AceShowbiz - Sheryl Crow has spoken out about her alleged experience of being sexually harassed by Michael Jackson's manager Frank DiLeo. In a new interview, the former backup singer for the King of Pop revealed that she once got a "crash course" in the music industry after being "repeatedly" harassed.
In an interview with The Independent published on Saturday, June 13, the 59-year-old opened up about the ordeal. The "If It Makes You Happy" singer was 25 years old when she joined the "Heal the World" singer on his 18-month tour. She revealed to the outlet that Frank, who passed away at the age of 63 in 2011, repeatedly made sexual advances to her. She even stressed that the late manager vowed to end her career if she didn't agree at the time.
"It's really interesting to go back and revisit some of this old stuff and the experiences that went along with it, and then to compare it with where we are now," Sheryl told the publication. She added, "To be able to play that stuff about the long bout of sexual harassment I endured during the Michael Jackson tour and to talk about it in the midst of the 'MeToo' movement ... it feels like we've come a long way, but it doesn't feel like we're quite there yet."
Sheryl continued, "Naivete is such a beautiful thing." The nine-time Grammy-winning singer recalled, "It was incredible in every way, shape, and form for a young person from a really small town to see the world and to work with arguably the greatest pop star." She then pointed out, "But I also got a crash course in the music industry."
Elsewhere in the interview, Sheryl went on to reflect on tabloid stories that said Michael had fallen in love with his "sexy backing singer" and had even promised her $2 million to have his child. In her biography audiobook "Words + Music", published in September 2020, she speculated that it was Frank who planted the stories "to make Mike look like he was interested in women."
Sheryl believed that Frank was the one who was interested in her, offering to make her famous while sexually harassing her. She further said that if she resisted his advances or told anyone, he threatened to end her career. Then, she did exactly that before returning to her Los Angeles apartment in 1989, where she suffered from depression for a long time.
The "Real Gone" singer told The Independent that her memoir "was the first time [she has] ever talked about it and it felt really uncomfortable." She added, "But it felt, to me, so much more empowering to be able to talk about it and then play the music that was inspired by it." She then concluded, "Isn't that what music is really for? To help us work through whatever our experiences are, and hopefully for the collective to find their own situations in your music too?"
Sheryl herself has never given explicit details about the incidents, but she referenced Frank on two songs from her 1993 debut album, "Tuesday Night Music Club". "What I Can Do for You" was written from the perspective of an abuser and "The Na-Na Song" explicitly mentions the late manager by his name.