Pop star Michael Jackson has certainly been noticed for his eccentricities in recent years, but with Tuesday's child-dangling incident, he may have shuffled across the line from unusual to alarming.
While staying at a hotel in Berlin, The King of Pop emerged onto the fourth floor balcony and dangled his child over the railing, as a crowd of fans and media gathered below. Jackson held the baby under the armpits with one arm as the baby flailed, a sight that would make any parent gasp. The child, whose face was covered by a cloth, was Jackson's own son, a boy who is less than one year old.
Michael Jackson says he "made a terrrible mistake" in a written statement released Tuesday night. The popstar goes on to say he got "caught up in the excitement" when fans below the window asked to see the baby. "I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children," the statment read.
"If Michael Jackson were just some nobody, we wouldn't care as much. This would be a video for cops and not for all the entertainment shows," said Christopher John Farley, a Time magazine entertainment editor. "But because he's Michael Jackson, and because he is so famous that's why it's so sad. Because of how far he seems to have fallen."
Who Is That Masked Man?
For all the accolades and multi-platinum records that he has received over the years, it is Jackson's increasingly bizarre behavior that has gotten attention. In public, he appears as a masked man, hiding surgery upon surgery under a surgical mask — purportedly to ward off germs. Then there's his bleached-out skin, and the allegations that he had been sexually abusing a minor.
But this year, Jackson may have set a new standard.
In July, he made racial allegations against the head of his long-time record company, Sony Music chief Tommy Mottola, accusing him of being "racist and very, very, very devilish."
"I made millions of dollars for Sony and what they did was really terrible," Jackson said. "He has got to go. He has got to be told."
Then in August, at the MTV Video Music Awards, singer Britney Spears introduced him as the "artist of the millennium" as she called him up to the stage to present an honorary birthday gift. He had turned 44 that day.
But Jackson stepped up to thank everyone for naming him "artist of the millennium." "God bless you all," Jackson said before launching into a speech.
The problem was, the "artist of the millennium" award did not actually exist.
Not Winning Fans
Just last week, when Jackson was called to defend himself in a $21 million lawsuit filed by a concert promoter, there were the photos in which the tip of the pop singer's nose appeared to be peeling off.
Judging by the sales of Jacko's latest album, which came in at an all-time low of just two million copies, it seems that his bizarre behavior is costing him. The episode in Berlin probably won't win back any of Jackson's fans.
"People aren't going to look at this and say 'Hey, I'm going to go out and buy another Michael Jackson CD'," Farley said.