The botched launch of a perfume in memory of pop icon Michael Jackson caused a stink this week, as his father distanced himself from a Frenchman behind the deal, and a lawsuit disputed their rights.
The scents were due to be presented to the world at a press conference Thursday in a nightclub at the Caesars Palace hotel-casino in Las Vegas, with socialite Paris Hilton and various Jackson family members involved.
But the event descended into chaos when Joe Jackson, backed briefly by his daughter La Toya, made it clear he wanted to avoid any physical contact with Rouas, head of the perfume company Julian Rouas Paris.
“I don’t like the way he does things. But the initiative to create the scents was mine, and that plan goes ahead,” Joe Jackson told AFP.
The Jackson patriarch down played the legal problems with using his dead son’s name, a money-spinning brand owned officially by an estate from which he was excluded in the King of Pop’s will.
“They can say whatever they want. I am the father, he was my son and I can decide what to do on his behalf and in his honor,” said the 82-year-old, clad in a black suit, red necktie, fedora hat and various gold chains.
“There are many interests around the legacy of my son, companies that want everything, but I have a foundation that allows me to launch projects with his name, the name of my son.”
A day before the botched launch, a lawsuit was filed in a Los Angeles court on behalf of Bravado, the company which holds the commercial rights to sell products under Michael Jackson’s name.
The lawsuit said Rouas and Jackson were “unlicensed distributors who have been using the Michael Jackson trademark and/or a mark confusing similar thereto … In connection with perfume that defendants are attempting to sell.”
Bravado seeks a ban on the perfume’s sale, as well as 150,000 dollars in damages and 750 dollars for each time Jackson’s name is wrongly used on a product.
“Some people will always try to prevent my efforts because they do not want me and there are some media, like TMZ, that are against me,” Joe said, referring to the celebrity news website. “But they can’t do anything.”
La Toya Jackson gave her backing, albeit briefly, saying: “My family is delighted with this tribute to my brother from my father, the scents are delicious.”
LOL he has some nerve to say that others are just using his son for cash . . . yet Joe's the one coming out with MJ "tribute" perfumes and MJ-branded ice cream. OH.