Michael Jackson fans slam Rolling Stone UK as Harry Styles magazine cover sparks online memefest

On Monday, August 22, Rolling Stone UK magazine called Harry Styles “the new King of Pop” on its October-November cover. This outraged netizens within hours as the title “King of Pop” is associated with the late Michael Jackson.

Taj Jackson, Michael Jackson’s nephew, took to Twitter to criticize Rolling Stone UK’s coverage and use of the nickname. In the tweet, he reminded the publication that they don’t own the rights to use the “king of pop” track.

There is no new King of Pop. You don’t own the title @Rolling Stone, and you didn’t earn it, my uncle did. Decades of dedication and sacrifice. The title has been withdrawn. No disrespect to @Harry Styles, he is mega talented. Give it its own unique title. twitter.com/RollingStoneUK…

Taj then said the title was retired. In the tweet, he also hailed Styles as “mega-talented,” but demanded that he be given “his own unique title.”

Why can’t Harry Styles legally be called the ‘new King of Pop’?

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The title of “King of Pop” already made headlines in 2012 when GourmetGiftBaskets.com, Inc. purchased a domain named KingOfPop.com. This prompted a series of cease-and-desist requests, followed by a lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson’s estate in 2016.

While the outcome of the lawsuit is unknown at this time, the case acknowledged that the late pop star’s estate currently owns the “King of Pop” title mark. This is why Michael Jackson’s nephew chastised Rolling Stone UK for using Harry Styles’ trademarked moniker, as the publication is not allowed to use the moniker for other artists.

According to official public records, the “KING OF POP” wordmark is owned by the estate of Michael Jackson and Triumph International, Inc. The trademark was registered about a month after Jackson’s death in 2009, according to the filing.

The brand is active in several categories ranging from printed products, merchandise and music recordings, among others. This could imply that when Rolling Stone UK called Harry Styles “the new King of Pop”, they infringed on Jackson’s trademark.

The now controversial text on the cover reads: “How the new King of Pop set the music world on fire”. It is not known if there are any other profile articles or interviews in the October-November issue of Rolling Stone UK on Harry Styles, which refer to him as the “new King of Pop”.

Michael Jackson fans are upset that Rolling Stone UK calls Harry Styles ‘the new King of Pop’

After the cover was posted, a legion of twitterati voiced their disapproval of Styles being called the “new King of Pop.” A few tweets claimed that the Rolling Stones UK had already disrespected Jackson on several occasions.

michael jackson could wave times but harry styles could never do wbss https://t.co/pgS63bO5vj

Michael Jackson didn’t give us the best-selling album of all time, invented an entire dance style, broke racial barriers, revolutionized the music industry, gave us immortal anthems, and became god for you all to call Harry Styles the “new king of pop”. “https://t.co/zDFEObY8Qy

No disrespect to Harry Styles as an artist, but what we’re not going to do is toss the King of Pop title like it’s an inheritable title. It will always be Michael Jackson, just as the Queen of Pop will always be Madonna. They shaped what pop music is today.

The British media went almost 10 years without really comparing One Direction to their glorified band The Beatles. By the time Harry Styles and Zayn went solo, they methodically dusted off good ol’ New Michael Jackson. 😴

There is no new King of Pop. The King of Pop is and always will be Michael Jackson. And even if there was a new King of Pop, it definitely wouldn’t be Harry Styles. twitter.com/RollingStoneUK…

lol, what? Nothing against Harry Styles, but he’s not the new King of Pop. That title still belongs to Michael Jackson. You called Justin Timberlake the same a lot and that was a huge failure too. Stop trying to take the crown from MJ. It doesn’t happen. twitter.com/RollingStoneUK… https://t.co/1Zrn2UZHJ6

While a handful of tweets conveyed hateful comments about Styles and indulged in homophobic slurs towards the artist, most tweets showed respect towards the ‘As it was‘ artist.

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