The Danish shopping mall Rødovre Centrum has announced that a figure of Michael Jackson will be included in a display of 'famous idols', alongside likenesses of Brad Pitt, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts, despite previous assurances to the contrary.
The decision to remove Michael Jackson from the exhibition was made following a public outcry; critics cited renewed allegations of sexual misconduct against minors made against Jackson, who died in 2009, after a poster showing the late pop singer was published by Rødovre Centrum.
Rødovre Center marketing director Charlotte Andersen admitted to receiving a lot of negative feedback from customers who thought it was problematic.
"We were afraid that the statue would offend our customers and be vandalised, so we removed it," Andersen told TV2.
However, yet another, more powerful outcry from Michael Jackson fans prompted the mall's bosses to reverse their stance. The Michael Jackson's statue, which so far has remained conspicuously absent from the exhibition, will be back starting from 13 February.
The mall's CEO Jesper Andreasen argued on Facebook that it was an "expression of unnecessary caution" to remove the Michael Jackson figure.
"There's no shame in giving something an extra think, and that's what we've done. There are many very different opinions about Michael Jackson, who was never found guilty of any of the accusations against him. Therefore, it was an overreaction to remove him from the exhibition," Jesper Andreasen said, stressing that the mall does not pass judgements.
Again, the reception was far from unilateral, as Rødovre Centrum's Facebook page was flooded with jarring comments, ranging from admiration to hate.
While some hailed Jackson's "return" as a restoration of justice and a proof of his innocence and even went so far as to demand that his songs should be played the whole morning as a sign of apology, others solemnly vowed to never visit the mall ever again.
"I won't spend a single krone in your centre after this idiotic kneeling. You have made your decision. So does your customer base," a user wrote.