Yesterday, Us Weekly unearthed footage of Michael Jackson being severely burned while filming a 1984 Pepsi commercial in Los Angeles. Today, a representative for Pepsi told EW‘s Music Mix that the company had no hand in releasing the video.
“We don’t know how the footage became available. Twenty-five years later, we’d question why anyone would want to share such frightening images. It was a terrifying event that we’ll never forget,” Pepsi spokeswoman Nicole Bradley told EW. “We were grateful for Michael’s recovery and for the chance to continue working with him on a number of successful projects. As for Michael as an artist, his music helped us define a generation and, like everyone else, we’re deeply saddened by his passing.”
The fiery accident and its painful aftermath is often cited as the start of Jackson’s dependence on prescription drugs. Jackson suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face and scalp, and sought prescription drugs during his recovery. The powerful sedative Propofol is at the forefront of the investigation into Jackson’s June 25th death from sudden cardiac arrest. As Rock Daily previously reported, Jackson’s nurse/nutritionist said the star desperately sought the drug in the months before he died.
As for whether Pepsi will demand for the controversial ad footage to be removed from the Net, the company says that their hands might be tied. “We don’t know where it came from. We don’t know what that footage is. It’s 25 years ago,” the Pepsi rep told EW. “We don’t know who owns it, so we have no recourse as far as I know. I can only tell you what I know. We didn’t put it up and we don’t know where it came from.”
• Michael Jackson Pepsi Ad Footage Unearthed From 1984 Shoot
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• Michael Jackson Remembered: Inside Rolling Stone’s Special Issue