Back in 2007, George Michael appeared in the Extras Christmas Special alongside Ricky Gervais.
The scene begins with Ricky Gervais – as Andy Millman – strolling through Hampstead Heath after an audition. He comes across “the waiting bench” and soon finds out it’s a spot for gay men to find sexual partners.
George Michael appears as himself, asking if there’s “any action” at the bench, before revealing he’s on his lunch break from community service. When Gervais asks him what he did, Michael reveals it was for fly-tipping Annie Lennox’s fridge-freezer.
When asked how he got caught by the police, Michael says “Sting called the fucking council because he’s a fucking do-gooder.” As he leaves the bench to check out another area of the park, he asks Gervais to “keep an eye out for paparazzi”. He also appeared in Gervais’ acceptance speech for the British Comedy Awards.
George Michael – Extras Xmas Special
Posted by Ricky Gervais on Monday, December 26, 2016
The cameo sees Michael perform a parody of himself, as in 1998, Michael was caught during a police sweep of the Will Rogers Park, which is across the road from the celebrated Beverly Hills Hotel. According to The Independent, a “crime suppression unit” was monitoring the park along with several others, Beverly Hills officer Ed Kreins told a press conference.
He said an under cover officer “went into the rest room area and did observe Michael engaged in a lewd act. He was by himself. The officer observed the act and arrested Michael.”
Though Michael was not the specific target for the sting operation, the investigation was launched after there were reports of “lewd acts” at parks frequented by families and children.
Michael pleaded no contest to the charge and was fined $810 and sentenced to 80 hours of community service, The Guardian reported. The arrest led Michael to reveal that he was gay.
“For some strange reason, my gay life didn’t get easier when I came out. Quite the opposite happened, really,” he told the BBC in an interview after the incident. “The press seemed to take some delight that I previously had a ‘straight audience,’ and set about trying to destroy that. And I think some men were frustrated that their girlfriends wouldn’t let go of the idea that George Michael just hadn’t found the ‘right girl’ [yet]. Which is still what a lot of my extended family still think!”
The icon went onto say hint that telling his mother may have been part of why he made the decision to hold in being gay.
“Because it’s about family,” he told the BBC. “In the years when HIV was a killer, any parent of an openly gay person was terrified. I knew my mother well enough that she would spend everyday praying that I didn’t come across that virus. She’d have worried like that.”
In the short Extras clip, you get a glimpse of George Michael’s strength of character and his ability to never take himself too seriously. Tackling criticism head on was just one of the qualities that made him such an enduring and much-loved pop icon. RIP George Michael.