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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Michael Sees Humor in Embarrassing Toilet Arrest




LONDON -- British pop star George Michael said on Saturday he was no longer embarrassed about his arrest in a Los Angeles toilet for lewd conduct and now laughed off the incident.


Michael, who announced that he was homosexual in April a few days after being arrested for exposing himself to a policeman, also denied suggestions that he had engineered the episode to boost his career.


Looking relaxed in a rare in-depth interview with BBC television, the singer joked and laughed about his arrest.


"For a day I was humiliated as hell. I was embarrassed. But after about a day, or a day and a half, I saw the funny side of it. I just thought, you've got to be able to laugh at this. If you can't laugh when everybody else is laughing you are in trouble," Michael, 34, said.


He expressed contrition over a "stupid moment" and acknowledged that he had broken the law when he exposed himself to an undercover policeman in a Los Angeles park toilet.


But he added "I responded to a very handsome, tall, good looking American cop. ... I can't be ashamed of the fact that it was there in front of me and I thought, 'Why not?'


"You don't see it as a massive risk. If there is someone standing there waving their genitals at you, you don't think they are an officer of the law. It's not your first presumption. I fell for the trick, and it was very well done," he said.


Michael, whose latest pop video, "Let's Go Outside," pokes fun at the episode, has enjoyed a revival in the music charts since April. His greatest-hits album has been atop the British album charts for the past month.


He said some people in the music industry had suggested he staged the incident deliberately to attract publicity. But he made light of the suggestion.


"If I was the bravest and most genius pop star in the world, maybe I would have done it deliberately. ... I've never had a record that's done so well," he said, looking stylish in a dark pinstriped suit.


"But believe me, I would rather have run up and down [London's] Oxford Street naked saying 'I'm gay, I'm gay' than have it happen the way it did."


But, setting the tone for the interview, Michael said he was honored to be a guest on Michael Parkinson's talk show, and joked to gales of laughter from the audience that "I had to take my willie out to get on here."