When We Ask “Who Really Wanted To Destroy Michael Jackson” There Are Always Two Names That Will Crop Up At The Root Of It All-Victor Gutierrez and Diane Dimond!
There have certainly been a lot of interesting developments since I last posted in this series. In an interesting coincidence (perhaps?) it was shortly after the last post in this series that one of the two main MJ hater sites that I reported on in that piece has completely disappeared off the face of the internet. What they may be a harbinger of, if anything, I do not know, but somehow I doubt that these very obsessed and persistent individuals have laid down their arms and given up the ghost that easily. Most likely, it simply means that they have figured ways to become much more subversive in their campaign. I would suspect that whatever happened to my adversary’s blog, “she” has most likely simply closed shop in order to merge the ranks. The Topix faction has been surprisingly mum on this sudden and abrupt silencing of their Queen B leader. But no matter. At least for now, there is one less available hub for the hatists and their propaganda.
What else is new? Well, we have the defection and sudden turnabout face of Alan Duke, a former respected CNN journalist who had always been noted for his fair and balanced coverage on all aspects of Michael Jackson. During the AEG trial, Alan Duke’s updates were always an oasis of reasonableness in a sea of biased gutter reporting. Now, for whatever unfathomable reason, he has hitched up with “the Aussie conspirator” incarnate, Dylan Howard. Which just goes to prove a theory I’ve long held to, which is that the integrity of any journalist is really no more believable than the fake on-air personas that radio dj’s adopt. I mean, have you ever noticed how your favorite radio personality will suddenly shift personas completely once they go to another station? So your favorite cool dj whom you thought loved all the same punk bands as you is suddenly over at the local country or AOR station, and voile’, they have a new on-air name and a whole, new on-air persona to match! Sometimes they even change their voices. It’s all a part of shedding that old skin so that, like a chameleon, they can now blend right into the new environment. When I was younger and cared more about stuff like that, I always took such defections quite seriously-and sometimes personally. It felt like a kind of betrayal. Of course, as we get older we get a lot more more blase’ about these things. In the case of those defector dj’s, for example, we start to realize that these people aren’t in the business for the love of music. It’s a job to them. And like any job, they go where the money is and where the opportunity for advancement presents itself. If that means changing their whole identity and ditching the loyal following they may have amassed, so be it. The way most of them will justify their actions is that they may lose a few followers but they will gain new ones. That’s how the game is played. Alan Duke has proven that journalists really do not operate much differently. For many, their integrity and loyalty depends on which side their bread is buttered. So now that Duke has hooked up with Dylan Howard, suddenly “Jackson” has become “Jacko” and Wade Robson is no longer even an alleged victim, but a “victim” who is being “silenced” by Jackson estate lawyers (if one of Duke’s more recent headlines is to be believed).
Last but not least, as reported in the previous post, Tom Sneddon passed away on November 1. But we can be rest assured that his death will hardly be the closing of a dark and ugly chapter, much as it would be nice to think so. Instead, what we are bound to see-and indeed it is already happening!-is that Sneddon’s death is only going to reinforce the bitter determination of those who counted themselves among his friends, and for whom Sneddon was a personal hero. This is the faction that now, more than ever, are pinning their hopes of ultimate vindication on two individuals who have recently been coerced into the family fold-Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck.
Which brings us to Diane Dimond, who used the occasion of her friend’s death to take a needless and tasteless dig at Michael Jackson and his fans. I have been patiently watching and analyzing this woman’s words and actions for the past five years. There was a time, very early on, when I gave her some benefit of the doubt. She is just a journalist, I thought, and her job isn’t to be Michael Jackson’s fan. A journalist is entitled to have their biases (the title, after all, doesn’t mean that we aren’t still human, although true journalists do nevertheless have an obligation to keep their personal biases out of their reporting). I was even almost fooled by her charade in reporting the Rodney Allen story (pretending to be the undercover journalist with integrity who unearthed a potential scam against Michael Jackson, when in reality she merely used that angle to cover her own ass when the “lead” she investigated turned out to be a gigantic hoax that nearly cost her job with “Hard Copy” who had footed much of the bill for her obsessive wild goose chase to Canada!). But after wading through much evidence over the years, it has slowly dawned on me that Diane Dimond’s role in all of this (i.e, what happened to Michael Jackson and is continuing to happen) is much more complex than what first meets the eye. Is Diane Dimond merely an objective reporter-as she would have us believe-or is her role in the Michael Jackson allegations-both past and present- a much more substantive and sinister one?
