Michael Jackson is asking all networks to pull the plug onEminem’s new “Just Lose It” video, on the grounds that it crossesthe line from humorous to hateful.
“Michael Jackson is very angry,” said Jacksonrepresentative, Ramone Bain, to the Daily News last month. “He feels that Eminem has crossed the line.”
The video, which premiered on MTV two weeksago, refers to Jackson’s rumored extensive plastic surgeries andquestionable relationship with young boys. The lyrics “comehere little kiddies, on my lap/ Guess who’s back with a brand newrap,” opens the video, which features Eminem dressed like Jacksonsitting on the edge of a bed a while four young boys jump behindhim.
At another point, Eminem’s prosthetic nosefalls off. He also mimics the filming of the 1984 PepsiCommercial shoot, during which Jackson’s hair caught on fire.
“Michael feels the video is disrespectful andoffensive,” said Bain. “It’s one thing to spoof someone; it’sanother to be completely insensitive and disrespectful.”
So far, Black Entertainment Television is theonly network that has agreed to comply with Jackson’s request toremove the video from rotation.
“The primary issue here is free speech,” saysLee Thornton, professor of TV Reporting and Production at thePhilip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Marylandat College Park.
“When we start to curb free speech, we getonto a slippery slope. I’m very sympathetic with Jackson, buttoo bad. Just because his feelings are hurt doesn’t mean hehas the right to curb another artist.”
Thornton, who hosts Front and Center onUniversity of Maryland TV, says that situations like this are veryuncommon, because mockery and parody are consequences of being inthe public eye.
“This is not just about Michael Jackson andEminem, we have to keep that in mind,” she argues. “Hip-hopartists are ridiculed all the time on television, but they don’tmake a big fuss about it.”
Crystal Skinner, sophomore communicationsmajor at Prince Georges Community College, agrees that Jackson’splea is a violation of Eminem’s freedom of speech.
“It’s just a joke, and it doesn’t change myopinion of Michael Jackson. BET shouldn’t have banned thevideo, because Eminem is only personifying the same jokes thatperformers on Comic View make all the time.”
Michael Green, Freshman Business major atHampton University, argues that Eminem should be held accountablefor his actions.
“He definitely crossed the line. As afellow artist, Eminem should have shown more consideration for thehardships that being famous brings. Ten years from now, hemight be making the same case against a younger rapper who wants tocapitalize off his pitfalls.”