Date: 21st November 2002
MICHAEL Jackson said he made a "terrible mistake" by holding his infant son over the railing of a fourth-floor balcony at a Berlin hotel to show fans below but shocking many people who watched the scene captured on video.
Television around the world repeatedly broadcast footage of the reclusive pop star's brief appearance yesterday at the Hotel Adlon across from Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate.
The boy had a white cloth over his head as Jackson held him with one arm around his waist over the edge of the hotel's iron balcony railing.
Fans cheered as Jackson appeared with the child, but the pop star quickly retreated into his hotel room.
The child, wearing a baby blue jumper, was the singer's third and youngest, Prince Michael II, said Antje Sigesmund, a spokeswoman for the Bambi entertainment award ceremony, which Jackson is attending in Berlin.
Overnight, Jackson issued a statement saying he had gotten carried away when fans below the window asked to see the baby.
"I made a terrible mistake," he said. "I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children."
European media scolded Jackson for the incident, with Berlin's BZ daily calling his behaviour "foolish". Sweden's Expressen headlined its story "Jackson plays with the baby's life".
In Britain, Jackson was chastised in The Sun tabloid under the headline "You lunatic" and in the Daily Mirror as "Mad bad dad".
"The Berlin police should arrest this negligent father for reckless endangerment of his own child," said an editorial by Mirror show business editor Kevin O'Sullivan.
Berlin prosecutors said they were not investigating the incident, although an inquiry could be opened if a complaint was filed.
Promoters of tomorrow's Bambi ceremony, during which Jackson will receive a lifetime achievement award, played down the flap.
"Some people obviously found it strange, but that's why Michael Jackson has given an explanation for the incident," said Patricia Riekel, editor of celebrity magazine Bunte and a board member at publisher Burda, which organizes the Bambis.
The Associated Press
Source: Press Release