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  1. Sony’s Michael Jackson Bet Gets Complicated Michael Jackson had been one of Sony Music Entertainment’s brightest stars before his 2009 death. And the seven-year, $250 million deal it struck with Jackson’s estate in 2018 to continue distributing his recordings was one of the biggest the industry had seen in some time. But now, following the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, Sony’s Jackson bet is looking like a risky play, the WSJ reports. The two-part film (which was the third-largest premiere of any HBO doc in a decade) details the claims of two men alleging Jackson sexually abused them as boys. And in the era of #MeToo and #MuteRKelly, sales, streaming, and commercial use of Jackson’s music could fall... Which means lost business for Sony. Several radio stations in Canada and New Zealand have stopped playing Jackson, and (believe it or not) radio is still a big moneymaker for music companies—Deloitte estimates global radio revenue will climb to $40 billion this year, with more than 85% of adults listening to radio once a week.
  2. In the new HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, both men accuse the late singer of sexual abuse. On Sunday, HBO will debut its two-part documentary Leaving Neverland, featuring interviews with two of Michael Jackson's former child companions. The documentary focuses on James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who filed lawsuits claiming they were sexually abused as boys at the Neverland Ranch. It also follows their families, who speak at length about their entanglement with Jackson, in the aftermath of the scandal. According to Slate, Safechuck and Robson both say in the film that Jackson promised them jewelry in exchange for sexual favors. The men also allege that Jackson, who died in 2009, told them they could go to jail if they spoke out. These accusations weren't new. On two other occasions, Jackson was hit with lawsuits alleging abuse. But in 2005, Jackson was acquitted of criminal molestation charges, which did not involve Robson or Safechuck. Robson testified at the trial, saying he had slept in Jackson’s room many times and nothing happened. Safechuck gave a similar statement to investigators when he was young.
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  3. One of Mercury’s longtime idols was the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. Mercury had admired Jackson all the way back to his Jackson 5 days, and in 1983, barely a year after Jackson’s Thriller had become the biggest album in the world, Mercury got the chance to collaborate with Jackson. They began recording three demos that were, sadly, never completed. Asked in 1987 why things didn’t work out, Mercury evasively blamed the fact that the two stars were never being in the same country long enough and commented that Jackson had “retreated into his own little world.” Another story emerged wherein Jackson had allegedly picked a fight with Mercury after catching him using substances during the recording session. A third explanation, from Queen manager Jim Beach, stated that Jackson brought his pet llama into the studio, which astonished and frustrated Mercury’s attempts to record. Turns out you shouldn’t ever meet your heroes.
  4. Robson was only 5 years old when he met Jackson after being called up on stage at a concert in Brisbane, Australia. The boy was a fan of Jackson and impressed the crowds with his spot-on “Smooth Criminal” dance performance. Jackson invited Robson and his mom up to his hotel room after the concert. Nothing happened that night, but Jackson told the Robsons to get in touch if they ever came to America. In January 1990, when Wade was 7, the Robsons went to the U.S. for the first time to visit Disneyland. Wade’s mom, Janet, found the number for Jackson’s personal assistant, who said Jackson remembered Wade and invited them to his recording studio in Sherman Oaks. Jackson then invited the family to Neverland for the weekend. Wade stayed at the residence with Jackson while the rest of his family left to tour the Grand Canyon. Robson says that’s when the sexual contact began—and it continued for four years. Read more:
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  5. Early tweets I saw were unusually vicious, as in "Welcome to hell, Joe" SOB though he was said to be, though, nobody would have heard of Michael Jackson without him. Raising eight kids in gritty Gary Indiana, where many men walk away; it is not nothing. One wonders whether his son would have been happier had Joe followed another course. It is one of those "which is better off, a live dog or a dead lion?" deals of Bible verse. I wrote something of this long ago:
