NEW YORK: Pop star Michael Jackson is the latest public figure in a highly publicized legal tussle to launch a website devoted to providing information to supporters and media during an ongoing criminal investigation.
In recent months, several high-profile personalities have attempted to use the web to launch controlled PR offensives during their public legal travails. Other public figures caught in legal trouble who have turned to the internet as their main communications vehicle include former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy and embattled domesticity mogul Martha Stewart.
The site (www.mjnews.us), called "the official press room," is expected to be the only way in which Jackson will communicate with the press and the public in the wake of legal action following accusations of child molestation from a 12-year-old boy.
"Because the charges are so serious," Jackson's site reads, "I hope you all will understand, on the advice of my attorneys, I will be limited in what I can say about the situation. There will be times when I cannot comment at all.... For that reason, I have set up this website to serve as a source of official communications on my case. Any statement that does not appear on this website must be considered unauthorized."
On the day Jackson was charged, Santa Barbara law-enforcement officials promised equal access for press that followed an outlined process. The case has seen extensive media attention that some are comparing to the outsized coverage received by the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
In an interview for a story that appeared on prweek.com on the day that the charges were announced, Jackson's publicist, Stuart Backerman, said that he is the only PR pro working with Jackson at this time.
"At the moment, no," Backerman said when asked if he is working with outside PR help. "But who knows? That might change."