Michael Jackson Lashes Out

Singer rips record industry, Tommy Mottola at press conference

July 8, 2002 12:00 AM ET

Michael Jackson accused the recording industry of treating black artists unfairly during a press conference with the Rev. Al Sharpton, at Sharpton's National Action Network headquarters on Saturday.

Jackson criticized his label, Sony, for failing to promote his most recent album, last year's Invincible, as well as for not releasing a September 11th charity song he had recorded. Jackson singled out Sony Music Entertainment head Tommy Mottola, calling him a "racist" and "devilish," accentuating his point by brandishing a poster of Mottola with horns superimposed on his head, a tail on his posterior and a pitchfork in hand. The poster accompanied Jackson on a tour bus through the city which circled the Sony building.

Jackson's criticism of Mottola triggered a defense of the Sony bigwig from Sharpton, who told the New York Post that Mottola was a friend and had "always been supportive of the black music industry." Sharpton, Jackson and attorney Johnny Cochran formed a coalition in May that planned to protect the rights of black artists within the industry.

Sony issued a statement calling Jackson's comments about Mottola "ludicrous, spiteful and hurtful."

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