November 12, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

On Thursday, Fox News Channel’s Geraldo Rivera was covering a protest outside MTV’s Times Square studios by a group of Michael Jackson fans, who were upset over MTV’s continued airing of Eminem’s ”Just Lose It” video, when he received a cellphone call from none other than the King of Pop himself. During the call, amplified over loudspeakers so that the picketers could hear it, Jackson said he wanted to ”thank my fans for their strong support over the years” and to echo their condemnation of the video, whose lyrics and images repeatedly mock Jackson.

Unlike BET, which complied with Jackson’s request to pull the video from rotation, MTV has not stopped airing the clip, in which Eminem portrays Jackson sitting on a bed with a group of little boys in one scene and having his nose fall off in another. According to Newsday, about 16 fans showed up at the anti-MTV rally. ”We feel as though MTV has a responsibility to the public not to air this kind of video,” said Vernay Lewis, a Jackson fan club member and an organizer of the rally. ”It’s insensitive. It’s rude to Michael and his family.”

In his call to Rivera, Jackson made similar comments, saying of Eminem’s video, ”I think that it’s demeaning and disrespectful, and I also want to make it clear that it’s not just about Michael Jackson but about a pattern of disrespect that he has shown to our community.” (Jackson apparently didn’t specify whom he meant by ”our community.”) ”He needs to stop it and he needs to stop it now.” Rivera replied, ”I believe that you’re getting a raw deal, not just by Eminem, but in a lot of other aspects of life that I don’t need to mention.” Um, sounds like you just did, Geraldo.

You May Like