why, he says: "We had a baby three months ago."
He goes on to tell the person his daughter's name. Heath states it's "Matilda, Matilda Rose" and then says: "I shouldn't be here at all".
During another point in the video, Ledger talked about his life long marijuana habit.
"I used to smoke five joints a day for 20 years," he said, in a slurred voice.
Entertainment Tonight said the "disturbing" video would make headlines around the world.
But in a statement on its website, ET said it was pulling the story.
"Out of respect for Heath Ledger's family, Entertainment Tonight and The Insider have decided not to run the Heath Ledger video which has been circulating in the world media," the statement said.
US Weekly Magazine reports about Heath Ledger's relationship with his girlfriend Michelle Williams and his battle to stay sober.
Heath Ledger’s battle with alcohol and drugs was so harmful to his relationship with Michelle Williams that she tried to get him to enter rehab, reports in its latest issue, on newsstands now. For three years, Williams was a firsthand witness to the gifted actor’s use of alcohol and drugs, including cocaine, heroin and "a variety of pills," says a Ledger confidant. In March 2006 - just weeks after the couple walked the Oscars red carpet and when daughter Matilda was only five months old - Williams drove Ledger to Promises Treatment Center in Malibu, California, the confidant tells Us Weekly. Ledger refused to check in, instead swaying her with a pledge to clean up. Even after the couple realized "they were in way over their heads," according to a source, and split in September 2007, two sources tell Us that Williams demanded Ledger be drug-tested before his visitations with Matilda.
People Magazine and OK! Magazine are publishing similiar stories about the actor's alleged drug use.
Pagesix.com also cites a NY Post story that Michelle Williams kicked boyfriend Heath Ledger out of their Brooklyn home because of his drug problem.
"Much of the tabloid reporting is inaccurate," Mara Buxbaum tells CelebTV.com. "This fabricated story of Michelle Williams attempting to bring Heath Ledger to rehab is just one lie among many. The speculation is heinous. Let this family grieve privately."
Entertainment Weekly Reports IDPR, which has represented Ledger, contends that ET "purchased [the two-year old video] for a large sum of money in the hopes of stirring up a salacious and exploitive story about Heath, which would win them big ratings on the first day of sweeps." Reps for ET had no further comment.
Heath’s publicist sent the following letter chastising ET/The Insider to several of the affiliates television competitors:
”Tonight Entertainment Tonight/The Insider are previewing an extremely distasteful segment regarding Heath Ledger. The segment centers around a two-year old video ET purchased for a large sum of money in the hopes of stirring up a salacious and exploitive story about Heath, which would win them big ratings on the first day of sweeps. The two outlets did not even have the courtesy to wait until after Heath’s burial to broadcast this segment. They intend to air the full segment tomorrow.
For the sake of his grieving family and friends, his child, and common decency, we hope to pressure “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider” to do the right thing and pull the spot. This is not journalism, it is sensationalism. It is a shameful exploitation of the lowest kind, to a talented and gentle soul, undeserving of such treatment.” (source)
When contacted by EW.com before ET announced it would not air the video, ID partner Mara Buxbaum explained via e-mail that "those who knew Heath know he was a kind-hearted, immensely talented artist, and a devoted father. He tried to live his life quietly and with humility. Certain media outlets' attempts to exploit and profit from his death is shameful and in the poorest of taste. We implore the media and the public to let this grieving family bury their son in private and with dignity."
In its statement, ID included the e-mail addresses and office numbers of ET
executive producer Linda Bell Blue and Paramount executive Brad Bessey
in an effort to "pressure" the shows to pull the planned segment. (source)