Sheryl Crow ‘mad at a lot of people’ about Michael Jackson sex abuse allegations
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Sheryl Crow says she was sexually harassed by Michael Jackson’s late manager, Frank DiLeo, while on tour with the star in 1987.
The “If It Makes You Happy” singer claims that DiLeo harassed her throughout her gig as a backup singer and threatened to ruin her career if she refused his advances or told anyone about the situation.
“Naiveté is such a beautiful thing,” Crow, 59, told The Independent in a new interview. “It was incredible in every way, shape and form for a young person from a really small town to see the world and to work with arguably the greatest pop star. But I also got a crash course in the music industry.”
The musician alluded to the alleged harassment on her 1993 album in “The Na-Na Song” — a stream of consciousness that includes the lyrics, “Franki DiLeo’s dong/ Maybe if I’d have let him I’d have had a hit song” — as well as “What I Can Do for You,” which is written from the point of view of a powerful abuser, according to The Independent.
But she wanted to fully open up about DiLeo now on her new audiobook, “Words + Music,” despite how “uncomfortable” it made her.
“It felt really uncomfortable, but it felt, to me, so much more empowering to be able to talk about it and then play the music that was inspired by it,” she said, adding, “Isn’t that what music is really for? To help us work through whatever our experiences are, and hopefully for the collective to find their own situations in your music too?”
She also said, “To be able to play that stuff about the long bout of sexual harassment I endured during the Michael Jackson tour and to talk about it in the midst of the MeToo movement … it feels like we’ve come a long way, but it doesn’t feel like we’re quite there yet.”
During the ’80s Jackson tour, tabloids had reported that Jackson was falling for his “sexy backing singer” and that he had offered Crow $2 million to have his baby, The Independent reported. But Crow reflected on the rumors, saying in her audio book that she believes DiLeo planted the stories “to make Mike look like he was interested in women.”
Crow says she fell into a deep depression when she moved back home to LA following her tour with Jackson. At the time, she said she even hired a high-powered attorney who told her she should have put up with DiLeo to advance her career.
“It was disillusioning. I think when your dream bubble is burst you either go: ‘OK, well, I’m going to forget that dream,’ or you do what I did, which was wallow in it for about a year, and then you pull your bootstraps up and you get back to work,” she told the Independent.
DiLeo died after getting heart surgery in August 2011 at the age of 63. He managed Jackson both in the late 1980s and in 2009.
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