Michael Jackson said he made a "terrible mistake" by holding his young son over the railing of a fourth-floor balcony at a Berlin hotel to show fans who wanted to see the child.

Michael Jackson said he made a "terrible mistake" by holding his young son over the railing of a fourth-floor balcony at a Berlin hotel to show fans who wanted to see the child. The incident shocked the worldwide audience who later watched the scene on video. German and U.S. television news programs repeatedly broadcast footage of the reclusive pop star's brief appearance yesterday (Nov. 19) at the Hotel Adlon.

The boy had a white cloth over his head as Jackson held him with one arm around his waist over the edge of the hotel's iron balcony railing. The child, wearing a baby blue jumper, was the singer's third and youngest, Prince Michael II, according to a spokesperson for the Bambi entertainment award ceremony, which Jackson is attending in Berlin.

Last night, Jackson issued a statement saying he had gotten carried away when fans below the window asked to see the baby. "I made a terrible mistake," he said. "I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children."

Dozens of fans had gathered outside the hotel, just opposite Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate, and security had to remove some from the lobby. Several carried banners, including one that said "Save the Kids," with drawings of children's faces, a reference to Jackson's philanthropy.

Jackson, wearing a bright red shirt, smiled and waved to the fans, at one point tossing a small white towel to the crowd below. The singer then went inside and retrieved the toddler, using one arm to hold the boy out over the iron rail. Fans cheered as the pop star appeared with the child, but Jackson quickly retreated into his hotel room.

Little is known about Prince Michael II. People Magazine reported in August that he is six months old. The magazine, citing an anonymous friend, said the boy was not adopted and did not identify the mother. The singer also has two children with ex-wife Debbie Rowe: a 5-year-old boy -- also named Prince Michael -- and a 4-year-old girl, Paris. The couple divorced in 1999.

In Berlin, Jackson was taking a break from a California courtroom where he testified last week in a $21 million lawsuit claiming he backed out of concerts. He arrived in Berlin to pick up a Bambi for life achievement. Today, he is to attend a benefit for homeless children and a charity auction where he will put a jacket and hat on the block.


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