A huge part of the objective of this series has been an attempt to get to the bottom of who is really behind the allegations-and why. If Michael Jackson didn’t molest any kids-and there remains to this day no substantive proof or evidence of such claims-then who stood to gain by creating such allegations?
As I have explained before, I chose to subtitle this series “The Australian Connection” due to some curious coincidences that, while I have yet to fully connect the dots, are nevertheless quite intriguing. Wade Robson (Jackson’s current accuser), Dylan Howard of Radar Online (the only web source and media outlet that continues to act as a direct mouthpiece for Robson and his lawyers), the MJFacts website (responsible for perpetuating much of the internet flaming against Jackson and spread of inaccurate information), and at least one “insider” for the Wade Robson support page, all have ties to Australia. This could all be coincidence, of course. But one thing I have noted is that, time and again, the web of individuals who have worked in concert to either plant or perpetuate these stories (the “fan flamers,” so to speak) is surprisingly small and close knit.
These Birds Of A Feather Have Been Flocking Together…For Over 20 Years!
And if we look past “the current conspiracy” to where it all began, two names in particular have been consistently intertwined from the beginning-Victor Gutierrez and Diane Dimond. From that hub, we have the whole satellite connection of other names-Paul Baressi and Maureen Orth, on down to Sneddon and Zonen, on down to the ring of disgruntled ex-employees befriended by Gutierrez and Dimond, and then on down to the actual accusers (all of whom appear to have been coerced in some way after coming into contact with either Gutierrez or Dimond, or both). I have little doubt that both are continuing to play a very pro-active role in current events. Dimond, especially, who has never been known for her subtlety (or professional demeanor, for that manner) continues to give the game away in ways that she probably doesn’t even realize. In other words, hot heads and weaklings are fairly easy to catch in their own trap. Diane Dimond’s hypocrisy and changing of facts to suit her own agenda has been called out more than a few times in mainstream media (a good case in point being when she jumped the gun in defending the fake FBI story and her friend Paul Baressi, only to have to embarrasingly retract in the light of overwhelming evidence that the story was a hoax-of which she was well aware all along!). In a now famous email to Susan Etok, whom she ingratiated herself with under the false pretense of a being a Michael Jackson “supporter” in order to gain an interview, she made a blatantly false claim that over twenty boys testified to having been molested by Michael at his trial. This was a blatant lie, purposely intended to pull the wool over the eyes of Susan Etok and unsuspecting readers who would not think to actually investigate the truth. There were, in fact, only five such witnesses who testified at Michael’s trial in 2005, and that is if we count Gavin Arvizo himself. Of those five, three of them-Macaulay Culkin, Brett Barnes and Wade Robson-denied vehemently any wrongdoing on Jackson’s part. Jason Francia, heavily coached by his mother Blanca Francia, was the only one who claimed anything in the way of inappropriate behavior, but was reportedly such an unconvincing witness that he was laughed off the stand. That left only Jordan Chandler, who refused to testify and never even appeared. So all in all, a total of five testimonies, and three out of those five claiming adamantly that nothing happened-a far cry from Diane Dimond’s claim of “twenty crying victims.” And in the same email, as she has at various times in the past, Diane Dimond made vague and dubious claims about phantom victims and these alleged dozens of distraught families who have supposedly cried on her shoulder (literally, she would have us believe) about being afraid to press charges.
