Epic Records won’t wait for Michael Jackson to return to the studio and record new lyrics for a controversial song on his new “HIStory” album. The label has decided to immediately slap disclaimer stickers on current discs that have not been shipped.
Epic wasted no time responding to Jackson’s apology and decision to record the new lyrics for “They Don’t Care About Us,” which he revealed to Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd last week, but copies of the album already in the retail pipeline will not be stickered or recalled. Epic has already shipped 2 million copies of the album, Jackson’s first in more than four years.
Jackson said he would go back into the studio this week to replace the phrases “Jew me” and “kike me.” Until new discs can be manufactured, the label will place the sticker on the front page of the booklet contained within “HIStory.”
Although Jackson’s decision was widely applauded, it raised questions about how the lyrics made it onto the disc without being flagged by Jackson handlers or Epic execs.
“Either nobody noticed, or if they did, they were afraid to offend the delicate sensibilities of Jackson with some criticism,” offered an Epic staffer.
Retailers surveyed said the album was selling well, but the pace had not picked up appreciably since the announcement that Jackson would record a new version of “They Don’t Care About Us.”