The Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday demanded an apology from Michael Jackson after ABC aired what was said to be a telephone answering-machine message in which the pop star referred to Jews as “leeches.”
The message was supposedly recorded two years ago and has now surfaced in connection with a lawsuit against the pop star.
“Michael Jackson has an anti-Semitic streak and hasn’t learned from his past mistakes,” ADL director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement. “It seems every time he has a problem in his life, he blames it on Jews.”
Jackson infuriated Jewish groups in 1995 when his song “They Don’t Care About Us” included the lyrics “Jew me, sue me, everybody do me, kick me, kike me.” Jackson apologized, saying the lyrics were meant to demonstrate the hatefulness of racism, anti-Semitism and stereotyping. He then changed the lyrics.
On Tuesday, ABC’s “Good Morning America” aired portions of a 2003 voice message that Jackson was alleged to have left for a former adviser, Dieter Wiesner.
A transcript provided by King’s office quotes Jackson as saying: “They suck them like leeches. ... They start out the most popular person in the world, make a lot of money, big house, cars and everything and end up penniless. It’s a conspiracy. The Jews do it on purpose.”
Jackson spokeswoman Raymone K. Bain said Wednesday the singer had no comment. A call to Jackson’s attorney Thomas Mesereau was not immediately returned.
The message was among about a dozen released by attorney Howard King, who represents Wiesner and another former adviser who are locked in business disputes with the pop star and are suing him for millions. King said he released the messages to keep Jackson from appearing sympathetic in court.
Jackson, now living in the Persian Gulf kingdom Bahrain, was acquitted in June of molesting a boy at his Neverland ranch.