below, release from Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.)
Congressman Bobby Rush says U.S. Rep. Peter King must apologize to Michael Jackson's mother, children for offensive comments
CHICAGO - Today, U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (IL-01) said he was offended and insulted by the comments of New York Rep. Peter King after he called Michael Jackson a "pervert" and questioned the extensive media coverage of the pop star's death. "This guy was a pervert," the New York legislator said in the video, shot Sunday by a staff member outside an American Legion hall and posted to You Tube. "He was a child molester. He was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country?" The east coast legislator reiterated his statements today.
Rush, who met with the singer in 2004, and has been a supporter of the Jackson family for several decades demanded an apology from King and said he should be ashamed of himself for politically exploiting the tragic death of the music superstar by expressing headline-grabbing fodder as he contemplates a run for higher office.
"How dare Rep. King utter such scandalous and outlandish comments about Michael Jackson, when he has never opened his mouth to criticize his own colleagues who have been were accused of morally reprehensible, criminal or indecent acts and were forced to resign from public office," said Rush. "Michael Jackson, was found innocent of the allegation against him and has never been classified in any court as being a pedophile. Therefore my collegague's position is just an opinion and not a statement of fact.
"Michael will forever live in the memories of tens of millions of people around the world as one of the most creative, engaging and prolific artist of his generation," Rush continued. "To millions of African Americans children, specifically, his story of being born to a working class family in Gary, Indiana, to becoming one of the world's biggest stars illustrates the benefits of hard work, discipline, perseverance and self-determination. His story, from his humble beginnings, to his tragic passing at age 50 should be told. For Rep. King to use Jackson's death as a springboard to a campaign for a U.S. Senate seat is unacceptable. He owes Michael's mother, Katherine, his children, the entire Jackson family, and his legions of fans an apology."