The singer Sheryl Crow is opening up this week about the sexual harassment she faced while on tour with Michael Jackson back in 1987.
“Naiveté is such a beautiful thing,” Crow told the Independent. “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. But I also got a crash course in the music industry.”
Crow went on to say that she was repeatedly hit with sexual harassment by Jackson’s manager, Frank DiLeo, who promised to make her famous and threatened that if she said no or told anyone what he was doing, he would destroy her career.
During the tour, tabloids claimed that Jackson was romantically involved with his “sexy backing singer” and that he had offered her $2 million to have his child. Crow said that she believes that these stories were intentionally planted by DiLeo, who died in 2011, “to make Mike look like he was interested in women.”
When she looks back at this time in her life, Crow said that it’s “really interesting” how much things have changed (or not) since then.
“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,” she said.
While Crow said that talking about her sexual harassment was “really uncomfortable,” she also found it “so much more empowering to be able to talk about it and then play the music that was inspired by it. 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?”
Crow has also faced her fair share of health struggles, as she was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2006.
“I was 44 years old, no cancer in my history, was very healthy, ate well, very athletic. It was just a random mammogram, and I wound up being diagnosed with stage one breast cancer,” Crow previously told Yahoo Entertainment. “And so, I wound up being a sort of a spokesperson for it, because I think it really does matter. I think part of that was laying on that radiation table and having to sort of meet myself.”