A New York congressman who is considering a Senate run posted a YouTube video calling Michael Jackson a “pervert” and questioning the exhaustive media coverage of the pop star’s death.
Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican, said in the video posted Sunday that society is glorifying a “low-life” while hardworking teachers, police officers, firefighters and veterans don’t get the credit they deserve.
“This guy was a pervert,” King said in the video, shot Sunday by a staff member outside an American Legion hall. “He was a child molester. He was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country?”
A jury acquitted Jackson in 2005 of charges that he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor.
But in a telephone interview Monday, King said that Jackson had “admitted to sleeping with young boys, traveling with young boys. ... That’s the definition of pedophilia.”
In a 2003 documentary, Jackson admitted to letting children sleep with him in his bed at his California home but said it wasn’t sexual.
The congressman called the coverage of Jackson’s death too politically correct.
He said Jackson may have been a good singer and dancer but added: “The bottom line is, would you let your child or grandchild be in the same room with Michael Jackson?”
Ken Sunshine, a spokesman for Jackson’s family, declined to respond to King’s criticism. “We will not dignify this or any other statement with a comment,” he said.
Coverage of the 50-year-old superstar’s death and related matters such as the custody of his three children has dominated headlines and airwaves since Jackson died June 25.
King said he decided to post his video critique after speaking with constituents over the Fourth of July weekend.
“A number of them were mentioning to me, ‘When’s this stuff with Michael Jackson going to end?”’ King said. “It’s just too much.”
King is considering seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, which is up in 2010.
He said he has posted other Internet videos on issues such as cap-and-trade legislation to control pollution, but those videos did not receive as much attention as the Michael Jackson comments have.