”I have rhinoceros skin, but at the same time I’m human,” says Michael Jackson. No, he’s not talking about rhinoplasty, but about how hurtful he found the child molestation charges against him that came to trial this week. Talking to Geraldo Rivera for the Fox News Channel correspondent’s show At Large, which will air the interview on Saturday night, Jackson likened press coverage of his travails to ”watching science fiction. It’s not true.” While prohibited by a court-imposed gag order from talking about the trial in detail, he proclaimed his innocence and said he would be vindicated, but he also had harsh words for his critics, particularly ”Mr. Eminem.”
In the interview, taped two weeks ago, Jackson said he believed he was targeted because of his celebrity. ”The bigger the star, the bigger the target,” he said. He was surprised, however, to be targeted by another star, namely, Eminem, who lampooned Jackson’s scandals in the lyrics and images of his ”Just Lose It” video last fall. ”I’ve never met Mr. Eminem, and I’ve always admired him and to have him do something like that was pretty painful … it’s sad,” the singer said. ”I’ve been an artist most of my life and I’ve never attacked a fellow artist. Great artists don’t do that.”
Jackson said that Neverland, where his accuser says the star molested him, was merely a gated refuge for himself and his children, as well as for groups of inner-city kids that he invited to visit. ”My bliss is in giving and sharing and having simple, innocent fun,” he said. ”If I can open my gates and see that bliss, an explosion of screaming laughter from the children as they run on the rides, I say, ‘Thank you God.’ I feel I won God’s smile of approval, because I’m doing something that brings joy and happiness to other people.”
The self-styled King of Pop also commented on the scandal surrounding his sister Janet as a result of her wardrobe flap at last year’s Super Bowl. ”Actually, I was looking right at it and I didn’t see it,” he said. Offering advice to his sister, he says he told her, ”Be strong. This too shall pass. Don’t worry about it. I’ve seen worse things.” Yeah, no kidding.