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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Interview With B.J. Sigesmund

Aired November 19, 2003 - 14:56   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now from New York, B.J. Sigesmund, entertainment correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine.
B.J. first of all, you're overall reaction, everything that's happened in the past 57 minutes?

B.J. SIGESMUND, "NEWSWEEK": Amazing. Kyra, it's hard to imagine it getting much worse for Michael Jackson, isn't it? But I think it's going to.

The interesting thing to me, those allegations the first time were ten years ago and it's taken him ten years and he still can't get over those -- the child abuse allegation from last time. These ones look so much more serious.

Of course, he's done so many things over the last ten years that have kept him in the public eye and increased the bizarreness around him, the marriages, to Lisa Marie Presley and to Debbie Rowe who bore him two children who she allegedly never sees. The masks, the increasingly strange behavior and the apparent absolute fixation on plastic surgery and fixing himself.

I'm not sure how much longer fans will stick by him. He does have many fans around the world. His last album sold 2 million copies which is not bad, but nothing compared to what "Thriller" sold. But I don't know how those fans will tolerate this.

PHILLIPS: You mention the case ten years ago. A financial settlement was made. No charges were filed. Later on, a number of documentaries, books, also came out.

I want to read something here. Just to ask you, B.J., what you think of -- I guess basically the decisions that Michael is making publicly. A TV interview with Martin Brasher, you may remember, it was broadcast earlier this year.

Jackson admitted he allowed children to sleep in his bed but denied any sexual misconduct. He said I have slept in a bed with many children. When you say bed, you think sexual. It's not sexual. We are going to sleep. I talk tuck them in, it's very charming, it's very sweet. Is he making his life more difficult here?

SIGESMUND: Absolutely.

PHILLIPS: Does he not realize what he's saying? SIGESMUND: Unlike so many other public figures like Madonna, so many actors and actresses, Michael Jackson does not seem to understand the way the media works and he paints himself into a corner every time.

Every time he does one of these big, on the record interviews like the NBC one, it just answered -- begs more questions. I mean, why he would say that and have that quote repeated around the world so many times -- you know, he's terrible, terrible at managing his image.

I think the smartest thing for him to do right now would be to come out and turn himself in and say, you know, these charges are not true but I'm happy to cooperate as much as I can.

The longer that he evades police and disappears from the public eye the more people are going to wonder how true these allegations might be.

PHILLIPS: B.J. you are going to have quite an article to work on this week for "Newsweek" magazine. You are going to be very busy.

SIGESMUND: Actually, I want to tell you I'm at "US Weekly" now.

PHILLIPS: You are? You are at "US Weekly" -- oh my gosh, our writers, we had better update your bio here at CNN. That's terrible, I apologize. Well you know what, "US Weekly" is going to have you very busy. We are going to ask you to stick around, OK.

We are going to continue our coverage. Thank you.

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