Jackson Family Defends Michael, Chides Russell Simmons, Ricky Martin

Jermaine Jackson issues statement reprimanding Tommy Mottola's defenders.

As artists and activists start to take sides in Michael Jackson's ongoing

battle with Sony, the singer's family has stepped into the fray with

none-too-subtle threats to sue for libel.

Speaking for the Jackson family, Jermaine Jackson released a statement late

Tuesday chiding those who've defended Tommy Mottola, chairman of Sony Music,

and reprimanding comedians for ripping Jackson apart in their acts (see

"Michael Jackson Shocks Al Sharpton By

Calling Tommy Mottola A Racist").

"Industry types, such as Russell Simmons and Ricky Martin ... [are]

uninformed and should wait to hear the facts before making derisive

statements about Michael," the statement read. "Comedians Dennis Miller and

Robin Williams and others who bad-mouth and make comedic references to the

scandalous [child molestation] allegations that he faced several years [ago]

need to be reminded that not only was Michael not convicted of any crime, he

was never charged nor was he ever indicted. Any statements to the contrary

are libelous and subject to legal action."

In defending Mottola, Martin — a Sony artist — told the New

York Post on Sunday that he didn't think Jackson's accusation that

Mottola is a racist had any foundation, but Martin didn't say anything more

about Jackson other than, "I've met Michael a few times, and I wish him the

best. But I had no idea why he said that."

Simmons had also talked to the Post to defend Mottola and has

questioned the validity of Jackson's claim that Invincible didn't

sell because of lack of promotion on Sony's part. "There are two things I

know," he told the Post. "Tommy Mottola is not a racist, and in black

music, especially, you don't need $30 million to make an album successful.

If it's a hit record, it'll stick on its own."

Williams joked about Jackson during a New York standup performance televised

on HBO on Sunday. Referring to Jackson's charge of racism against Sony,

Williams said, "You've got to pick a race first."

"My brother is black," Jermaine Jackson responded in the statement. "No one

has the right to question his race."

Calling for an audit of Sony's books, the Jackson family accused the label

of inflating the figures it says it spent making and promoting

Invincible ($30 million to make the record, $25 million to promote).

The statement also alleged that Michael has been cheated out of royalty

earnings.

"We believe that the amount of record sales attributed to Michael is

underestimated," the statement read. "We believe that the financial records

are inflated and not accurate. There are numerous artists who are deceived

by record companies who overwhelm them with lawyers, accountants,

publicists, double talk, false practices and shady business dealings."

The family also took aim at people within Michael's own camp.

"The people that he has working for him, where are they?" the statement

reads. "Why won't they stand up for him? Their non-support is eerily similar

to when Michael faced molestation allegations. None in his camp stood up for

him. His family was left to take the fight to the media to refute the

terrible allegations against him. ... I hope that Michael now understands

that he must rid himself of those who only want to reap the benefits of

being associated with Michael Jackson yet does nothing for him."

Sony had no response to the family's statement on Wednesday, but the label

previously addressed Michael's complaints by saying: "Sony Music spared no

expense in creating and executing a series of global marketing, promotion

and publicity campaigns in support of the album. We are proud of what we

have accomplished with Invincible."