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Michael Jackson Interviews
Barbara: Up until last week the most photographed people in the world were Princess Diana and Michael Jackson. Now only one remains to talk about what it means to live under that kind of scrutiny. Since the allegations of child abuse made against Michael Jackson four years ago, he has been, if possible, even more pursued. By the way, we checked with the district attourney's office in Los Angeles and Sanat Barbara and learned that there is no active case against Mr. Jackson today.
Michael Jackson himself is notoriously shy about giveing interviews, but on my way home from covering Princess Diana's funeral, I met with him in Paris to discuss the paparazzi and his personal recollections of the Princess.
When it comes to the paparazzi, Michael Jackson says he feels a bond with Princess Diana. The paparazzi have been a part of his life since he was a small child, the youngest of the Jackson 5. He has been a superstar for 3 decades. At 39, he continues to sing and dance all over the world and the paparazzi follow him all over the world. He has been on a European Tour for the last five months playing for over 2 million people. The night Princess Diana died, Michael Jackson cancelled his concert, but his last two concerts were dedicated to her. He does not pretend that she was a close friend. She was a fan.
Michael: I met her first at a...um (clearing his throat) ...concert...in London. She was very kind, very loving, very sweet.
Barbara: What did you two talk about?
Michael: I wrote a song called "Dirty Diana". It was not about Lady Diana. It was about a certain kind of girls that hang around concerts or clubs, you know, they call them groupies.
Michael: I've lived with that all my life. These girls...they do everything with the band, you know, everything you could imagine. So I wrote a song called "Dirty Diana". But I took it out of the show in honour of her royal highness. She took me away and she said, "Are you going to do 'Dirty Diana'?" So, I said, "No I took it out of the show because of you." She said, "No! I want you to do it...do it...do the song."
Barbara: So she had a sense of humor with you?
Michael: Yeah, of course. And she told me it was an honour to meet me. And I said, "It's an honour to meet you."
Barbara: How did you hear of her death?
Michael: Um...I woke up (in a quiet and reflective voice) and my doctor gave me the news. And I fell back down in grief, and I started to cry. The pain...I felt inner pain, in my stomach, and in my chest. (his voice starts to break slightly) So, I said, "I can't handle this...it's too much." Just the message and the fact that I knew her personally. Then on top of that one I said, "There's another one...real soon...I feel it coming...there's another one....it's another one coming and I pray it's not me...please don't let it be me." And then Mother Theresa came...
Barbara: Are you psychic...is that what you're saying?
Michael: I don't want to say that, but I've done it before.
Barbara: And you thought it might be you?
Michael: Yes. (looks down at his folded hands) I've been living that kind of life all my life. The tabloid press...that kind of press...not the press...the tabloids, the paparazzi, that type. I've been running for my life like that, hiding, getting away. You can't go that way 'cause they're over there...well lets go this way and pretend we're going that way...and we'll go that way. Someone should say, "Hold on! Stop! This person deserves their privacy. You're not allowed to go in there!" I go around the world dealing with running and hiding. You can't...I can't take a walk in the park...I can't go in the store...you can't...I have to hide in the room. You feel like you're in prison.
Barbara: What's been the most intrusive thing? What's the worst?
Michael: They have always been...they go as far as to hide things in places. They'll slide a machine up under the toilet...Tch, tch, tch, tch...(Michael makes the sound of a camera) and you go, "Oh my God!" They've done that.
Barbara: When you came into this hotel you had to come in, or you felt you had to come in, through the kitchen.
Michael: I've been doing it for years. In many lobbies, I've never seen the front door. Never.
Barbara: Did you ever try to outrace the paparazzi?
Michael: To outrace them?
Michael: They follow you. They chase us on thier scooters, "Vruuum, vrumm."
Barbara: Cutting infront of you?
Michael: Yes. And I have to say to the driver...I say, "Slow down." I jump in and I say, "You're going to kill us." I say, "Slow down." I've done that many times, "You're gonna kill us." So he jumps out of the car and yells at these people.
Barbara: You know, there is an argument that you rely on publicity to sell your albums...for your concerts, that you want it.
Michael: When I approve of something, yes.
Barbara: But you can't always control the press. You can't approve everything. You can't invite them in again and again, and then at a certain point, close them out.
Michael: Yes, you can.
Barbara: Well how do you do that? What's that line?
Michael: By doing that. This is their time for this...and this you should not do. You should not say, "He's an animal...he's a..." You should not say, "He's Jacko." I'm not a 'Jacko'. I'm Jackson.
Barbara: How do you feel when they call you...
Michael: Yeah, Wacko Jacko, where did that come from? Some English tabloid. I have a heart and I have feelings. I feel that when you do that to me. It's not nice. Don't do it. I'm not a "wacko".
Barbara: There are those that would say that you add to the attention.
Michael: No, I don't.
Barbara: Well, the masks...the mysterious behavior.
Michael: There's...no, there's no mysterious behavior. There's a time, when I give a concert...I like to have as many people who would like to come can come and enjoy the show. And there's a time, when you like to be in private...when you put on your pyjammas and go to sleep, cut the light (makes a sound of a light going out) and you lay down, that's your private space. You go to the park. I can't go in the park, so I create my own park at Neverland...my own water space...my movie theatre...my theme park...that's all for me to enjoy.
