Michael Jackson wants to build castle in Germany
22 July 2005, BERLIN - Michael Jackson is planning to build "a fairy-tale castle" in Germany as an overseas refuge, a spokesman for the self-styled King of Pop said Friday as guests began arriving in Berlin to celebrate Jackson's father's birthday.
22 July 2005
BERLIN - Michael Jackson is planning to build "a fairy-tale castle" in Germany as an overseas refuge, a spokesman for the self-styled King of Pop said Friday as guests began arriving in Berlin to celebrate Jackson's father's birthday.
A hotel in the leafy suburbs of the German capital is hosting Joe Jackson's 76th birthday party with Michael's siblings Janet, LaToya and Jermaine expected to attend.
The singer himself bowed out at the last minute, telling German fans he deeply regretted being unable to attend but that he would "be with you in my heart".
His spokesman, Shawn Andrews, told the newspaper Berliner Morgenpost: "Michael is a fan of Germany and has fallen in love with the city of Berlin."
He said Jacko is planning a fairy-tale castle-themed home based on Bavarian King Ludwig II's neo-Gothic and many-spired Neuschwanstein castle in the German Alps.
"This is definitely not a PR gag. Michael is really planning this," Andrews said.
Joe Jackson decided to throw the Berlin party as a demonstration of his thanks to Michael's loyal European fans during the trial.
He told a news conference in Berlin: "The sole reason for my trip to Europe is to thank the European people for their solidarity. It's my birthday, but the real reason for the party is to say thank you to our German fans, many of whom travelled all the way to Santa Maria to hold a vigil during the trial."
One thousand hand-picked fans have received golden tickets to the three-day birthday bash.
One invitee, Bianca Schmidt, held up a banner for eight days outside the court in Santa Maria that read: "Germany fights with you. Keep the faith."
Schmidt, 35, said: "It is amazing that we can now celebrate his freedom with members of his family."
Ending weeks of speculation, Michael announced Thursday he would not be coming to Berlin for the party.
Undaunted, the paparazzi were ensconced around the Estrel Hotel on the leafy outskirts of Berlin, where the self-styled King of Pop's parents, siblings and guests were gathering for the birthday bash.
The elder Jackson arrived at the Estrel Wednesday along with his wife Katherine, 77. Siblings who have arrived or are due to arrive include sisters LaToya, 49, and Janet, 39, and brother Jermaine.
Michael himself is reported to be recovering from the trial at a resort in Dubai.
In all, 115 rooms have been booked for the three-day party marathon. Reports have hinted that stars such as singer Diana Ross could show up. Ross is currently on a concert tour of Germany.
The bash is the sort of star-studded party that formerly would have been held at Jackson's Neverland Ranch. But 46-year-old Jackson is said to feel the California ranch was tainted by the criminal allegations.
In Berlin Thursday, Joseph Jackson told reporters that Michael is afraid to be seen in public in the United States, where death threats have been received. He said his son wore a bullet-proof vest when he emerged from court in California last month.
"There are a lot of folks who don't want Michael to ever see the light of day again," his father said.
The Jackson clan patriarch has a soft spot in his heart for Germany, and his memoirs were released there prior to publication elsewhere last year. At his news conference, he mentioned vague plans for a high-profile dance club in Berlin along the lines of New York's 1970s Studio 54.
The Berlin plans also coincide with promotion of a planned reality TV show involving the entire Jackson family.
The six-episode show is to focus on how Michael's parents, Joe and Katherine, and eight siblings rallied around the entertainer after he was accused of child molestation in 2003 and how they are trying to overcome the scandal after the not-guilty verdicts.
Jackson's last public appearance in Germany in 2002, when he received a lifetime achievement award, ended in a scandal.
During a brief appearance at a window of Berlin's five-star Adlon Hotel, the superstar dangled his baby son from the railing of his fourth-floor suite.
The bizarre scene was shown repeatedly on television news programmes in Germany and around the world and severely dented the singer's popularity in Germany.
Jackson's career peaked in the country in 1997 when he was able to sell out two consecutive concerts at Munich's giant Olympic Stadium.
Subject: German news