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Nicole Richie defends Michael Jackson, while Paris Hilton blows off Letterman


By Wade Paulsen, 11/21/2003 

Apparently Nicole Richie felt left out.

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Nicole, who co-stars with scandal-plagued Paris Hilton in Fox's upcoming The Simple Life, has plunged into the controversy surrounding 45-year-old onetime pop superstar and accused child molester Michael Jackson. On the Nov. 20th edition of Access Hollywood, Nicole, the 21-year-old daughter of another onetime pop superstar, Lionel Richie, and Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records (and the former boss of both Lionel and Michael), offered defenses of Jackson.

Nicole, in particular, supported Jackson against the charges of improper sexual behavior with children. To that end, she offered tales of her own childhood romps at Jackson's Neverland Ranch, during which she often slept in Jackson's bedroom. "“You know, a group of us would all sleep in the same room,” she said. “It was like, absolutely nothing more than just…an adult kind of wanting to be a kid again. Just, you know, enjoying the company of children. I grew up with him. I have spent many evenings there and many days there." Noting that she could "only speak for myself," she still added "that absolutely nothing went on.”

Nicole also said that she wouldn't have held her tongue had Jackson tried anything with her. "I'm not a quiet person,” she said. “If there was something going on, I'd be like 'who are you?’… and I'd tell my parents. But my parents would never put me in hands that they thought were dangerous. I never had any complaints, and you know, I love him.”

We find Nicole's loyalty to the middle-aged plastic-surgery addict commonly known as "Wacko Jacko" to be touching. We note, however, that Nicole is the wrong gender to have been the target of Michael Jackson's affections -- a fact which probably helped her parents conclude that she was safe at Neverland.

As detailed in the arrest warrant (documentation of which is available on The Smoking Gun), Jackson is charged with committing multiple sexual acts with a 12-year-old boy. Previously, Jackson paid a multi-million dollar settlement to another 12-year-old boy over similar allegations. As a result of the "confidentiality provision" in Jackson's previous settlement, California law was changed to void all such provisions; thus, the former target of Jackson's attentions can be required to testify in the new case.

In his segment, Berry Gordy was much more circumspect. Gordy's strongest comment was that he was "hoping" that Jackson would be vindicated. However, it's unlikely that anyone, except maybe Nicole, is hoping for Jackson's vindication more than Sony Music, which is watching Jackson's CD sales vaporize while paying the ex-"King of Pop" millions.

Our only hope is that, wherever Jackson ends up, his access to plastic surgery is cut off.

Meanwhile, newly-crowned porn queen Paris Hilton can't keep herself off the front pages, despite her alleged "embarrassed and humiliated" feelings over her taped sex romp with her married ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon. In today's development. the Associated Press reported that Paris, 22, has cancelled her planned November 26 appearance on CBS'a The Late Show with David Letterman talk show, intended to plug The Simple Life, on the advice of her new publicist.

A spokesperson for the publicist (publicists have spokespersons?) said that Paris wanted to keep a lower profile because of all the attention that her sex tape had received. Yep, that's the normal reason that people like Paris film reality TV shows like The Simple Life -- to keep a lower profile.

We're guessing that Paris' new strategy will be to avoid discussion of The Simple Life if it might turn into discussion of "The Sinful Life" that she has led so far.

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