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  6. The estate of deceased music legend Michael Jackson has filed a lawsuit against ABC and Disney over the special “The Last Days of Michael Jackson.” The suit, filed in federal court in California on Wednesday, alleges copyright infringement. The suit says that the plaintiffs — identified as “various companies that comprise a part of the Estate of Michael Jackson –were “genuinely shocked” when they watched the special on March 24. Also Read: Michael Jackson Estate Calls ABC News Special 'Another Crass and Unauthorized Attempt to Exploit' His Legacy Calling the special “a mediocre look back at Michael JacksonÂ’s life and entertainment career,” the suit accuses Disney of swiping the estateÂ’s intellectual property. “Unable to make a compelling presentation about Michael Jackson on its own, Disney decided to exploit the Jackson EstateÂ’s intellectual property without permission or obtaining a license for its use. After all, there is always a healthy audience for Michael JacksonÂ’s timeless music, his ground-breaking videos, and footage of his unforgettable live performances. Why not just use Michael JacksonÂ’s works if one can get advertisers to buy time on the program? But in order to use these valuable assets, a license must be obtained for it by the Estate,” the suit reads. The suit continues, “Like Disney, the lifeblood of the EstateÂ’s business is its intellectual property. Yet for some reason, Disney decided it could just use the EstateÂ’s most valuable intellectual property for free. Apparently, DisneyÂ’s passion for the copyright laws disappears when it doesnÂ’t involve its own intellectual property and it sees an opportunity to profit off of someone elseÂ’s intellectual property without permission or payment. The extent of DisneyÂ’s use of the EstateÂ’s intellectual property in The Last Days of Michael Jackson is truly astounding.” Among the allegedly infringed-on property: substantial portions of Jackson hits including “Billy Jean,” Beat It” and “DonÂ’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” as well as extensive parts of Jackson music videos including “Thriller” and “Black or White.” According to the suit, JacksonÂ’s estate reached out regarding the Jackson material, and was told by a Disney attorney that the material fell under “fair use” because the program was a documentary, a stance that the suit calls “patently absurd”: “Even setting aside DisneyÂ’s blatant hypocrisy given its notorious history regarding third party uses of its own copyrights, DisneyÂ’s argument here is one that would probably make even the founders of Napster pause.” Prior to the airing of the special, the Estate publicly, calling it “another crass and unauthorized attempt to exploit the life, music and image of Michael Jackson without respect for MichaelÂ’s legacy, intellectual property rights or his children.” The estate also noted that “ABC intends to use music and other intellectual property owned by the Estate such as photos, logos, artwork, and more in the program itself, without having licensed the rights to any such material.” However, a spokesperson for the ABC News denied that the contents of the special infringe on their rights. “ABC NewsÂ’ documentary explores the life, career and legacy of Michael Jackson, who remains of great interest to people worldwide. The program does not infringe on his estateÂ’s rights, but as a courtesy, we removed a specific image from the promotional material.” An ABC News spokesperson reiterated that stance when contacted by TheWrap for comment on WednesdayÂ’s lawsuit. : “We have not yet had an opportunity to review the complaint,” the spokesperson said. “The ABC NewsÂ’ documentary explored the life, career and legacy of Michael Jackson, who remains of great interest to people worldwide, and did not infringe on his estateÂ’s rights.”
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  7. Michael Jackson - Earth Song Lyrics below. What about sunrise What about rain What about all the things that you said We were to gain What about killing fields Is there a time What about all the things That you said were yours and mine Did you ever stop to notice All the blood we've shed before Did you ever stop to notice This crying Earth, these weeping shores Aah, ooh What have we done to the world Look what we've done What about all the peace That you pledge your only son What about flowering fields Is there a time What about all the dreams That you said was yours and mine Did you ever stop to notice All the children dead from war Did you ever stop to notice This crying earth, these weeping shores Aah, ooh Aah, ooh I used to dream I used to glance beyond the stars Now I don't know where we are Although I know we've drifted far Aah, ooh Aah, ooh Aah, ooh Aah, ooh Hey, what about yesterday? (What about us?) What about the seas? (What about us?) The heavens are falling down (What about us?) I can't even breathe (What about us) What about everything (What about us?) I didn't do? (What about us?) What about nature's worth? (Ooh) It's our planet's womb (What about us?) What about animals? (What about it?) Turned kingdoms to dust (What about us?) What about elephants? (What about us?) Have we lost their trust? (What about us?) What about crying whales (What about us?) Ravaging the seas? (What about us?) What about forest trails? (Ooh) Burnt, despite our pleas (What about us?) What about the holy land? (What about it?) Torn apart by creed? (What about us?) What about the common man? (What about us?) Can't we set him free? (What about us?) What about children dying? (What about us?) Can't you hear them cry? (What about us?) Where did we go wrong? (Ooh) Someone tell me why (What about us?) What about baby boy? (What about it?) What about the days? (What about us?) What about all their joy? (What about us?) What about the man? (What about us?) What about the crying man? (What about us?) What about Abraham? (What about us?) What about death again? (Ooh) Do we give a damn?
