July 12, 2002 02:30pm
Gay Porn Connection Taints Michael Jackson's Song for Sony
Source: E! Online
by: Mark Armstrong
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Jackson's never-released September 11 charity single, "What More Can I Give?", was halted by the Gloved One's own advisers after they found out the song's producer had ties to the gay pornography industry.
The revelation appears to contradict Jackson's claims earlier this week that Sony blocked the release of the song as part of its alleged "conspiracy" against him. The song, featuring artists such as Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin and Justin Timberlake, was performed just once, at the post-9-11 benefit concert in Washington, D.C., last November.
Last weekend, the erstwhile King of Pop marched through the streets of Harlem, flanked by the Reverend AL Sharpton and lawyer Johnnie Cochran as they protested the music industry's treatment of artists--most notably, Sony's treatment of him. The threesome have formed a coalition aimed at investigating whether the industry is cheating artists out of profits.
But according to internal documents obtained by the Times, the "What More Can I Give?" debacle can't be blamed on Sony. Jackson's advisers purportedly asked the music giant not to release the single after they found out the popster had hired F. Marc Schaffel as the executive producer, and that Jackson also gave Schaffel the rights to the song.
Of course, Schaffel's resume also includes producing and directing "dozens" of gay porn videos.
"It's no secret that my background is in the adult film business," Schaffel told the Times. "I don't keep anything in my life hidden. I'm Michael's friend...I think this was just a smokescreen sent to shut this single down because of a bigger fight going on. It's a shame because, in the end, so many people could've been helped."
Not helping matters was another decision by McDonald's to nix a multimillion-dollar deal to sell the single in its restaurants.
Sources told the Times that the fast-food giant backed out because it was reticent to team up with Jackson following his child molestation case in 1993, which Jackson later settled out of court for $20 million. But McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa Howard says "timing, distribution and cost" were the reasons for their decision not to sell the song.
"We did have discussions late last year with Jackson's management about the song," she says. "However, there was never an agreement and both parties walked away. We looked at this from a strict business perspective and decided to take a pass due to timing, distribution and cost issues."
Jackson and Sony did not immediately return calls for comment on the report. Jackson's camp confirmed to the Times only that they severed ties with Schaffel once they found out about his background.
The developments certainly don't help Jackson in his nasty battle with Sony and its chairman, Tommy Mottola, whom he has blamed for the lackluster sales of his latest album, Invincible. The disc sold just 2 million copies and dropped out of the top 200 by May.
"The record companies really do conspire against the artists, especially the black artists," Jackson told protesters last Saturday. He also singled out Mottola, saying he is "mean, he's a racist and he's very, very devilish," before holding up a doctored photo of the Sony bigwig with devil horns and the caption, "Go back to hell, Mottola."
Sony called Jackson's diatribe "ludicrous, spiteful and hurtful," especially considering that the record label spent a whopping $25 million to promote Jackson's last album.
Meanwhile, the tabloids are working overtime with reports that Jackson alleges he was "threatened" by Mottola, not to mention claims that Jackson is simply acting out because he's in deep financial trouble.