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Jackson 'devastated' by documentary

Jackson received worldwide condemnation for this Berlin incident
Jackson received worldwide condemnation for this Berlin incident

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Pop superstar Michael Jackson says he is "devastated and feels utterly betrayed" by a documentary in which he revealed he shares his bed with children.

Jackson, who allowed reporter Martin Bashir to become part of his entourage for eight months, said the programme was a "gross distortion of the truth."

It was a "tawdry attempt to misrepresent his life and his abilities as a father," Jackson said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The behind-the-scenes programme, called "Living with Michael Jackson," was initially shown on British television this week and was aired on U.S. television on Thursday.

"I trusted Martin Bashir to come into my life and that of my family because I wanted the truth to be told," Jackson said in the statement, released by his London representative Stephen Lock.

"Martin Bashir persuaded me to trust him, that his would be an honest and fair portrayal of my life and told me that he was 'the man that turned Diana's life around.'"

Bashir is well known for an interview with Princess Diana, in which she admitted being unfaithful to Prince Charles. No comment from him on Jackson's criticism was immediately available.

"Today I feel more betrayed than perhaps ever before, that someone who had got to know my children, my staff and me, whom I let into my heart and told the truth, could then sacrifice the trust I placed in him and produce this terrible and unfair programme," Jackson said.

He accused Bashir of using the vehicle "to celebrate his own career" and as a "salacious ratings-chaser."

Jackson was filmed saying there was nothing wrong in sharing his bed with children at his Neverland ranch in California.

The crew were also in the Berlin hotel room when Jackson dangled his youngest son Prince Michael II over the balcony.

His two other children, five-year-old Prince Michael I and four-year-old Paris, appeared with Jackson wearing party masks. He fed Prince Michael II, whom he has nicknamed Blanket, with a bottle of milk while draping a veil over his head.

Children's charities Barnardo's and the NSPCC have voiced their concerns.

Barnardo's, the UK's largest children's charity, said an investigation would be launched if similar circumstances were reported in the UK. The NSPCC said Jackson was sending out the wrong message.

But Jackson said: "Everyone who knows me will know the truth, which is that my children come first in my life and that I would never harm any child."

The statement added: "Michael feels deeply angry that the programme could have led viewers to conclude that he abuses children in any way.

"Michael Jackson has never, and would never, treat a child inappropriately or expose them to any harm and totally refutes any suggestions to the contrary."

His former wife, and mother of two of his children, was quoted as saying: "It breaks my heart that anyone could truly believe that Michael would do anything to harm or endanger our children: They are the most important thing in his life."

The programme has, however, proven a fillip to Jackson's career with huge jumps in sales of his records, companies say.

Sales of his album "Thriller" shot up by 500 percent on the previous week in the UK on Tuesday, and his greatest hits package HIStory rocketed by 1,000 percent at retail chain HMV.


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