LOS ANGELES — Organizers of a Michael Jackson tribute concert dropped Kiss from the lineup after receiving widespread criticism for booking the band despite critical comments toward the late pop singer by bassist Gene Simmons.
The announcement Tuesday came a day after Global Live Events announced Kiss would join the show planned for Oct. 8 in Cardiff, Wales. Fans, media and the singer's estate quickly noted that Simmons has said in recent years that he was convinced Jackson molested children. Some of the critical comments came within days of Jackson's June 2009 death.
Jackson was acquitted of molestation charges after a 2005 trial in California.
Some of Simmons' harshest comments came last year in an interview with Classic Rock magazine. "Well, you know, where there's smoke there's fire," Simmons said regarding accusations that Jackson abused young boys. "There's no question in my mind he molested those kids. Not a doubt."
Global Events Live CEO Chris Hunt accepted blame, calling Kiss' booking an "oversight."
"Under the circumstances, we fully agree that even though Kiss is a band Michael admired, we have no choice but to rescind our invitation to them to appear in our tribute concert," Hunt wrote in a statement.
A spokeswoman for the band was not immediately available for comment.
It is the latest stumble for a show that is endorsed by Jackson's mother and several siblings but is opposed by brothers Jermaine and Randy. The brothers have noted that the show is scheduled to happen during the involuntary manslaughter trial of a doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death.
Fans have protested ticket prices _which start at nearly $100 – the lineup and the show's faraway location since "Michael Forever – The Tribute Concert" was announced last month.
Howard Weitzman, an attorney for Jackson's estate, questioned the show in a letter sent to Hunt on Tuesday, questioning whether any of the show's proceeds would be going to charity, as promoters have claimed.
Kiss' departure leaves Smokey Robinson, Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green as the show's superstars.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at . http://twitter.com/celebritydocket