Sheryl Crow has alleged that she was sexually harassed by Michael Jackson‘s manager Frank DiLeo whilst working as a backup singer during the Bad World Tour in 1987.
In an interview with The Independent, Sheryl Crow detailed that during the tour DiLeo repeatedly offered quid pro quo offers to make her a star. Crow alleges that DiLeo threatened to ruin her career should she speak out about his advances. At the time, Crow was 25 and DiLeo 39.
“Naivety is such a beautiful thing. 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,” Crow said. “But I also got a crash course in the music industry.”
Crow previously alluded to the alleged harassment back in 2017, at the height of the #MeToo Movement. “A manager on my first big tour as a backup singer. When I went to a lawyer he told me to suck it up because the guy could do a lot for me,” Crow wrote at the time. “So I wrote songs about it on my first record.”
Crowe name-checked DiLeo on ‘The Na-Na Song’, taken from her debut 1993 record Tuesday Night Music Club.
“Clarence Thomas organ grinder Frank DiLeo’s dong,” Crow sings. “Maybe if I’d let him I’d have had a hit song.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Crow mused that she believes that sexual harassment is treated more seriously in this modern age, though there is still change to be made.
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“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 mused.
DiLeo worked alongside Jackson until February 1989. Over the course of his career he also worked alongside pop-culture juggernauts Prince, Jodeci, Cyndi Lauper, Ozzy Osbourne, Gloria Estefan and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora.
DiLeo died in August 2011.