This Morning hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford have been hit by a barrage of criticism on Twitter after they quizzed Mark Lester over his friendship with Michael Jackson.
The pair welcomed child star Mark – who is best known for the starring role in iconic musical Oliver! – onto the sofa to discuss a controversial Channel 4 documentary on the late popstar.
But talk soon turned to the subject of the sperm donation he gave to Michael, with Eamonn and Ruth probing him about potentially being the father of his children.
“Mark, I want to ask you this,” Eamonn said. “You say that you were a sperm donor for Michael Jackson and you said that ‘I was a sperm donor for Michael. I had four children and he said how do you do it?’.
“What do you mean ‘how do you do it?'”.
He then replied, “I think again, extending his naivety, he knew how to do it. I think he was going on the fact how I was so fertile and what was the secret, and I couldn’t answer that.”
Not holding back, Eamonn then asked, “Do any of Michael’s children have your genetics?”
To which he hit back,”Regardless of who the so-called biological father is or whatever, Michael raised those children as his own.”
“You must wonder?” asked Ruth, with Eamonn adding, “There may be physical similarities between yourself and Paris. If you realised you were the biological father of that girl, is that not weird?”
Mark said, “It was something that was given and discarded and Michael brought those kids up.”
But the matter-of-frank chat didn’t go down well with Twitter users, as one blasted, “Regardless of how we feel about MJ, the way Mark Lester is being grilled about sperm donation is so outdated! I would find anyone asking myself questions like this when we have children so offensive…”
“@thismorning is anyone else find how Eamonn and Ruth are treating Mark a bit rude and judgemental? just getting that vibe….,” said a second.
Another hit out at Ruth for asking if Michael was infertile, as they wrote, “#ThisMorning #MichaelJackson. Ruth: “was he infertile?” – what kind of disrespectful f**king question is that…”
Mark became friends with the legendary musician when he reached out to the actor following his role in Oliver! – and they even spent Christmas together before Michael passed away in 2009.
Michael had three children during his lifetime, sharing Michael Jackson Junior and Paris Jackson with Debbie Rowe and later having Prince Michael Jackson via a surrogate.