Email in which Diane Dimond BLATANTLY LIES to Susan Etok about witnesses at Michael Jackson trial:
“I met Diane Dimond for the first time last week and found her to be intelligent, funny, down-to-earth and very open-minded. ”
Letter from Diane:
Are you telling people that I now think Michael Jackson was completely innocent of the child molestation charges?
I keep getting these random e-mails informing me of such.
Please tell me it isn’t so. Because, Susan, I don’t believe that. It was nice meeting you and I know you love your departed friend but I’ve covered this story since 1993. I’ve sat with damaged children and crying parents too many times, parents too scared to press charges for fear of the media onslaught. I’ve talked with police officers and seen sworn statements they’ve gathered. I sat in the nearly 5 month long trial and watched 20-something young men take the stand and tearfully describe what happened to them at Michael Jackson’s hand. Forget the outcome of the trial – where three jurors later said they were coerced into their acquittal vote and wish they could take it back. It cannot be that ALL these people are lying and Michael is just a victim of his own celebrity.
Please. Don’t speak for me on this very, very delicate and important issue. As you said – your friend was a drug addict. I’m here to tell you he was an addict for years. He was not a person in charge of his behavior. I know it’s hard to hear but he was also addicted to little boys – and that’s a fact – just as sure as he was addicted to alcohol and drugs.
I have seen this statement before from Diane Dimond, and for me it really raises a troubling and disturbing question: Who the heck are these alleged, nameless families, and (presuming they even exist!) why on earth would they seek out Diane Dimond? You would think that if someone thought their child had been molested, they would go to the police. And if not to the police, at least an attorney. A psychologist. Something. Why would a sleazy, ex-“Hard Copy” tabloid reporter be their go-to person? If they were too afraid to press charges (as per the excuse that Dimond always uses) would not they have just as much to fear by going to the media?
It is clearly obvious, based on Dimond’s own track record and the way she operates, that if she has had any such conversations at all (which is debatable) it is very clear that she sought these people out, rather than the other way around. That is the only viable explanation of why they would be talking to her in the first place. But with nothing to go on but the word of a woman who has already been exposed time and again as an outright liar at worst and exaggerator at best, there is simply no way to authenticate these stories one way or the other.
Diane Dimond Uses The Occasion Of Her Friend’s Death As Just Another Excuse To Take An Unnecessary Stab At Michael Jackson!
Santa Barbara District AttorneyTom Sneddon has lost a year long battle with cancer. His wife Pam and many of their 9 children were at his side.
In my opinion, we lost a man of integrity. Sneddon was an Army veteran, public servant for more than 3 decades, started his county’s first Sexual Assault Response Team and dedicated his life to helping victims try to get justice.
When word of his death was officially announced by his family ill-informed “haters” — fanatics who worship at the alter of Michael Jackson and never forgave Sneddon for prosecuting Jackson on child molestation charges — came out in droves to say the ugliest things.
They are childish and ill-informed. Sneddon was the ONLY person who had the courage to do the right thing even though law enforcement knew for years about Mr. Jackson and his misbehavior with young boys.
A testament to the facts is this: Five young men have now come forward to claim they were molested at the hands of Michael Joseph Jackson when they were young boys. Five. Five. I’m betting there are more.
RIP, Tom Sneddon. Go with God.
What was the point of the above? Clearly, even on the day of Sneddon’s passing, Diane couldn’t shake Michael Jackson off the brain!
I have written extensively about Guiterrez and his motivations for beginning his aggressive, one-man campaign in the mid 1980’s to “out” Michael Jackson as a pedophile. But how did Gutierrez come to be so inextricably linked with Diane Dimond, and what was her motivation for becoming so doggedly involved with this man and his campaign? How did this Chilean reporter become a “mentor” for Diane Dimond?
Awhile back, a reader sent me an email with a link to a rather explosive video, an expose’ on the relationship between Diane Dimond and Victor Gutierrez . Since the view count on this video is still relatively low, I have to assume that a lot of fans still don’t know about it. This is an absolute “Must Watch” for anyone who cares about what happened to Michael Jackson in 1993, in 2003, and is continuing into 2014. The English translation is a little rough in spots, but bear with it. It’s well worth the effort.
