Bits & Pieces

Non-chimo croons for children

LONDON – Michael Jackson gave his first public performance Wednesday since his acquittal on child molestation charges a year and a half ago – a fleeting rendition of "We are the World," surrounded by youthful singers.

Jackson, 48, sang at the World Music Awards in London, which was honoring him with an award commemorating the 25th anniversary of his hugely popular album, Thriller.

But the reclusive pop icon, who has been traveling in Europe since his June 2005 acquittal in California, did not perform the album title song as some expected. Instead, he appeared on stage and sang among a group of swaying, clapping kids – until the musical accompaniment inexplicably stopped.

"There have been so many people who have loved me and stood by me. I love all the fans from the bottom of my heart," Jackson said before flinging his black jacket into the crowd and exiting the stage.


O.J. Simpson a gross asshole

NEW YORK – O.J. Simpson created an uproar Wednesday with plans for a TV interview and book titled If I Did It, an account the publisher pronounced "his confession" and media executives condemned as revolting and exploitative.

Fox, which plans to air an interview with Simpson Nov. 27 and 29, said Simpson describes how he would have committed the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, "if he were the one responsible."

Denise Brown, sister of Simpson’s slain ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, lashed out at publisher Judith Regan of ReganBooks for "promoting the wrongdoing of criminals" and commercializing abuse. The book goes on sale Nov. 30.

She added: "It’s unfortunate that Simpson has decided to awaken a nightmare that we have painfully endured and worked so hard to move beyond."

Regan refused to say what Simpson is being paid for the book, but said he came to her with the idea.

"This is an historic case, and I consider this his confession," Regan told the Associated Press.


Slater loses in dance with stars

NEW YORK – Emmitt Smith, three-time Super Bowl champion, was named the winner of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars Wednesday night.

The NFL’s all-time leading rusher beat out actor Mario Lopez.

The hunky, dimpled Lopez was generally regarded as the series’ most dynamic celebrity dancer, but the public’s vote, the deciding factor after the contestants had tied in the judges’ tally at Tuesday’s final dance-off, brought Smith the victory.


Philip Morris cares about children – really!

RICHMOND, Va. – The nation’s largest cigarette maker is asking Hollywood not to put its products on the big screen, citing studies that have shown cinematic portrayals of tobacco use can entice children to smoke.

Richmond-based Philip Morris USA said Wednesday that it will run advertisements in Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and other trade publications imploring moviemakers: "Please Don’t Give Our Cigarette Brands a Part in Your Movie."

The ad campaign begins this week and will last several months, Philip Morris spokesman David Sutton said. He said the initiative was conceived after meetings with entertainment industry representatives.

But Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the industry has been unmoved by previous appeals to shield children from smoking scenes.

"Hollywood has ignored the very serious problem that smoking in the movies contributes to youth tobacco use," said Myers, adding that "the problem goes beyond which brands are shown."