On Friday, June 16, 1995, I wrote:
Good Morning: “Some of my best friends are Jews”. Not this one anymore, Michael Jackson. Your apology after the phrase “Jew Me” and the word Kike in the lyrics of your “They don’t care about us” just doesn’t fly. Kill the song. Your young fans who have never heard these anti-semitic words – which had hopefully been eradicated from Amercian speach – will now use them as a part of their (and worldwide?) everyday conversation, as they sing your song from the new “HIStory” album…Jackson’s manager, Sandy Gallin, and his attorney, Howard Weitzman, at first argued with me that the words were taken out of context by me and others who critisized ’em and that the song is Jackson’s plea for tolerance. I pointed out that when Jackson uses those words, they become acceptable for ordinary conversation. Gallin and Weitzman themselved could very well be called by those na mes thanks to Jackson’s revival of them. They agreed that they would tell Michael that something should be said/done…Jackson professes his love for children, yet his video showing a uniformed Jackson amid Natzi-like goose-stepping stormtroopers does little to soothe emotions about anti-semitism. Michael knows only too well that millions of Jewish childredn of many nations were murdered and maimed in the medical experiments in the Holocaust. Jackson should know – after all Rabii Marvin Heir told me he took Jackson on a private two and 1/2 hour of the Weisenthal Centers museum of tolerance and that Jacskon was overwhelmed with emotion.So why is he arm-banding in a destructive military outpouring? He knows he leads children like the pied piper…Jackson said, “I am truly shocked and deeply hurt at the reaction that the lyrics of “They don’t Care About Us” have caused. If anyone was offended, I truly appologize but the song is about the pain of predjudice – that was my sole intention”. Said Hier, “I don’t accept his explanation. How could 12 or 13 year olds hearing these lyrics believe it’s a statment for racial equality he should write a letter enclosed in the record saying what his intent was. If he remains silent he will do harm and legitimze those words.”…Steven Spielberg whose feeling about those words is quoted ina booklet accompanying Jackson’s new album. However he new nothing about the content of these lyrics, “I was asked to write liner notes for Michael Jackson in 1993. It was represented to me that these liner notes were to be for a retrospective album of Michael’s past work a ‘Best of Michael Jackson’ album. Based on that and my admiration for Michael Jackson, I wrote the liner notes at that time. My liner notes are by no means an endorsement of any new songs that appear on what has been released as Michael Jackson’s ‘HIStory’ album.”…The Anti Defamation League’s David Lehrer also urges Jackson to issue a commentary attached to the album and video…Aaron Spelling, winner of the Scopus award from American Friends of the Hebrew University, was among those appaled by the lyrics and said he would begin a write-in campaign to express his indignation and would also inform CAA, which represents him – and Jackson as well.
Michael then called me and this is what I printed on the front page of Variety on 6/21/1995, five days later.
‘HIStory’ rewritten by Army Archerd
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 those words, but that would make them 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 columns in which I took him to task for using those words and the damage he was doing to the tolerance he said he was preaching – by putting those words into common conversation. Jackson again insisted that his purpose was to preach tolerance; again, he said “From the bottom of my heart I am not a racist.”
Michael told me he cried for weeks after he visited the Weisenthal Center at the Museum of tolerance. “I didn’t realize the damage I had done. Haven’t you ever done something that you wish you had never done? I didn’t realize what I was doing.”
Michael remained close friends for the rest of his life with Elizabeth Taylor, one who included in her family two ex husbands who were Jewish.
I for one believe Michael was a kind person and will always be remembered as such. Have a great tour Michael…a lot of stars are waiting for you up there…