Even if Michael Jackson fans are already familiar with much of this background info, it is still quite chilling when you see laid out the connection of these individuals and their motivations, stretching back over at least two decades or more. A couple of things that really stand out to me from the video: 1. How Diane Dimond willingly went along with a scam to create and report false evidence against Michael Jackson (the phantom tape that was alleged to show him molesting his nephew Jeremy) with only the word of Victor Gutierrez as a source! At the time, she falsely stated that the investigation into Michael Jackson was being re-opened, as a means of intimidating Margaret Maldonada Jackson under false pretenses! This goes far beyond the role of a reporter or journalist; this is someone actually taking a pro-active stance to create a story and evidence. Even more disturbing is that after learning the truth about Rodney Allen and his pedophile ring in Canada, she completely turns a blind eye to it, never bothering to follow up on what was obviously a far more frightening-and real!-case than the Michael Jackson story. Apparently, she was quite content to let a real molestor off the hook when it turned out his name wasn’t Michael Jackson. To my knowledge, there was no attempt made by Diane Dimond to follow up on the case of a man whom she obviously knew was pimping teenage boys on the streets of Toronto. According to the clip and Dimond’s parting words, Rodney Allen’s case was left to the police to unravel. But if Diane Dimond was, as she self proclaims, so interested in justice for child abuse perpetrators, why didn’t she continue to obsessively investigate what was obviously a disgusting and frightening situation going on in Canada? Clearly, her obsession remained Michael Jackson, and Michael Jackson only. In fact, throughout that segment something interesting emerges: We see not only Diane Dimond, but the entire production team of Hard Copy carrying out the role of investigators and district attorneys-in other words, carrying out the work that normally would be handled by police and investigators in cases like this.
At 22:40, something is noted that has also been called out before by many fans who noticed this when Dimond’s Skype interview on Michael Jackson’s death first aired. On her wall, at her home, hangs iconic photos of Michael Jackson from the Panther Dance sequence of “Black or White.” Why does this woman, who professes so much animosity towards Michael Jackson and clearly believes he was a pedophile, surround herself with his images?
This image from Diane Dimond’s Home-Clearly Showing Photos Of MJ Decking Her Walls-Made Quite A Splash When This Image Went Viral
Well, to back up to something I said in the last post of this series, when examining the psychology of Michael Jackson haters, I said that there is a fine line between love and hate: they are really just polar extremes of the same emotion, both of which are born out of the same passion. I, too, have many iconic photos of Michael Jackson on my wall. Those photos help provide inspiration, from a place of love, when I sit down to write about him. It would not be too big of a stretch to imagine that Diane Dimond, likewise, uses images of Michael to inspire, only in her case it is the opposite. Just as millions of us MJ fans keep images of Michael nearby to inspire and uplift us, Diane Dimond clearly keeps those images close by to inspire her in the opposite direction. It reeks of a strange, very bizarre, and very sad admiration/hatred for Michael Jackson that has become her obsession, and has been for over twenty years. Think on this: Many journalists covered the Michael Jackson story at the time. Most have long since moved on. A journalist’s job, after all, is to cover the latest stories-not to obsess incessantly over one story and one subject, to the point that it has dominated the last two decades of their life.
ETA: This passage from a NY Post article confirms it. Note what Dimond says here (thank you, Susan, for the link!):
“I did it not because I ‘m obsessed with Michael Jackson,but because I wanted the reminder that that was the one story that I hadn ‘t finished,” Dimond says.. “I wonder what Jackson would think if he knew that I had it.”
The headline of the story is quite revealing. The Michael Jackson story was indeed “the story of her career” and, according to her, it remains the story that was never finished because it didn’t have the outcome she wanted. It is also clearly BS that she considered herself still “in the middle” in 2005. This was the same year that she published “Be Careful Who You Love” so clearly she already had her mind made up on the case.
