|April 8, 2011|
|The Many Publicists of Michael Jackson|
|By Greg Hazley|
|Michael Jackson spent about 40 of his 50 years in the spotlight, a considerable amount of time to be fending off reporters, running from paparazzi, deflecting rumors and, of course, promoting oneself.|
In fact, he’s had so many PR reps that he had to warn reporters in 2003 that most of the people who identified themselves as spokespeople or friends were frauds.
Here's a quick look at some of his reps:
Bob Jones – the former Motown Records PR rep went to work for the Jackson 5 in the 1970s and continued to work for Jackson when he went solo in the early 1980s. Jones died last September at age 72 and it was said that he was the only Jackson family associate to never sign a confidentiality agreement. That came back to bite Jackson when he fired Jones in 2005 after the second molestation scandal and Jones responded with the book “The Man Behind the Mask.”
Dan Klores – although he didn't work directly for the King of Pop, the New York PR executive-turned-filmmaker was in a meeting with Sony officials about Jackson's career in 1994, following the initial molestation scandal. As executives kicked around ideas for Jackson’s comeback (a concert for children was one idea floated), the New York Times Magazine reported in 2003 that Klores turned to Jackson and asked: “Have you ever thought about getting married?” Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley later that year.
Raymone Bain – a PR pro and former general manager of Jackson’s company, Bain also served as Jacko’s spokeswoman. She is with the D.C. firm Davis, Bain & Associates and specializes in high-profile clients in the entertainment field. Bain once issued a press release (in 2004) to assure media outlets that “Michael Jackson is not dead.”
Stuart Backerman – the former adviser to British Columbia premier Mike Harcourt stepped in to help Jackson in the wake of the damaging documentary by Martin Bashier in 2003 in which Jackson admitted to sharing his bed with kids not his own. He was reportedly fired after 10 months on the job at the behest of attorney Mark Geragos.
Michael Levine – the former Jackson rep issued this statement yesterday: “As someone who served as Michael Jackson's publicist during the 1st child molestation incident, I must confess I am not surprised by today's tragic news. Michael has been on an impossibly difficult and often self-destructive journey for years. His talent was unquestionable but so too was his discomfort with the norms of the world. A human simply can not withstand this level of prolonged stress.”
Lee Solters — the iconic showbiz PR rep died in May at the age of 90 and his long roster of celebrity clients included Jackson, whom he worked with in the 1980s. Some may remember Jackson had a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles during that era and when Jackson eventually gave up the pet to a zoo when he had his first child, false rumors that the chimp had died were deflected by Solters with the memorable quip: “When Bubbles heard about his demise he went bananas.”
Larry Solters -- longtime music industry publicist and son of Lee, Solters was the last person to rep Jackson as he was hired by AEG and Jackson's final manager, Tohme Tohme.
* Michael Sitrick – the Los Angeles crisis counselor said in a 2006 Los Angeles Magazine profile that the only two clients he ever turned down were Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson.
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