More turmoil for Michael Forever

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Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, hitherto restricted to top-class sport and occasional concerts, has unwittingly become a battleground in the continuing farrago surrounding Michael Forever, the Michael Jackson tribute concert due to take place on 8 October.

As we reported yesterday Kiss were added to the line-up, despite quotes attributed to the group's lead singer Gene Simmons, accusing Jackson of paedophilia. Overnight, news has emerged that Kiss have now been removed from the event by promoter Global Live Events (GLE).

GLE's Chris Hunt said in a statement. "Under the circumstances we fully agree that even though Kiss is a band Michael admired we have no choice but to rescind our invitation to them to appear in our tribute concert.

"We offer our sincerest apologies to Mrs Jackson and the family for this oversight - our primary concern must be to do justice to Michael's memory, and to put on a tribute that the family and the fans will find suitable and fit for a King, our King of Pop."

According to MTV this latest news comes on top of an increasingly bitter row between Jackson's estate and the concert organisers.

Estate lawyer Howard Weitzman has sent a letter to the concert organisers, saying: "I represent the Executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson. As the legal caretakers of Michael's intellectual property, we believe it is our duty to contact you directly regarding the growing number of questions that have been addressed to the Estate, as well as multiple concerns that have emerged in recent days."

While the organisers of Michael Forever have been careful not to impinge on the intellectual property owned by the estate, it is clear that a wedge is being driven between the parties and increasingly the concert is looking like it's floundering.

BBC Entertainment and Arts quote Michael's brother Jermaine on Twitter:

"This mishandling reinforces my view that this promoter is getting it all wrong. It also saddens me that my mother is being used to promote this event. Does Global Live really need an 81-year-old woman to prop up its event? Stop.

"I hear you all. Global Live mishandled this booking in the same way it has misjudged the event's timing and mood of the fan community."

With fans sceptical over the booking processes, the lacklustre line-up and lack of clarity over the charitable element, it's far from a guaranteed success. It will be interesting to see if the high-profile acts confirmed for the concert will stay supportive if the concert continues to be beset by problems.

The letter from Weitzman concludes: "Michael Jackson always made sure his fans were treated to concert experiences so spectacular that they would remember the evening for the rest of their lives. He always treated his fans with the utmost respect. In light of the questions raised above and the confusion surrounding this 'event,' we are extremely concerned about Michael's legacy, his fans and the public-at-large."

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