Interestingly enough, one of the most common things that haters of Michael Jackson love to insist is that they are not “haters.” I read a lot of their propaganda. I read it to understand both their mindset and the tactics that they use to manipulate. They will insist that they are “reasonable” people but this is far from the truth. I know people in everyday life who are skeptical of Michael’s innocence. I do not label those people as “haters.” Why? Because clearly, even though they have their beliefs, they are people who have actual lives and do not devote themselves 24-7 to the subject. Clearly, anyone who is so obsessed as to create websites, organize followers, and who spends countless hours on the internet stalking fansites and trolling any pro or anti article about Michael Jackson on the internet is clearly not a “reasonable” person but a person who is clearly mentally disturbed and fixated on hate. Thus, I use the term correctly.
As a celebrity who was constantly hounded by the press and by false stories, Michael Jackson had to deal with many devious and shady reporters. But both Victor Gutierrez and Diane Dimond have the dubious honor of being the only journalists Michael Jackson ever brought a lawsuit against-and won. As the video mentions, Tom Sneddon went above and beyond to write a letter that would prevent Diane Dimond from being charged in the case. Gutirrez was ordered to pay 2.7 million in damages, but avoided the court order by returning to Chile. Michael appealed the decision to exempt Dimond from the charges. The 2.7 million he was awarded was far short of the $50 million in damages he had sought. As it turned out, Michael never received a penny from either of them.
Michael Jackson Sues ‘Hard Copy’ Reporter and Radio Talk Show
January 13, 1995|SHAWN HUBLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER
Three days after a “Hard Copy” report alleged that Michael Jackson was videotaped in an illicit sexual encounter, the pop star filed a $50-million lawsuit against the tabloid television show’s reporter and a radio talk show that aired her assertions.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that “Hard Copy” correspondent Diane Dimond slandered Jackson with a false and unsubstantiated report, and compounded the injury by repeating the allegations on KABC-AM radio.
The suit also alleges that Dimond falsely reported that authorities had renewed their investigation of child molestation against Jackson.
The suit–which also names “Hard Copy” producer Stephen Doran, Paramount Pictures Corp. and KABC talk show hosts Roger Barkley and Ken Minyard–stems from a Jan. 9 episode of “Hard Copy” and an appearance on Barkley and Minyard’s show that morning.
Jackson’s lawyer, Howard Weitzman, said the show was based on British tabloid reports published last weekend and on a claim made by Victor Gutierrez, a self-proclaimed biographer of Jackson who is also named in the suit.
Dimond may not be an Aussie, but it is clear from recent events and headlines that she is much more than just a side player in current events. If nothing else, she definitely has a reputation among anyone who wishes to bring allegations against Michael Jackson, as someone who will lend a sympathetic ear and as a convenient gatekeeper to the media on the one hand, and authorities on the other, via her long standing friendship with Tom Sneddon. But her history reveals something far more disturbing, and that is her willingness to take a pro-active stance in these accusations. Far more than merely reporting events as they unfold, she has been a key player in shaping those events, and I believe has had some hand in coercing certain players to come forward. A trait that many haters share in common is a tendency to badger young men who were known to be close friends of Michael Jackson. In some cases, the bullying and harassing has been so bad that some have had to go into hiding. She has been, and remains, one of the key instigators of Michael Jackson’s downfall.
Last week, Michael Jackson’s long time arch nemesis, Tom Sneddon, drew his last breath. I was a bit shocked to hear the news, but reports indicate that he had been suffering a bout with cancer. Most likely, his illness had been a well guarded secret from the world for some time. Whatever the case, the man that Michael forever tagged as a “cold man” is indeed now a cold man quite literally.
