NEW YORK – "Entertainment Tonight" says it won't air a video it has acquired that shows the late Heath Ledger at a Hollywood party where drugs were apparently being taken.
The syndicated magazine's sister show, "The Insider," aired a preview of the tape Wednesday that showed an unidentified man who appears to be snorting cocaine. The program said Ledger isn't seen doing drugs in the video.
"Out of respect for Heath Ledger's family, 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'The Insider' have decided not to run the Heath Ledger video that has been circulating in the world media," said a posting on the Web sites Thursday.
"The Insider" preview showed Ledger in the doorway of a room in the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles after the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 29, 2006, where a party was taking place.
The video shows a man, his face blurred, seeming to snort cocaine from a table. It also shows Ledger rolling cigarette paper, taking a slug from a beer and confessing to strangers that he was a pot smoker for most of his life.
"I shouldn't be here at all," he says, adding: "I used to smoke five joints a day for 20 years."
Ledger also worries in the video that Michelle Williams, his former fiancée, will be angry at him.
"I'm going to get serious s--t from my girlfriend," Ledger says in the tape. "We just had a baby three months ago."
Williams and baby daughter Matilda were reportedly upstairs in their bungalow while he partied.
"The Insider" also quotes Drew Pinsky, star of VH1's "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew," saying he had seen the video and it was "heartbreaking."
"Entertainment Tonight" paid $200,000 for the tape, according to reports.
A statement spread through Hollywood by Ledger's public relations firm called the video "shameful exploitation of the lowest kind."
It said that "Entertainment Tonight" purchased the video for "a large sum of money in the hopes of stirring up a salacious and exploitive story about Heath."
The PR firm, ID PR, also represents Ledger's "Brokeback Mountain" co-star Jake Gyllenhaal and stars like Robin Williams and Natalie Portman.
The video was also obtained by Australia's Channel 9, which reportedly plans to air it Thursday night despite uproar from the Hollywood community.
Reports Say Heath Used Cocaine and Heroin
Ledger's use of cocaine and heroin finally forced Williams to boot him out of their Brooklyn home, The New York Post reported Thursday.
"She couldn't take it anymore. Heath wouldn't show up for two to three days, and all of a sudden he would show up on her doorstep, an absolute wreck," a member of Ledger's entourage who allegedly did drugs with him told the Post's Lorena Mongelli.
"He was partying, doing drugs. She didn't like the company he was keeping. She gave him an ultimatum ... and threatened to get custody of the girl. He wanted to make it work, but it was this scene he was wrapped up in. Was he an addict? Yeah."
Heath's alleged drug pal also told the Post that the 28-year-old star's growing fame had him constantly exposed to drugs. As the pressures of work grew, he couldn't say no, and then wouldn't get help, according to the paper.
"He was hanging out with a bad crowd," said the friend. "He wasn't cleaning up his act. He was making absolutely no effort ... He was really into heroin. He wasn't sleeping or communicating with anyone.
"At the end of the day this is really tragic," the source told the Post. "He was a nice guy. I first met him in 2002. He was scared about the whole Hollywood thing ... I don't think he realized how crazy it was going to be. So many people wanted a piece of him."
But, the pal added, things got really bad when heroin entered the picture.
"Once you go down that road, then it gets really scary. Because all of sudden you shoot up, you take heroin, then you do a line of cocaine and then you take sleeping pills. Look at River Phoenix, he died exactly the same way."
Us Weekly reported Wednesday that Ledger's abuse of heroin, cocaine and pills forced Williams to drive him to rehab in 2006, but he didn't want to go.
Before the couple split in September 2007, two sources told Us that Williams demanded Ledger be drug-tested before his visitations with Matilda.
Ledger died in his Manhattan apartment Jan. 22. The cause of his death is not yet known.
Authorities suspect a possible drug overdose, but nothing conclusive has been determined. Several prescription drugs were discovered in the Manhattan apartment where the "Brokeback Mountain" actor's body was found.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.