Barbara: I don't wnat this to sound insulting. I'm just gonna be straight with you. But you are somewhat eccentric to say the least. The way you dress, the way you look, it invites attention. The whole appearance as you grew up was...larger than life...more extreme. Don't you think that draws the paparazzi to you?
Michael: No. (shaking his head) No, maybe I like to live that way...I like to dress that way. I don't want the paparazzi, really. But if they come, be kind, write the right...kind of thing to write.
Barbara: Michael, is it the journalist's role...or the press' role to be kind?
Michael: To be kind?
Barbara: Because the press also has to look into things, be tough. It can't always be kind.
Michael: (laughs) What you saw...what happened to Lady Diana...you tell me. There should be some boundaries, some kind of way. The star needs some space. Some time to relax. He has a heart...he's human.
Barbara: You cancelled the concert you were about to do when you heard of Diana's death.
Barbara: And when you finally did a concert, you dedicated it to her. What did you say?
Michael: In my heart I was saying, "I love you Diana. Shine. And shine on forever, because you are the true Princess of the people." And in words I did not say it, but I said it for three minutes in showing a big picture on the jumbotron screens...Sony, big huge screens...and her picture was there shining...and the crowd went bananas (makes sound effects of the crowd's noises) And I played the song "Smile" and "Gone Too Soon".
Barbara: Give us some of the lyrics, if you can.
Michael: "Shiny and sparkly, and splendedly bright, here one day, gone one night...Gone too soon."
Barbara: You have said, "I grew up in a fishbowl. I will not allow that to happen to my son." Yet, when your son was born, you sold pictures to the National Enquirer and to other European papers, tabloids. Why did you do that?
Michael: Because there was a race. There were some illegal pictures out. Illegally, somebody had taken pictures of a baby...millions of dollars...said, "Here's Michael's son."
Barbara: And it wasn't, as I recall.
Michael: And it wasn't. So, I took pictures of the baby. I said, "They're forcing me to get his pictures." There's helocopters flying above us...flying over my house...flying over the hospital, um, machines and satellites all over. Even the hospital said, "Michael, we've had every kind of celebrity here...but we've never had it like this. This is unbelievable." And so I said, "Here, take it." And I gave the money to charity
Barbara: So, rather than...what you're saying is...what you did was to get them off your back.
Michael: Yeah...and now they want to do it again...and I don't want..maybe I don't want to show him to the world like that. I want him to have some space...where he can go to school. I don't want him to be called "Wacko Jacko" that's not nice. They call the father that. That isn't nice...right?
Barbara: You said you don't want your child to be called "wacko jacko's son". How are you going to prevent it, so they don't do it to him?
Michael: That's the thing...that's the idea. Maybe you should come up with a plan to help me.
Barbara: You're his daddy.
Michael: There you go. They created that. Did they ever think I would have a child one day...that I have a heart? It's hurting my heart. Why pass it on to him?
Barbara: Do you like being a father?
Michael: I love it!!
Barbara: Are you very involved with him?
Michael: (laughs) Yes!
Barbara: Do you want more children?
Michael: Yes. (an embarrassed laugh)
Barbara: You have been in the spotlight since you were a baby yourself.
Barbara: If your son shows any talent - by the way does he show any talent at nine months?
Michael: Well, I'll tell you this much...when he's crying, to keep him from crying, I have to do one thing.
Michael: I have to stand in front of him...and dance.
Michael: Yes. And he stops crying. His tears turn to laughter, and he's happy. (claps his hands) He smiles.
Barbara: And do you do your moonwalk with him?
Michael: Yeah. I do all kind of movements (imitates his dancing) (laughs)
Barbara: And then he stops crying?
Michael: And then he stops crying!
Barbara: You must do a lot of dancing.
Michael: (laughs) I do a lot of dancing, yes.
Barbara: Michael, if this little boy says, "Daddy, I want to go on stage."
Michael: (laughs and slaps his leg)
Barbara: After what you've been through?
Michael: I'd say, "Hold on, now. Hold on. If you do go that way, expect this...expect this...expext that." (counts on his fingers)
Barbara: You'd lay it all out?
Michael: I'd lay it all out. I'd say, "See you're gonna get all this, (points to one of the cameras) and all this (points to another camera) and all this (points to a third camera) You ready to do that?" "Yeah, I can't wait." Then I would say, "Go...and do it better than I did."
Barbara: But know what you're in for...
Michael: Know what you're in for.
Barbara: Our interview was over. We had told no one it was happening, nor had the Paris hotel. But when Jackson tried to sneak out through a back door, there was a huge crowd...already waiting.
Hugh Downs: Babara, we know now that Diana did not have adequate protection on that last day. What kind of protection did Michael Jackson have?
Barbara: Well, we saw at least four bodyguards...and he needed them. And by the way, I talked with a female superstar and she told me that when she goes out she has four bodygaurds, at least...and a car infront of her, and a car behind.
Hugh: That's what they really need isn't it?
Barbara: Unfortunately, it is.
Hugh: Now you told me that he told you why he wears only one glove.
Hugh: What's behind that?
Barbara: Well, he has a sense of humour, as I think you could see. He said, "Why one glove? Cooler than two!"
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