Michael Jackson is being honored in his hometown of Gary, Indiana, as the school board plans to rename a school after the iconic pop star. Meanwhile, Jackson’s estate is wrapped up in another legal battle after a movie memorabilia store started auctioning off historic photos of M.J.
It is fair to say that Jackson was engulfed in controversy in the years prior to his death, but that isn’t stopping his hometown from remembering him as a musical genius and a major influence in the entertainment industry.
Gary’s school board announced on Tuesday that it will rename a school after the king of pop to “inspire children to excel in the arts and education.”
The district’s superintendent, Cheryl Pruitt, is working with the Jackson family to decide which school should be renamed.
Although there has been some criticism, Pruitt insists that a “close relationship with the Jackson family” could help “improve the quality of programs for the Gary Community School Corp.”
According to Pruitt, that could lead to tremendous gains for the school district and the city.
Social media users have already reacted, noting that the pop star was once charged with child molestation, making the decision to name a school after him an odd one. Jackson was acquitted of all charges in 2005.
“Name a school for Michael Jackson,” one user tweeted. “No….no… nothing creepy about that.”
Another user wrote, “I get that he’s a musical legend but maybe a school wasn’t the BEST idea.”
One user, who describes herself as being a “proud single mother of two,” felt like the change in school names could lead to bullying.
“I just don’t think it’s fair,” her string of tweets started. “I respect MJ as much as anyone else. But [couldn’t] this be troubling for children? I feel like this might lead to teasing.”
However, the school board is not letting online criticism impact their decision.
A spokeswoman for the schools said that they did not take the child molestation charges into consideration when deciding to name a school after the “Thriller” crooner, since he was acquitted of the charges.
Instead, the spokeswoman said, the school board focused on the fact that M.J. was one of the “most beloved artists in the world.”
Meanwhile, Jackson’s estate is in the midst of a legal battle.
A movie memorabilia store, Premiere Props, has auctioned off photos of the musical legend from his 1984 Victory Tour with his brothers.
According to TMZ, which also obtained the court documents, Jackson hired a photographer to shoot pictures of the concert, which would give his estate all the rights to the photos.
The store has pictures varying in price from $200 to $2,000.
Jackson’s estate is suing for all profits earned from auctioning off the photos, and wants Premier Props to be forced to stop selling them.