British pop star George Michael believes he hasn't been taken seriously in the U.S. since his 1998 arrest for lewd conduct. The former Wham! star was arrested for "engaging in a lewd act" with an undercover police officer in a Beverly Hills, California public toilet in April 1998. His popularity in the U.S. plummeted in 2002 when he criticised the relationship between their President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in his controversial song Shoot The Dog. And Michael admits his legal action with former record label Sony in 1993, in addition to his recent arrests of dangerous driving, haven't helped his image either. He says, "I've actually been a bit of a laughable name since the early nineties. Since I took on Sony, everything went wrong there. From that point on, I didn't have the radio and I had some pretty bad publicity. "The publicity in the last 18 months hasn't helped, and so I think I'm a bit of a joke. But it didn't really bother me anyway."