What happened after Michael Jackson's hair caught fire during a Pepsi advert

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Paramedics wheel Michael Jackson into Brotman Memorial Hospital after being burned during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. Exploding fireworks set his jacket and hair on fire giving him second degree burns on his scalp. | Location: Brotman Memorial Hospital, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Paramedics wheel Michael Jackson into Brotman Memorial Hospital after being burned during the filming of a Pepsi commercial (Getty)

This article is part of Yahoo's 'On This Day' series

When Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire during the third take of an Eighties Pepsi commercial, he was dancing - and had no idea his hairdo was ablaze.

The pop star kept on dancing down the stairs on the set, until a friend ran up to him, wrestled him to the ground and put it out.

Jackson was already a solo star by this time, but recorded the video with his brothers from the Jackson Five on this day in 1984.

The video shoot involved pyrotechnics, and an explosion meant that embers set fire to Jackson’s hair.

Make-up artist Karen Faye, who worked with Jackson for 27 years, testified in a later court case: “I never saw anything like that in my life. This was someone I knew and he was on fire.”

Michael Jackson's hair briefly caught fire during filming for the Pepsi commercial.
Michael Jackson's hair briefly caught fire during filming for the Pepsi commercial.
1981 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS - Gallery - Airdate: January 30, 1981. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
MICHAEL JACKSON, FAVORITE SOUL/R&B MALE ARTIST WITH PRESENTER LA TOYA JACKSON
Michael Jackson wins favourite soul/R&B artist at the American Music Awards in 1981. (Getty)

“All his hair was gone and there was smoke coming out of his head.”

Faye said that Jackson said that he continued dancing because, “I can’t disappoint the audience.”

He collapsed and was taken to hospital.

Jackson’s doctor Steven Hoefflin said that the star was “quite shaken up with a palm-sized area of second-degree and small area of third-degree burns”.

The singer was offered $1.5 million compensation by Pepsi over the incident, but donated the money to the Brotman Medical Centre where he was treated.

Michael Jackson performs on stage with the Jackson Five in London, November 1972, L-R Marlon Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Michael Jackson performs on stage with the Jackson Five in London in November 1972. (Getty Images)

The burns sustained in the incident contributed to Jackson’s use of painkillers.

Jackson’s sponsorship deal with PepsiCo continued after the incident, but was terminated when he cancelled his Dangerous tour and admitted he was addicted to drugs.

114459 12: Michael Jackson attends a Pepsi press conference February 3, 1992 in New York City. Entertainer Jackson accepted the largest individual sponsorship deal in history from Pepsi-Cola in 1983. (Photo by Steve Allen/Liaison)
Michael Jackson attends a Pepsi press conference 3 February 1992 – the sponsorship deal was at the time the largest in history. (Liaison)

Jackson said in a taped message that after “some major reconstructive surgery on my scalp” after the stage accident, “I became increasingly more dependent on painkillers to get me through the days of my tour.”

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The announcement came as Jackson faced allegations over child molestation - which he denied, and said left him feeling, ‘humiliated, embarrassed, hurt and suffering great pain in my heart.”

Gary Hemphill, a PepsiCo spokesman in New York, said: “We no longer have a relationship.”

ROSEMONT, IL - APRIL 19:  Singer Michael Jackson performs during the 'Bad World Tour' at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois on April 19, 1988.  (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
Singer Michael Jackson performs during the 'Bad World Tour' at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois on April 19, 1988. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Eminem mocked the singer’s accident in the video for his song Just Lose It, dressing as Jackson in a video where his hair caught fire before sitting on a bed surrounded by young children.

Jackson’s spokesperson Ramone Bain said: “Michael Jackson feels that Eminem has crossed the line. Michael is calling upon all networks to pull the video.”

Jackson went on to die in 2009 from a lethal dose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol given to him by a doctor, part of a cocktail of drugs he used daily.

Watch: Janet Jackson says brother Michael made fun of her weight

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