Legendary pop star Michael Jackson would have turned 54 years old today, had he not died from a propofol overdose in 2009.
Even in death, he is still the reigning King of Pop and continues to be celebrated for his "genius," as his body of work was truly impressive and laid the groundwork for a number of artists who followed him.
But as genius as Jackson might have been, he was as equally known for his music as he was for his eccentricities and the scandals that essentially forced him into seclusion. As his legacy lives on, there are still a few things we wish we could forget.
Dangling 'Blanket' Over A Balcony
In November 2002, Michael Jackson made the questionable decision to briefly dangle his youngest son, Blanket (a.k.a. Prince Michael II), over the balcony of a Berlin hotel. The incident was caught on camera and caused a huge uproar from critics who said he "plays with the baby's life" and "the Berlin police should arrest this negligent father for reckless endangerment of his own child." Jackson later <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1458799/michael-jackson-apologizes-baby-incident.jhtml" target="_hplink">issued a statement calling the incident</a> a "terrible mistake." "I offer no excuses for what happened," the statement read. "I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children," he said.
1993 & 2003 Child Molestation Allegations
In 1993, Michael Jackson was accused of sexually molesting 13-year-old Jordan Chandler, and the boy's father, Evan Chandler, demanded payment, but Jackson refused. Later the family went to the police and the singer's home was raided. He was subjected to a strip search, because the boy had given police a description of Jackson's penis, claiming it was bleach-damaged and circumcised. The strip search revealed that Jackson was uncircumcised. No charges were filed, but Jackson's <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2004-06-16/justice/michael.jackson_1_accuser-jackson-s-neverland-jackson-settlement?_s=PM:LAW" target="_hplink">insurance carrier settled out of court with the family's $25 million</a>. Then in May 2002, a documentary that followed Jackson in his daily life showed the singer holding hands with a young boy and <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-158342/Why-I-sleep-little-boys-Michael-Jackson.html" target="_hplink">admitting that that they had sleepovers in the same bed</a>. When the documentary aired, the Santa Barbara County attorney's office began a criminal investigation. Jackson was <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,103659,00.html" target="_hplink">arrested in November 2003, and was charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent</a> in relation to the 13-year-old boy shown in the film. Jackson denied the allegations and ultimately was<a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2005-06-13/justice/jackson.trial_1_verdicts-court-judge-rodney-melville-child-molestation?_s=PM:LAW" target="_hplink"> acquitted on all counts </a>after a highly publicized trial.
Patented Anti-Gravity Boots
In the video for Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" he performed a dance move where it appeared that he defied gravity, by leaning forward past 45 degrees, while keeping his feet planted on the ground. This was done with wires, but when he had to perform the move onstage, he used a special set of boots -- <a href="http://www.google.com/patents?id=MAUgAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4#v=onepage&q&f=false" target="_hplink">which he patented</a> -- with metal fasteners which, when clipped into metal fittings onstage, would keep the boot attached to the ground. We're all for remembering the moonwalk but this was just unnecessary.
Bubbles the Chimpanzee
Bubbles was a 3-year-old chimpanzee who went everywhere with Jackson, and was often dressed up in the same outfit as Jackson. This was just part of MJ's many "eccentricities," but really it was just weird and we'd prefer to forget about it.
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker Video game
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker was several video games based on the film of the same name, created by Sega in 1989 and 1990. The games were co-developed by Jackson and the goal is to help the avatar of the singer on his quest to save kidnapped children from the hands of the evil "Mr. Big," using music and dance-related abilities. Let's agree to forget this ever happened.
As strange as Jackson was at times, he also had some crazy fans. So crazy, they were moved to commit suicide after the singer's death in 2009. <a href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2508569/Michael-Jacksons-fans-commit-suicide.html#ixzz24sUWNnxO" target="_hplink">The <em>Sun</em> reported </a>that following the singer's death, up to 12 devastated fans committed suicide. According to Gary Taylor, who runs a large Jackson fan site, an MJ lookalike in Russia slit his wrists after learning the news. "I know there has been an increase, I now believe the figure is 12. I believe there may have been one Briton who has taken their life," he told the U.K. paper. <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/michael-jackson/5649814/Michael-Jackson-100-facts-about-the-king-of-pop.html" target="_hplink">It has also been reported</a> that a French fan killed himself in 1984 because he was unable to have plastic surgery to look like the singer.
We'd love to forget MJ's signature white glove because, come on, it's just silly.
Alien Ant Farm Covers 'Smooth Criminal'
We'd really like to forget that Alien Ant Farm released this awful cover of Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" in 2001.
In addition to the more horrible allegations about the singer, there were plenty of rumors that fueled his reputation as "Wacko Jacko." Why don't we agree to <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20097115,00.html" target="_hplink">forget urban myths</a> that he offered $1 million for the Elephant Man's bones, and took female hormones to keep his voice high and facial hair wispy. That he had his eyes, lips and nose surgically altered and his skin chemically bleached, and took to sleeping in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in hopes of living to be 150 years old. It was also <a href="http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2009/08/macaulay-culkin-biological-father-of-prince-michael-jackson-blanket-son/" target="_hplink">briefly rumored</a> that Jackson's good friend, former child actor Macaulay Culkin, was the biological father of Jackson's youngest son, Blanket.
Beatles Songs For Commercial Use
We'd like to forget that Jackson <a href="http://www.snopes.com/music/artists/jackson.asp" target="_hplink">bought the publishing rights to most of the Beatles' songs</a> and allowed them to be used in commercials. In 1984, Jackson bought 4,000 songs for $47.5 million -- even outbidding Paul McCartney, who wanted to buy back the rights to the songs, which had been assigned to Northern Songs in 1963. McCartney was furious with Jackson and the two had a bitter fallout. It was rumored that Jackson tried to make things right by leaving the publishing rights to the Beatles' songs to McCartney in his will; however, <a href="http://news-briefs.ew.com/2009/07/08/paul-mccartney-michael-jackson-rights/" target="_hplink">McCartney denied the reports on his website</a>: <blockquote>Some time ago, the media came up with the idea that Michael Jackson was going to leave his share in the Beatles songs to me in his will which was completely made up and something I didn't believe for a second. Now the report is that I am devastated to find that he didn't leave the songs to me. This is completely untrue. I had not thought for one minute that the original report was true and therefore, the report that I'm devastated is also totally false, so don't believe everything you read folks! In fact, though Michael and I drifted apart over the years, we never really fell out, and I have fond memories of our time together. At times like this, the press do tend to make things up, so occasionally, I feel the need to put the record straight. Paul</blockquote>
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