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18 Aug 2011

Organisers of a Michael Jackson tribute concert in Cardiff have been criticised for booking Kiss after the rock band said the star was a child abuser.

Kiss were removed from the bill after controversy over comments bassist Gene Simmons made last year. Jackson was cleared of child molestation in 2005.

His brother Jermaine said: "This mishandling reinforces my view that this promoter is getting it all wrong."

Christina Aguilera and Leona Lewis are due to take part in the October show.

The Michael Forever concert is being endorsed by Jackson's mother Katherine and several siblings, but has been opposed by brothers Jermaine and Randy.

The furore over Kiss' booking stems from an interview Simmons gave to Classic Rock magazine last February, in which he said: "Where there's smoke there's fire. There's no question in my mind he molested those kids. Not a doubt."

Jermaine Jackson took to Twitter to say he was "appalled" that promoter Global Live had invited the group, echoing the views of many fans online.

He continued: "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."

Jermaine said a tribute concert should take place after the trial of Michael's doctor Conrad Murray, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter. The trial is due to start in September.

In a statement, Global Events Live chief executive Chris Hunt calling the Kiss booking an "oversight".

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," he said.

Meanwhile, Howard Weitzman, a lawyer for Jackson's estate, has written to Global Live saying the executors were "disappointed" at the decision to include Kiss, and raised other questions about the show.

They asked whether all the artists booked to appear would perform and whether any of the show's proceeds would be going to charity, as promoters have claimed.

Global Live has not yet publicly responded to those questions.

Other stars set to appear at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 8 October include Cee Lo Green, Smokey Robinson, boy band JLS and Jackson's nephews 3T.


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