Jackson lyrics ignite storm of criticism

GOOD MORNING: “Some of my best friends are Jews.” Not this one anymore, Michael Jackson. Your apologia for 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 American speech — 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 criticized ’em and that the song is Jackson’s plea for tolerance. I pointed out when Jackson uses those words, they become acceptable for ordinary conversation. Gallin and Weitzman themselves could very well be called by those names, thanks to Jackson’s revival of them. They agreed they would tell Michael that something should be said/done … Jackson professes his love for children, yet his video showing a uniformed Jackson amid Nazi-like goose-stepping storm troopers does little to soothe emotions about anti-Semitism. Michael knows only too well that millions of Jewish children of many nations were murdered and maimed in medical experiments in the Holocaust. Jackson should know — after all , Rabbi Marvin Hier told me he took Jackson on a private, 2 1/2-hour tour of the Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance and that Jackson 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 apologize, but the song is about the pain of prejudice — that was my sole intention.” Said Hier, “I don’t accept his explanation. How can 12- or 13-year-olds hearing these lyrics believe it’s a statement 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 legitimize those words”… Steven Spielberg, whose feelings about those words are obvious, is quoted in a booklet accompanying Jackson’s new album. However, he knew nothing about the content or these lyrics, saying, “I was asked to write liner notes for Michael Jackson in August of 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 now 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 the American Friends of the Hebrew University, was among those appalled by the lyrics and said he would begin a write-in campaign to express his indignation and would so inform CAA, which represents him — and Jackson as well.

WILL TOM HANKS STAR IN THE”GUMP” SEQUEL? He told me, “It took nine years to get the original on. And I know how hard Eric Roth worked.” Hanks says the project sounds “intriguing” but he hasn’t read the book — although he has a copy. “We have to figure out the real emotions. I don’t want to dilute the original ‘Forrest Gump.’ ” He says it’s been a “wild year” and after the bow of “Apollo 13,” “I want to stay out of the public eye for a while.” Hanks was at the White House the same day Captain Scott O’Grady was recovered. “President Clinton told me, ‘This is a great day — it started with a rescue and it ended with a rescue’ — the screening of ‘Apollo.’ “… Although the David Letterman show announced that O’Grady would be guesting on their show, word from D.C. now has O’Grady appearing with Jay Leno Tuesday. Why not let him appear on both latenighters? He rates it … Julia Roberts will star in Woody Allen’s next untitled pic. She has the comedy “Something to Talk About” (formerly “Grace Under Pressure”) coming out in August and the dramatic “Mary Reilly” at Christmas … Elizabeth Taylor’s back home, after a single day’s promo for her Black Pearls fragrance in N.Y., to ready for surgery on her right hip Monday. Her medic promises a shorter recovery period for this operation … Next month, David Wolper starts his four-hour “Thorn Birds” in-quel (the 14 years missing from the original), though the lead, Ralph (originally played by Richard Chamberlain), is yet to be set. Aussie director Kevin Dobson (not the actor) directs at the WB studio in Queensland … CBS, re-airing Michele Lee’s “Big Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story” Sunday, is talking about an album from the telepic in which Lee sings solo plus duets with Kenny Rogers. Tonight, Michele warbles special material at the tribute to longtime friend Dwight Hemion by the Center for the Partially Sighted at the BevWilshire. Steve Allen m.c.’s and Diane Shuur and Vic Damone join the show.