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Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK


George Michael offers tabloid deal

The singer has donated £500,000 to help Kosovar refugees

Pop star George Michael has offered to speak to the UK's tabloid newspapers about any subject - in return for "compassionate" coverage of a charity concert for refugees.

George Michael: "I'll talk about anything, aslong as it is used in context"
The singer's announcement came at a press conference for the fundraising show NetAid, at which he is to perform on 9 October.

The concert, raising cash for refugees in Kosovo and Sudan, includes simultaneous events at London's Wembley Stadium, New York and Geneva.

It will also be promoting a permanent web site dedicated to tackling world poverty.

Michael told a press conference to promote the shows that he would not be commenting the £6.25m writ served against him earlier this week on behalf of Los Angeles policeman Marcello Rodriguez.

He added that in return for compassionate coverage of NetAid he would be willing to speak to tabloid editors on any issue.

'Minor irritations'

Mr Rodriguez arrested Michael in a public toilet in April last year, which led to the star's conviction for lewd conduct.

Listen to the news conference to highlight the reasons behind NetAid
Mr Rodriguez claimed he was "mocked" by a spoof video for the singer's single Outside, and has suffered mental and physical anguish because of the ordeal.

Michael said: "I know a lot of people would have loved to hear me talking about this week's George Michael news, but I'm afraid that's not going to happen," the star told reporters at London's Landmark Hotel.

"The needs and problems of these people we are here to talk about today are so massive compared to my minor irritations that it wouldn't be very appropriate to address that today."

'Desperate need'

Michael said he agreed to perform at the concert as he wants the UK public to realise that the people of Kosovo "still desperately need our help".

He said many people had returned to the country with no homes or jobs to see them through the coming harsh winter.

"Even though the media has lost interest in Kosovo, in general they're still having a desperately hard time.

"It's all very well crying but if you don't put your hand in your pocket, it's just part of your evening's entertainment. You might as well just watch EastEnders."

The 36-year-old star revealed that he had personally donated £500,000 to help Kosovo refugees.

The Wembley concert will raise money for refugees in both Kosovo and the Sudan.

Michael said he would be singing his hits Spinning The Wheel, Fastlove, Freedom 90 and Father Figure.

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