Hollywood director Spike Lee was prepared to pay off a drug lord to film a Michael Jackson video, it’s been claimed. Picture: AP
Hollywood director Spike Lee was prepared to pay off a drug lord to film a Michael Jackson video, it’s been claimed. Picture: AP

Jackson relied on drug lord for protection

SPIKE Lee was prepared to pay off a Brazilian drug lord so he could film Michael Jackson in a Rio slum.

The BlacKkKlansman director shot Jacko's 1996 music video They Don't Care About Us in the Santa Marta favela, a hillside shanty town that was controlled by Márcio Amaro de Oliveira (aka Marcinho VP), according to the New York Post.

"To guarantee Michael's security, we had to speak with the drug kingpin Marcinho VP because the Brazilian police refused to climb the hills of the slum," Lee, interviewed in London, told the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.

 

Spike Lee directed the King of Pop’s They Don’t Care About Us video. Picture: Getty Images
Spike Lee directed the King of Pop’s They Don’t Care About Us video. Picture: Getty Images

 

But when questioned about the incident by the New York Post, Lee said: "We didn't pay a dime. Just asked permission".

"The guy was a big Michael Jackson fan," he added, according to Page Six.

Brazilian-born Brown University graduate Kátia Lund, who was working for Lee, was sent to speak to Marcinho and negotiate for protection.

Lund was so intrigued by the favela subculture, six years later she co-directed City of God, which was nominated for four Academy Awards.

"I didn't get to know Marcinho. He sent me a message that if we decided to make the video with Michael (in the Santa Marta favela), we could lay $1 million on the street, and our film equipment, and no one would touch it," Lee said.

Lee said Marcinho assured him, "With Michael Jackson here, this will be the safest place in the world."

This article was edited and republished from the New York Post with permission.


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