The irony and timing of his death was certainly not lost on Michael Jackson fans. Tom Sneddon died on Saturday, November 1, 2014. He would have been drawing his last, ragged breaths on Halloween night, as across the globe millions celebrated “Thriller” with the usual outpourings of flash mob dances. That week, as Tom Sneddon lay dying, “Thriller” reentered the Billboard charts at #35. But is this, as some have suggested, a kind of poetic justice? As Tom Sneddon, the man who tormented Michael Jackson for decades, lay dying, Michael was still undeniably on top. Forbes has ranked him as the top earning dead celebrity. Obviously, the public’s love and adoration for “Thriller” isn’t in any danger of dissipating. On Halloween night, as millions all over the world danced to Michael Jackson’s music, Tom Sneddon lay dying-a death that was guaranteed to create no more than a footnote to the pages of history. But while there may be satisfaction in this fact, it is not really justice. Let’s not forget that Michael himself is also dead. While his legacy and music live on, his body lies in a mausoleum at Forest Lawn, as cold and lifeless as Sneddon’s. And let’s not forget that, in whatever measure great or small, the man Tom Sneddon is at least partially responsible for that.
Tom Sneddon As…Himself, The “Cold Man”
But lest some of you are already forming preconceived notions about this post, this is not about to be another bitter lashing out at Tom Sneddon. There has been plenty of that in the last week. But there has also been a surprisingly large number of fans who have taken the high road, proving once again that we are certainly not all the raving lunatics that the media and haters try to portray (in fact, that Sneddon was able to live out a quite comfortable life to age 73 should in itself be enough to squelch the nonsense that all MJ fans are rabid lunatics looking to harass and threaten every perceived enemy of Michael Jackson). This brings up an interesting point raised by those supporting the Cadeflaw initiative (of which I, too, am a firm supporter). As we know, Cadeflaw’s purpose is to bring about legislation that would prevent slandering of the dead, or in general, of talking ill against the dead in the media. Well, for sure, there can’t be a double standard if this is going to be something we support. That is, there cannot be a standard for those who speak against Michael Jackson, and another for those who speak ill of anyone else who is dead. Tom Sneddon is now among the dead, and like it or not, that fact does entitle him to the same respect we would like to see applied to Michael and all deceased persons.
Michael In 2005, Emaciated and Devastated. Tom Sneddon Was Not The Sole Player, But He Damn Sure Was A Leading One.
However, just to clarify, there is a difference between what is slander, and what is truth. Death doesn’t change the facts of a person’s life or the deeds they did (I realize this is the same logic that haters love to twist when rationalizing why they continue to sling filth about Michael, but bear with me for a moment). If anything, the fact that the person is dead may make us only slightly more forgiving. Some of us-those capable of taking that higher path-will say that hanging onto that kind of futile bitterness only harms ourselves. After all, we can’t now undo what Sneddon has done, and at least in this life, he will never pay any consequences for what was done to Michael. That, perhaps, is the most frustrating reality of all. Sneddon should have been prosecuted for his crimes while he lived. He should have been held accountable for all of the actual child molestors he turned a blind eye to and allowed to go free while he relentlessly pursued Michael Jackson. A lot of things “should have” been but “should have” never could, as my grandmother used to say. That’s another way of saying it’s all water under the dam now.
So, where do we go from here? For sure, a huge part of “vindicating” Michael Jackson comes with continuing to cast light on what Sneddon did. Evan Chandler, likewise, died and under even more tragic circumstances than Sneddon. But that fact has not stopped us from continuing to look with a critical eye at the key role that Evan Chandler played in Michael’s demise. By the same token, we do have to remember, in extending the same courtesy that we would like to see given to Michael,that a deceased person can no longer speak for themselves. Sneddon’s death should not be an excuse now for “anything goes.” That doesn’t mean that we stop telling the truth about what he did, of course. It just means that the focus may have to change. Whereas before, many of us wanted to see Sneddon pay for what he did, now we have to adjust those expectations. It is truly now about justice for Michael’s name. Nothing else, for Sneddon is beyond paying in this life, and whether he must pay in the hereafter is for God to decide.
