“Jew me, sue me, kick me, kike me....” Original Michael Jackson Song Lyrics Changed Following SWC 1995 Protest: Apology letter on view at SWC Headquarters

July 6, 2009                           

“Jew me, sue me, kick me, kike me....” Original Michael Jackson Song Lyrics Changed Following SWC 1995 Protest: Apology letter on view at SWC Headquarters

Michael Jackson: the Museum of Tolerance’s First Visitor

When Michael Jackson’s HIStory album was first released in 1995, the Simon Wiesenthal Center was shocked to hear that some of the lyrics in the song, They Don’t Care About Us, contained words like: “Jew me, sue me, kick me, kike me....”  The Center immediately protested these obviously antisemitic stereotypes that millions of people would be exposed to, directly to Michael Jackson and demanded that he and Sony Records remove the offensive lyrics from the album.

Michael responded by personally calling Rabbis Hier and Cooper and expressing his deep remorse and then following up with a letter* where he wrote, "Unfortunately, my choice of words may have unintentionally hurt the people I wanted to stand in solidarity with ... I intend to include in all albums that have not been shipped as of this date, the paragraphs above so that no one can listen to my music and misconstrue my intentions." True to his word, not only did he do that, but a week or so later, he went back into the studio, deleted the offensive lyrics, and re-recorded the song.

Michael Jackson: the Museum of Tolerance’s First Visitor

Michael Jackson was the first visitor to the Museum of Tolerance. He requested to come on the Friday before the Museum would open to the public. The workmen were still finalizing the last minute touches when Michael came by. While I’m sure Michael knew about the Holocaust, it was obvious that there was much he didn’t know.

After spending almost 2½ hours at the Museum, he left, clearly deeply moved and brought to tears, by the overwhelming experience.

*The original letter can be viewed at the Simon Wiesenthal Center offices.  To schedule an interview/viewing of the letter, please contact the Center’s public relations department, 310-553-9036

 

(Photo courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center - click on photo for hi-resolution)