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Tuesday, April 13, 1999 Published at 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK


Jackson rejects abuse allegations

Michael Jackson: Dedicating his new single to Kosovan refugees

Michael Jackson has rejected claims he has abused children, blaming what he called "wicked lies and rumours".

Speaking in his first British newspaper interview for 20 years, the reclusive singer said he would rather die than hurt children.

And he told The Mirror he would dedicate his new single What More Can I Give? to the children of Kosovo.

"I'd slit my wrists rather than hurt a child. I could never do that. No-one will ever know how much these wicked rumours have hurt me," he said.

He added: "If it wasn't for the children, I'd throw in the towel and kill myself.

"They inspire me in all I do, every song I write, every dance I perform. People try and use that against me and it's so unfair. I get very upset by it. It breaks my heart."

In 1994 he reached an out-of-court settlement in a sexual molestation lawsuit arising from his friendship with a 13-year-old boy. No criminal charges were brought and Jackson denies the allegations.

Visiting al-Fayed

[ image: Friends: Jackson and Mr al-Fayed at Harrods]
Friends: Jackson and Mr al-Fayed at Harrods
Jackson is in the UK visiting Harrods owner Mohammed al-Fayed - the father of Dodi Fayed, who was killed with Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.

Jackson was a great admirer of the Princess, and projected her picture on stage at a concert two nights after her death.

Jackson told the paper's editor Piers Morgan he wanted the proceeds from What More Can I Give? to go towards helping refugees forced out of Kosovo, adding: "I want to do what we did with the people in Africa, get all the celebrities together and sing for those poor families.

"I'd like to do this in Britain and get the biggest British stars to join me. I want these people to know I love them, that we all love them.

"They are my family, my children. They desperately need our money now to help them."

Wants to 'hug' refugees

[ image: Jackson projected Princess Diana's image on stage at a concert in Belgium]
Jackson projected Princess Diana's image on stage at a concert in Belgium
Jackson said he wanted to go to Yugoslavia and "hug every one of those children and tell them I love them".

He spoke to the paper sitting next to Mr al-Fayed, whom The Mirror is backing in his campaign to be granted British citizenship.

On Monday Jackson gave an impromptu interview to London radio station Liberty, a huge publicity coup for the station owned by Mr al-Fayed. It has had a troubled history, and despite the tycoon's backing, it has a listenership of just 156,000 for its diet of 70s music and gossip.

Saturday saw Jackson appear at Harrods in the morning, before he visited Fulham, the west London football club owned by Mr al-Fayed. He stayed to watch the Division Two side beat Wigan 2-0. Once in the doldrums, the side is now managed by temporary England boss Kevin Keegan and is almost certain to achieve promotion this season.

Jackson told the paper he had been friends with Mr al-Fayed for more than 20 years. In November 1998 he reached a settlement with The Mirror over a 1992 story suggesting his face had been disfigured by plastic surgery.

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Michael Jackson - Mohammed al-Fayed's official site

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