Michael Jackson once branded Jews ‘leeches’ and accused them of conspiring against him
The recording, which first went viral in 2005 after it was played on 'Good Morning America,' is making the rounds once again
Michael Jackson has been the center of controversy ever since the release of Dan Reed's 'Leaving Neverland', and might also find himself attracting the ire of the Jewish community after an anti-semitic rant he made in 2005 has resurfaced once again.
According to The Sun, Jackson referred to Jewish people as "leeches" and claimed they were conspiring to take him down in a hate-filled voicemail which he left with one of his former advisers, Dieter Wiesner.
The recording — which was made public by the lawyer of Wiesner and another advisor Marc Schaffel, who also happened to be a former Neverland videographer and would later go on to be engaged to Jackson's second wife Debbie Rowe in 2014 — was first played on ABC's 'Good Morning America' in 2005 a few months after the singer was acquitted of his child molestation charges.
"They [the Jews] suck them like leeches," Jackson said, according to a transcript of the recording. "They start out the most popular person in the world, make a lot of money, big house, cars, and everything and end up penniless. It's a conspiracy. The Jews do it on purpose."
The message prompted a response from the Anti-Defamation League, which fights against prejudice directed at Jewish people. Abraham Foxman, the director of the league, called Jackson an "anti-Semitic streak" who "hasn't learned from his past mistakes" and said, "It seems every time he has a problem in his life, he blames it on Jews."
The past mistakes Foxman was most likely referring to was an anti-Semitic slur Jackson used in his hit 1995 song, 'They Don't Care About Us" which was highlighted by the New York Times just one day before its release. In the original version of the song — which was later altered after the backlash for the lyrics — Jackson sings, "Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/Kick me, k*** me, don't you black or white me."
In response to criticism at the time, Jackson said, "The idea that these lyrics could be deemed objectionable is extremely hurtful to me, and misleading. The song, in fact, is about the pain of prejudice and hate and is a way to draw attention to social and political problems."
"I am the voice of the accused and the attacked. I am the voice of everyone. I am the skinhead, I am the Jew, I am the black man, I am the white man. I am not the one who was attacking. It is about the injustices to young people and how the system can wrongfully accuse them. I am angry and outraged that I could be so misinterpreted."
He then appeared on ABC News program 'Prime Time Live' to once again defend the song, saying, "It's not anti-Semitic because I'm not a racist person... I could never be a racist. I love all races," adding how some of his closest employees and friends were Jewish.
His manager, his record label, and Spike Lee, who directed the song, all came out in his support as well, with the latter pointing out that the album included other racial slurs as well. Eventually, Jackson returned to the studio and replaced the racial slurs with other phrases.