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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK
Michael fears return to US
George Michael, George W Bush and Tony Blair in the video
The single will not be released in the US
Singer George Michael said he can no longer return to his home in the US after his controversial video caused upset.

The star, whose Shoot the Dog single and video has been interpreted as being anti-American, fears for his life following the bad press he has received.

Michael has been heavily criticised for the song which has a cartoon video showing UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as a poodle on the White House lawn.


It's been very heavily inferred that I was actually an al-Qaeda sympathiser

George Michael
But the 39-year-old has told the Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme that he puts much of the reaction down to homophobia but said he did not regret making the video.

In particular he singled out the New York Post newspaper which has branded him a "past-his-prime pop pervert".

George Michael
Michael says the video was designed to provoke debate
He said he now fears his life could be in danger if he returns to the house he shares with his long-term lover Kenny Goss.

"Americans are very reactionary right now and I - because of that article - cannot return to America, even though my partner lives there," he said.

"It's been very heavily inferred that I was actually an al-Qaeda sympathiser, that somehow I thought that there was something not horrific and shocking and undeserved about the attacks on 11 September," said Michael.

Misread

He also admitted he has had to take part in a number of interviews to carry out "damage control" since previews of the video were released amid such furore.

Michael insists the video was designed to provoke debate about Tony Blair and was not an attack on George Bush or Americans.

"I did release a statement anticipating a misreading of the video to try and make people understand that I'm not anti-American in any sense," he said.

George Michael and the Queen in his video
The royal family are satirised
He said some sectors were unable to accept his opinions without dragging his homosexuality and conviction for lewd conduct into it.

"I don't think that there's any real connection between what I'm saying and the fact that I'm a gay man. But there's a lot of connection in the press as to those two things.

"For some reason I don't have a right to talk about anything because I got caught four years ago with a police officer in a Los Angeles toilet.

"Somehow that eradicates all possibility that what I'm saying might be for the best or is worthy of being discussed."

He also denied he had made the video in order to get publicity after his last single Freeek! only reached a disappointing number seven in the charts.

"This would be the most stupid publicity stunt anyone ever pulled. I mean look at the publicity, I've got out of it.


Talking PointTALKING POINT
Is pop star George Michael's latest single anti-American?Singled out
Is George Michael's song anti-American?
See also:

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