‘HIStory’ gets welcome rewrite

GOOD MORNING: Michael Jackson admits he made a mistake. He called to tell me he is changing the lyrics to the song “They Don’t Care About Us,” which included the lines “Jew me, sue me” and “Kick me, kike me.” “I’ll go into the studio next week, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and change it. I thought of, first, muffling them, but that would make them (those words) even more noticeable. So I’m going all the way to take them out, and I’ve written new words.” The substitute words, he said, will be “Strike me” for “Kike me” and “Do me” for “Jew me.””Or some other or better words,” he said. When will these words be added? “In the next shipment,” he promised, but didn’t know how soon that would be … Jackson came on the phone saying, “This is Michael.” Of course the voice was unmistakable — but just to make certain, I asked for his phone numbers, which he readily gave to me from his Neverland ranch. He read (or was told about) my column(s) in which I took him to task for using those words and for the damage he was doing to the tolerance that he said he was preaching — by putting those words back into common conversation. Jackson again insisted his purpose was indeed to preach tolerance; again, he said, “From the bottom of my heart, I am not a racist.” And once again, he enumerated for me all of his friends and neighbors (by name) who are Jewish — as well as his advisers. So I asked him, “Didn’t any of them hear you record those lyrics or read them before you recorded them? Didn’t they tell you how counter-tolerance they are? And what damage they would do when they’d become part of the vocabulary of young children who never heard them before? … And what about the promo ad so reminiscent of Nazi storm troopers?” He again said how much he loves and is loved by his Jewish friends and how some, whose names he would not give me, “heard it (the lyrics) over and over. One made me play it over and over again for him.” When I gave Michael my opinion of how wrong they were, he responded with, “I didn’t realize what I was doing.” As for the storm trooper-like sequences in the video, he said he wasn’t there when it was filmed. And he told me he would never want to have people think they were “those” troops. Jackson said, “I cried for weeks after I visited the (Wiesenthal Center’s) Museum of Tolerance,” not thinking this, too, would have a destructive connotation. “I didn’t realize the damage,” he said even more softly. The apologia, which was to go out in the second shipment of albums, but now may not be necessary, would hardly be noted, read, heard or seen by anyone, mostly children, I told him. “If I could erase them I would. Haven’t you ever done something that you wish you had never done? I do. So, now I’ll change it,” he said.

NOW THAT THE DREAM TEAM is at Universal,” David Brown told Jeffrey Katzenberg, who stopped by to say hello to him and the Richard Zanucks at Mortons, “you might ask to take a look at a script we had there, which Universal didn’t want to make. It’s called ‘Jaws 3, People 0.’ ” The sendup was to be made with the National Lampoon. The Zanucks and Brown were at dinner toasting the 20th anni of their first “Jaws” and their upcoming reteaming on “Deep Impact” with Amblin at Par … And talking about animals, “The Hundredth Monkey” (about an elephant!) for Peter Guber is being eyed by Richard Gere, to keep his card varied … Last year, Jason Alexander directed and co-starred with Lolita Davidovich in Castle Rock’s “For Better or For Worse.” And the test-marketing screenings were inconclusive, so, Castle Rock doesn’t know when/whether to release it theatrically or — ? Meanwhile, Alexander keeps busy acting on the bigscreen with pics back-to-back until called back to “Seinfeld”… Producers Jeff Wald and Herb Nanas added Keith Carradine, Austin Pendleton, Paul Rodriguez, Michael Jai White and Lawrence Tierney to their Rysher Entertainment “2 Days in the Valley”… While some have their stars on Hollywood Boulevard, Johnny Grant will also have a building in his name on the boulevard — next to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel … Sorry to report Pauline Kessinger, who ran the Paramount commissary for 42 years, has died. Services will be held Friday at the MPTV Country House, with Par veteran A.C. Lyles delivering the eulogy. Lyles will be back at the MPTVCH Sunday to join Janet Leigh in presenting the Silver Medallion to Buddy Rogers for his work for the industry charity … Producer Carrie Lynn Morrow and record producer Gregory Mull will wed Saturday at the BevHills Hotel with her brother, Rob Morrow, as the couple’s best man, who will also escort his sister down the aisle in the Polo Lounge Garden, with party to follow in the Rodeo Ballroom … Press agent Rachel McCallister and Craig Knapp will wed Saturday — but they’ll delay the honeymoon as she’ll help praise the Special Olympics World Summer Games in New Haven, Conn. … Sydney Samuelson, Britain’s first film commissioner, has been knighted by the Queen. He’s a BAFTA trustee with a long record of charitable works … John Berendt’s “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” (Vintage) is No.1 in the London Sunday Times. The book — soon to be a WB feature — is now also in eight foreign languages! … Eddie Fisher’s autobiog, “Been There, Done That” (St. Martin’s Press), co-authored by Frank Coffey, hits the stalls later this year. Will one volume be enough?

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