Personally, I felt no sense of rejoice at the news. My first reaction was: Great. Here’s another one who got away with destroying Michael. He got to do his dirty work, and then he died. I do feel sadness for his family, of course. Someone said, “He was probably a loving grandfather.” Any death is always a tragedy for somebody, and it’s a point well worth keeping in mind. But either way, physical death isn’t exactly payback. It is simply the end of an existence.
In some weird way, though, Tom Sneddon was a member of what we affectionately call “the MJ fam.” That is, he was among the merry cast of characters whose names I became vastly familiar with over the course of my intense, five year study of all things Michael Jackson-those whose names, for better or worse, were forever linked to Michael’s. Tom Sneddon was not blind to this fact, of course. It was partly what drove and motivated him. He wanted the fame that would come from being the man who convicted Michael Jackson. Perhaps he should have taken a few history lessons from people like Pat Garrett and Frank Hamer. Don’t recognize those names? Not surprising. Few people do. But I bet you’ve heard the names Billy the Kid, and that of Bonnie and Clyde! Granted, I realize there is a slight flaw in this analogy. Both Billy the Kid and Bonnie and Clyde, however much we romanticize them, were nonetheless cold blooded killers who probably got their just deserts in the end. In other words, even if their crimes were greatly exaggerated (I believe they were) their killers could at least rest easy in the knowledge that they were guilty, and some measure of justice had been served. But in the end, as with all things of this nature, they did it ultimately to satisfy their own egos. Yet, as history has proven, their names have been largely forgotten, while those of the criminals they fought so hard to bring down continue to live on in infamy. As Billy the Kid was allegedly reported to have said to Pat Garrett, “You’ll never be Billy The Kid. You will only be known as the man who shot Billy The Kid.”
For the purpose of this analogy, I am casting aside for the moment the fact of Michael’s actual guilt or innocence. The fact is, Tom Sneddon rationalized in his own mind that Michael Jackson was guilty, and sought glorification in the idea of bringing him down. It would have been the coup of his career, just as his friend Diane Dimond was banking on a Michael Jackson conviction to boost her reputation as an investigative journalist. Instead, they both had to swallow a very large crow sandwich on June 13th, 2005. Reports of Tom Sneddon’s face that day turning red as a turkey vulture’s are not exaggerated (I have seen the photos!).
For years, the name Tom Sneddon has been connected to everything that has been most evil and repulsive to Michael Jackson fans. While there is no single “villain” of this tragedy, Tom Sneddon-as the man who relentlessly persecuted Michael Jackson to the point of driving him out of his home; the man ultimately responsible for the trial that slowly and torturously drained the life from him-has been, perhaps, the most convenient scapegoat; the easiest “villain” of the piece on which to project our frustrated and outraged sense of injustice. With his over the top, comedic appearance (Sneddon could easily have been cast as the “bad guy” of any of those cheesy 80’s movies where some uptight official despises anything that is fun, like music and dancing) and over zealousness to “get” his guy at any cost, he made an easy target, especially for those who loved Michael and needed, perhaps, an easy target. That is, it seems almost like a comedy until one realizes it was all too real. Tom Sneddon really was that guy. When my sister and I made the trip to the state fair in Selma a couple of years ago to ride Michael’s Ferris wheel, we made jokes about what Sneddon would do if he had the Ferris wheel in his possession. “He would be scraping the seats for possible semen stains,” I laughed. But while it may have seemed at times like some grossly exaggerated comedy, what ultimately played out was no laughing matter. Many people suffered and paid the price for Sneddon’s obsession, including Michael and his children. And perhaps even Sneddon himself, for no one can do what he did and live out his years peacefully with a clear conscience. Certainly the years he spent doggedly pursuing Michael Jackson could have been put to more productive use; time that he might have spent with his children and grandchildren, or putting real criminals behind bars.
