CALENDER: 08. July



Thu 08 Jul 2004


Web insults close Michael's site

Singer George Michael has shut down his website messageboard because so-called fans had been using it to log disparaging comments about him.

The pop star, 41, said it was "sad" to see the forum "packed full of negative comment", saying he wanted nothing to do with the "bitching" on the site.

Website users had accused of him of being old and overweight and failing to promote his latest album, Patience.

Others had complained about the quality of his recordings.

In a farewell message on the site, Michael said: "As many of you will know, much of my reasoning for the future is to stay away from the negativity of the media.

"I think that it is bad for me and for music in general, so I find it really sad to see the forums so packed full of negative comment, and that so many genuinely positive fans find themselves defending me... constantly against attack. How pointless."

He went on: "There are plenty of places to read people slagging each other off, but I wasn't trying to create one in opening the forum.

"Those of you that want to carry on the media's work will have to do it somewhere else."

George Michael's website

George Michael sent fans a farewell message

He said he "felt bad" for genuine fans who had supported him in the forums, but signed off saying: "Sorry guys, but that's the way it goes... Peace and Love... or nothing at all."

After hearing of the closure, disappointed fans said they feared the move would only create more negative publicity for the singer.

One branded him a "control freak" and said: "It smacks of someone unhappy we're not all heaping praise on him at every turn and that's sad.

"The people who read and contribute to these boards are fans."

Another said the decision was "ludicrous", posting a message saying: "It's a fans' forum, it's freedom of speech and I don't think it's down to George to take his ball home and say 'I'm not playing any more.'"

George Michael said the forum would remain open for two weeks to enable fans who had built up friendships online to arrange other ways to stay in touch. The rest of the website remains open.