News Article

Got to Be There

Jacko hits back with his own video. He says he has footage that proves interviewer Martin Bashir didn't play fair

Michael Jackson is following up his complaints over last week's TV documentary about him with what he says is proof that interviewer Martin Bashir betrayed his trust. Jackson, who filed complaints with the British TV watchdog organizations that monitor programming in England, says he has a videotape, which he'll release on Monday, that backs his claim.

Bashir's ''Living With Michael Jackson'' documentary, which drew top ratings in both the U.K. and the U.S. (27.1 million Americans watched it, Nielsen reported, giving ABC a rare Thursday-night victory), included voiceover comments by Bashir expressing concern over Jackson's parenting skills and his continued practice of sharing his bed with other people's children. But Bashir expressed only praise for Jackson's behavior with children during the eight months of filming, according to a statement released by Jackson's camp on Sunday. Jackson's reps say he had his own cameraman filming Bashir (with his knowledge), and have compiled five minutes of that footage into the videotape to be released Monday.

''The film shows extraordinary scenes of Martin Bashir praising the way Michael treats children and commenting on how good a father he is,'' the statement said. ''The Jackson footage clearly shows that Bashir was actually continuing to praise Michael's abilities as a father and [shows] Bashir making statements about how he feels it is a pity that the world is so quick to criticize Michael. On the face of it, either Martin Bashir was lying to Michael or was misleading his audience on the voiceovers on the film.''

Granada, the production company behind ''Living With Michael Jackson,'' issued a statement last week in response to Jackson's earlier complaints, saying it stood by the film.

Originally posted Feb 10, 2003