Singer Michael Jackson resumed his world tour Friday, performing to a sold-out crowd in Bangkok, Thailand, and completing the leg of his tour that was delayed for two days while he recovered from dehydration. Jackson also performed in Singapore on Sunday, kicking off a two-night stand which ends tonight.
The singer was visited at his hotel by actress Elizabeth Taylor over the weekend. Taylor flew to Singapore to show her support for the embattled singer.
Speculation that Jackson’s sister Janet was en route to Singapore to comfort her brother was denied by her reps Sunday. Sources close to Janet say she made travel arrangements last week, but she is also rehearsing for the start of her own world tour and for a Thursday appearance on MTV’s Video Music Awards.
And just as the shows go on, so does the LAPD investigation into allegations the singer molested a 13-year-old boy.
Videotapes seized at the singer’s Santa Barbara and Century City homes on Aug. 21 do not offer any incriminating evidence, according to police sources. Investigators have now focused their attention on seized photographs, attempting to identify those pictured so they can be contacted and interviewed to determine if Jackson acted improperly toward them.
Jackson attorney Howard Weitzman met Thursday with LAPD and District Attorney investigators in the offices of the singer’s security consultant, private investigator AnthonyPellicano. Pellicano has confirmed that the meeting was held to discuss the extortion aspect of the investigation.
Police, however, stressed caution. “I can’t confirm or deny the existence of an investigation,” said LAPD spokesman Lt. John Dunkin on the extortion aspect of the case.
“With denials and conflicting statements all around, and no physical evidence to link anyone, we may have a hard time developing a case that the D.A. can file on,” said a police source. “Everybody’s stories have holes in them.”
Pellicano has maintained that the molestation charges evolved from a blackmail attempt gone awry. Police have confirmed that they were never told about the alleged extortion attempt, even after the Jackson molestation investigation had been under way for almost a week.
Pellicano said Saturday that he offered the boy’s father $ 350,000 in an effort to solidify the extortion case before bringing in police.
“I was trying to set him up with the extortion,” Pellicano said. “If he took it, the police would have been involved at that point.”
The boy’s father denied through intermediaries that he tried to blackmail Jackson.
Actress Taylor became the first Jackson confidant to publicly support the singer. A Newsweek magazine interview in this week’s issue quoted Taylor as saying: “I totally believe 100% in Michael’s integrity. He’d rather cut his own wrist than harm a child. He worships children.”
Well-known Jackson compadres Macaulay Culkin, Brooke Shields and Emmanuel Lewis have remained on the sidelines since the story broke. Representatives for the actors have declined comment, but Culkin’s name appears on a county Children’s Services Dept. investigator’s contact report.
Taylor’s remarks came two days after two teen-age boys admitted they had slept in the same bed with Jackson in a slumber party-type atmosphere.
Joy Robson, the mother of one of the boys claiming to have shared a bed with Jackson, said it was “all quite innocent,” and did not feel her son sharing a bed with Jackson was unusual. “It’s party time,” said Robson of the get-togethers. “They watch videos, eat junk food and play videogames.”
Insiders at Pepsi, for which Jackson is a commercial spokesman, are said to be concerned about these revelations. However, Pepsico Inc. denied a report in a British newspaper that the company hired detective agency Kroll Assoc. to investigate the singer. The Guardian quoted a “senior” Pepsi source as saying Kroll had been hired, while another source denied this.
An announcement that the Jackson family has scheduled a press conference for today fueled speculation that family members would discuss the allegations aimed at Michael. But a Jackson family rep said the media event will address a family reunion concert slated for a Dec. 11 taping in Atlantic City and would not address questions on the investigation. The “Jackson Family Honors” special will air on NBC next spring.
The family released a statement on Aug. 24 supporting Michael, and has not commented since.