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Saturday, 5 December, 1998, 23:26 GMT
Michael tells all about 'stupid moment'
george michael
George Michael: "I fell for the trick. It was very well done"
Pop star George Michael has admitted to the BBC he suffered a great loss of dignity because of his "stupid moment" in a Los Angeles park earlier this year.

But in his first British TV interview since he was charged with lewd conduct in April, he told Michael Parkinson he thought he had managed to hang on to his popularity.

He said he was grateful for the public support he received since the incident.

"I've had a really tough decade. I've lost a partner, I've lost my mother, I've lost my dignity. The one thing I hold onto is my relationship with the public," he said.

george michael
Admits loss of dignity
Michael told Parkinson the deaths of his first live-in partner, Anselmo Feleppa, and his mother had helped him deal with what happened in Los Angeles and put it in perspective.

"Within a day and a half I saw the funny side of it," he said.

He admitted he had been drinking before the incident but said he suspected he was set up in the Will Rogers Memorial Park.

Michael, who is one of the richest men in the music business, said: "I think it's fairly likely there was a little more collaboration between the paparazzi and police than is necessary or legal.

"There was no-one in the vicinity, but two undercover cops and a slightly randy pop star. I was not subjecting the public to full-frontal nudity.

will rogers park
Scene of Michael's "stupid moment"
"Ultimately, you don't see it as a massive risk if there is no-one else around, and if there's someone waving their genitals around in front of you, you don't think they're an officer of law. I fell for the trick. It was very well done."

He denied he had actually wanted to be arrested so he could come out of the closet.

"Believe me, I'd rather have run up and down Oxford Street saying 'I'm gay, I'm gay', than have it happen the way it did."

He was given 80 hours community service, fined $800, and put on probation for two years after being found guilty of lewd conduct.

But his new video pokes fun at the incident - and he admitted he took the chance to "have a go" at the policemen who arrested him by naming one of the fictional policemen in the video after the real arresting officer.

Michael agreed with the Parkinson production team no subject would be off-limits for the interview, which was taped on Thursday and shown during prime time on BBC One on Saturday.

The interview heralded the start of a new series of Parkinson in January, which includes an interview with former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

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