When Sheryl Crow toured with Michael Jackson in 1987, she reportedly experienced harassment from the pop star’s manager.
Crow was only 25-year-old at the time when she took on the backup singing gig, according to The Independent – a British online newspaper.
The singer and songwriter told the news outlet she experienced sexual harassment from Jackson’s manager Frank DiLeo, who would have been 39-years-old at the start of the “Bad World Tour” in September 1987.
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Crow’s allegation comes nearly a decade after DiLeo passed away at age 63, and nearly 12 years after Jackson passed away at age 50.
“Naiveté 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 told The Independent. “But I also got a crash course in the music industry.”
Crow, 59, claims DiLeo repeatedly approached her with quid pro quo offers to make her a star. She also says he threatened to ruin her career if she reported him or spoke out about his advances.
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However, this isn’t the first time Crow has opened up about the harassment she faced early on in her career.
In 1993, Crow namedropped DiLeo in the sixth song from her 1993 album “Tuesday Night Music Club.” The 3-minute and 12-secone tune “The Na-Na Song” mentions Jackson’s former manager near the end of her third verse.
“Clarence Thomas organ grinder Frank DiLeo’s dong,” Crow sings as a dig to DiLeo. “Maybe if I’d him I’d have had a hit song.”
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The singer also talked about the alleged harassment in 2017 as a way to support 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 bc the guy could do a lot for me,” Crow wrote at the time. “…so I wrote songs about it on my first record.”
In her interview with The Independent, Crow says she thinks sexual harassment is taken more seriously in recent decades, but there is still room for improvement.
“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 told the news outlet.
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Jackson and DiLeo parted ways in February 1989, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The pop star isn’t the only big name DiLeo has worked with. Other stars who collaborated with the talent manager include Prince, Jodeci, Cyndi Lauper, Ozzy Osbourne, Gloria Estefan and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora.
By 2007, DiLeo had founded DiLeo Entertainment Group in Nashville, which was a talent management company that was meant to launch the careers of young artists, according to Music Row.
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Despite the hardships Crow has faced, she grew to become a global star in her own time. She’s won nine Grammy Awards out of 31 nominations, and has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.