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By George Herming

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 15) – Pop Star Michael Jackson’s acquittal from charges of child abuse in the United States was celebrated by fans in the Solomon Islands yesterday.

In Honiara, local radio hosts shared the news of the acquittal.

Jackson’s role in the entertainment world has attracted many Solomons fans in the 1980’s, 90’s and lately, making his songs popular on local radio stations.

SIBC’s Modi Nanau recalled Jackson’s hit songs, including "Thriller and Black or White," in mid 1980’s, which attracted a very large audience making him a popular singer on the national broadcaster.

"We have callers requesting these hits frequently when we play them on the radio. His songs captured a wide range of audience when Jackson emerged in the 80’s," Modi said.

Modi said the case had crashed the pop star’s fame on the national radio when the trial begun two years ago.

However, Modi was sympathetic with the family and children who were involved in the case, pointing out that the acquittal has brought them under the spotlight which is likely to have negative repercussions on them.

Paoa FM’s breakfast show host, Brian Taupiri said Michael Jackson is an international icon in the entertainment industry and the case has broken his popularity curtain.

"The case has affected his fame among local fans. It is like a scar that will remain whenever we talk about Michael Jackson. But justice has proven his innocence," Brian said.

A senior ZFM official who wish not to be named said the court has proven the pop star’s innocence.

"What else can be done?" the official said.

Former radio host and Jackson’s hardcore fun since childhood, Uma Darcy was overwhelmed yesterday with the news, creating a double joy for her predictions over Jackson’s acquittal.

"I’ve been a fan since childhood because he is a great entertainer and I predicted his victory when the trial started. He cares so much about his body, especially his skin and makeup," said Darcy.

She said many entertainers today have been imitating Jackson’s dancing style, which shows that the pop star is also an influential entertainer.

Jackson was cleared of all 10 charges, including four counts that he molested a boy in early 2003.

He was also charged with providing the boy with wine - "Jesus juice", the pop star called it - and conspiring with members of his inner circle to hold the accuser and his family captive to get them to rebut a damaging documentary.

In the Living with Michael Jackson documentary made by a British journalist, Jackson held hands with the boy and acknowledged sharing his bed with children, a practice he described as "sweet" and "not at all sexual."

Jackson agreed to take part in the documentary because he hoped it would help his image after years of eccentric behaviour that included transforming his face through plastic surgery.

But the airing of the program in February 2003 triggered intense media scrutiny of Jackson’s relationship with the boy, as well as calls for investigations.

The boy, now 15, testified that Jackson twice masturbated him. The boy’s brother testified he twice witnessed Jackson fondle the boy as he slept.

The trial seemed to wear Jackson down. He lost weight, and the artist known for his electric, moon walking performances was rendered motionless, seemingly frozen in his courtroom chair as his private world became utterly public.

Prosecutors portrayed Jackson as being in dire financial straits because of heavy spending. Jackson’s Thriller album from 1982 is one of the best-selling albums of all time, but his dominance of pop music eroded around the time molestation allegations began to arise in the 1990s.

"I haven’t been betrayed or deceived by children," he said. "Adults have let me down."

June 16, 2005

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

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