Sorting through the King of Pop's publicity stunts

By Evan Serpick
September 14, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Count on Michael Jackson to unleash some oddness as he gears up for this month’s two star-studded Manhattan concerts (guests include ‘N Sync, Shaggy, and Ray Charles) and the Oct. 30 launch of his long-awaited disc Invincible. But can you tell which PR stunt is as phony as the erstwhile King of Pop’s face?

1. Jackson invites 50 ”legendary ladies of the silver screen” (Janet Leigh, Patty Duke, et al.) to the shows. Cynics note it fills pricey seats still available to the ”virtually sold-out” events.

2. Jacko donates $1 million to the San Diego Zoo, unveiling a six-foot statue of Bubbles designed by Jeff Koons. Some zoo workers protest having to change the chimp’s cloth outfits each day.

3. On the NASDAQ floor, Jackson presses the ceremonial button that begins trading—and then receives birthday cake and a poster of Shirley Temple. The market drops 25 points that day.

4. At a New York concert, Jay-Z announces that M.J. will join him on stage. When no one appears for several minutes, the rapper drags out the reluctant legend, who says only, ”I love you all.”

5. Reports say that after first choice Robert De Niro declines to cameo in the video ”You Rock My World,” Jackson hires Marlon Brando, Benicio Del Toro, and much of The Sopranos‘ cast.

ANSWER: 2

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