Bavarian authorities issues two rival groups of fans, MJ’s Legacy, and MJ Memorial Munich, with “absolute final warning” over unofficial shrine to singer
A famous shrine to Michael Jackson in Munich could face closure after violent fights over its appearance between rival fans.
Candles and flowers have stood at the unofficial shrine outside the city’s Bayerischer Hof hotel every day since the singer’s death in 2009.
But now the Bavarian state government says that unless the competing groups of fans who place photos and other memorabilia at the site can learn to get along, the shrine will have to go.
The government has stepped in after scuffles broke out between fans, with one claiming that a rival threw a glass candle-holder at her.
“If peaceful coexistence between the different groups of fans behind the Michael Jackson memorial is not possible, then sadly the memorial will have to be removed,” the Bavarian culture ministry warned in a letter to the fans.
The shrine first appeared the day after Jackson’s death from a prescription drug overdose in 2009.
Fans commandeered the base of a statue of Orlando di Lasso, a Renaissance composer, opposite the hotel where Jackson often stayed while in Munich.
Today, the pedestal of the statue is festooned with photos of Jackson, flowers and balloons.
Although it has never been officially sanctioned, the shrine has become a tourist sight, with national flags left by fans from around the world.
“This is an absolute final warning,” a spokesman for the culture ministry told reporters.
“We tolerated this memorial until now, but we’ve heard from the police about disputes between fans, and there have even been criminal complaints.”
The dispute appears to be between two rival groups of fans, MJ’s Legacy, and MJ Memorial Munich.
“For some time, a group of four people has come together to rally against our work,” Nena Snezana Akhtar, who runs’s MJ’s Legacy, told the AFP news agency.
“They remove our decorations, take down our posters and crush the flowers we plant.”
Bettina Alde, from the rival group, denied the accusation and claimed that MJ’s Legacy was monopolising the space around the shrine.
“The organisation MJ’s Legacy thinks that it has exclusive permission from the city to decorate and maintain the memorial,” she said.