  8. Authorities seized more than 80 video recordings and computer hard drives, as well as notes, diaries, documents, photographs and audiotapes. Police discovered Michael Jackson had a large collection of pornography, which allegedly included images of children, animal torture and gore, reportedly used in his bid to seduce young boys. The collection was revealed in newly surfaced documents obtained by RadarOnline that detail a raid on Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch estate in 2003, carried out as part of an investigation into child molestation charges against the singer. According to previously unseen reports from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, authorities seized more than 80 video recordings and computer hard drives, as well as notes, diaries, documents, photographs and audiotapes. Former Santa Barbara Senior Assistant District Attorney Ron Zonen, who helped prosecute Jackson’s case, told RadarOnline that many of the materials found were used to “desensitize” children. The police report describes several of the materials found at Jackson’s estate and notes that many of the books and images “can be used as part of a ‘grooming’ process by which people (those seeking to molest children) are able to lower the inhibitions of their intended victims and facilitate the molestation of said victims.” One of the books found in Jackson’s possession was titled, Room to Play, which “contained numerous photographs of children.” According to the report, some of the images contained children’s faces superimposed on adult bodies with their private parts exposed. Authorities also found numerous photos of children located inside a safe in the employee break room of Jackson’s home. Jackson was charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent for the purpose of a committing a felony in 2003 after a young boy came forward claiming the singer molested him. In 2005, a jury acquitted him of all charges after a 14-week trial. Jackson died in 2009 from an overdose of propofol. UPDATE (June 22): The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office released a statement to Billboard explaining that “The documents with a header titled Sheriff’s Department that contain a case number appear to be Sheriff’s Office documents.” The majority of the 88-page report consists of documents with a Sheriff’s Department header and case number, however, the authenticity of the few photographs and images included alongside those documents is harder to assess. “The photos that are interspersed appear to be some evidentiary photos taken by Sheriff’s investigators and others are clearly obtained from the internet,” the Sheriff’s Office said. UPDATE (June 21): On Tuesday evening, The Estate of Michael Jackson released the following statement to the media:
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  9. Nestled into the rolling landscape of the Santa Ynez Valley, with its dramatic mountain ranges, flaxen-colored fields, and century-old live oaks, this irreplaceable estate exudes the ambience of a grand European manor while remaining an inviting, comfortable, livable oasis. Formerly known as Neverland Ranch, the estate consists of approximately 2,700 acres and blends effortlessly with the natural surroundings. The land borders the Los Padres National Forest, providing the property with utmost privacy and serenity as well as an inspiring uninterrupted view. Meticulous landscaping — which includes lush formal gardens with seasonally changed plantings — provides vibrant color for much of the year. The centerpiece of the ranch is a truly impressive 12,000-square-foot main residence, fashioned after the majestic manors that line the coast of Normandy. Tucked between two lakes and standing in the shade of towering trees, it is accessed via a stone bridge and circular motor court paved with indigenous stone. Splendid in its architectural planning, it features a magnificent formal living room; a handsomely proportioned dining room capable of accommodating two tables; a kitchen with distinctive Old World and copper accents as well as commercial-grade appliances; a relaxed, rustic family room with a Bouquet Canyon stone fireplace; a breakfast room with a garden and lake view; a luxurious master wing with two lavish baths and a library or study; upper-level guest suites affording consummate privacy; and a delightful recreation room. The interiors boast extensive use of high ceilings, indigenous stone, warm oak, patterned and exposed brick, dark lacquered beams, elegant marble, Portuguese tile, rough-hewn timber, and floor-to-ceiling and mullioned windows. The vistas — over patio areas and lush formal gardens toward grassy fields and mountains — create a feeling of being embraced by the land. A breezeway connects the main residence to the office, conference, and four-bay garage complex. Stone pathways meander through the spectacular grounds, linking the home with lakes, a meadow, and the outdoor entertaining areas —among them a barbecue and kitchen pavilion, a swimming pool with undulating French grey bottom, and a spa set amid stalwart stone boulders. An inviting guesthouse offers four luxuriously sized and distinctively designed guest suites, and the European-style hunting lodge features a subterranean wine cellar and overlooks the estate’s championship tennis court. A leisurely walk from the main residence is the 50-seat movie theater and dance studio. The property also includes multipurpose barns, a petting zoo, staff housing, an additional two-bedroom guesthouse, an administration building, and a paved helipad. All water needs are sourced through multiple private on-site wells. source

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