The great irony is that, for the man who so wanted the fame and glory of putting Michael Jackson away, his death went relatively unnoticed by the world except for-you guessed it, the MJ fandom, where it was the equivalent of a trending topic and, as you see, meriting its own post here! The little media attention that was paid to it was, again not surprisingly, the reaction of Michael Jackson fans. As usual, the media singled out only the most extreme and rabid sounding responses as examples of what “lunatics” those MJ fans are. Stacy Brown, as usual, used the occasion as an excuse to try to make the fandom look bad, by posting this statement (not coincidentally, of course, on his buddy Diane Dimond’s Facebook page!):
” You know what’s interesting. I spoke with Mr. Sneddon the day Michael Jackson died. He, in no way, was joyful or happy. He respected the artist Michael Jackson and he said he thought the death was a tragedy and had hoped that, before Jackson’s death, the singer would find some real peace in his life. Peace, Mr. Sneddon made clear, that Jackson, his family, and hangers-on were responsible for taking away, not the criminal justice system. Mr. Sneddon exemplified class and for those who didn’t have the privilege of getting to know him just a little, it’s really your loss.”-Stacy Brown
Although I never give much credence to anything out of Stacy Brown’s mouth, I don’t doubt that the above statement is probably true. While it’s laughable to presume that Sneddon had no hand in taking away Michael’s “peace” (I only have to remember those stories of Michael crying on the phone to Thomas Mesereau at three am, terrified of what was going to happen to his kids, or those stories of him being sick and vomiting on the way to court on those mornings to know the ludicrousness of that statement!) I suppose I can at least give it to him that he could have used the occasion of Michael’s death to speak ill and rub salt in old wounds, but he didn’t. That, of course, didn’t mean he’d had some change of heart; only that he was abiding by the old civil courtesy of not speaking ill of someone who had just died. But his inability to acknowledge any responsibility whatsoever for his own role is nevertheless chilling. Also, if we want a real taste of Sneddon’s “class” we only have to transport ourselves back to that time (2003-2005) and watch how gleefully he gloated on TV-“We got ‘im!”-and how tackily he and his cohorts celebrated even before the verdict had been announced. There was nothing that smacked of class in those antics.
But perhaps we have to look to Michael himself for the real keys in how to feel about Sneddon-and more importantly now, how to regard his death. In “D.S.” (the song we know was simply a thinly veiled reference to Tom Sneddon) Michael chose what has remained, for me, a somewhat puzzling descriptive phrase. For sure, he could have chosen a lot of phrases for the song’s refrain, but the one he settled on (repeated purposely almost to the point of ad nauseum) is: “Dom Sheldon (Tom Sneddon) is a cold man.” (For the record, it was many years before I realized this was not a song about an “old man,” lol).
Why the phrase “a cold man” in particular? Well, I don’t know but I have some theories. A cold person is not, in actuality, a hostile person. Being hostile means having hot blooded emotions. Remember, rage and hate are considered simply the polar opposites of love. But a cold person is a hardened person; a person devoid of love; a person whose heart is hidden beneath many layers of protective ice; a person who is no longer capable of receiving love. In other words, a person who is not capable of empathy or feeling of any kind.
Did Michael view Tom Sneddon as such a man? It is, like I said, a curious choice of words. “A cold man” would, for sure, make him the polar opposite of someone who stood for love and hoped to bring about world change through the power of love. Love is warmth, the direct opposite of “cold.”
I read an insightful comment on another web site that raised the question of whether Tom Sneddon was, in fact, someone who never had enough love in his life. Perhaps something had scarred him as a child, this person said. Perhaps he was denied love. We know that monsters aren’t born. Everything has its cause. Perhaps we can take another clue from Michael’s (again thinly disguised) portrayal of Tom Sneddon in the film “Ghosts.” I have already written several posts about how Michael essentially used that film as a vehicle to have a kind of “showdown with himself” in the confrontation between The Maestro character (himself) and The Mayor (Sneddon and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Michael’s own alter ego of himself). There is a point in the film, during the title track dance sequence, where The Mayor becomes possessed with the spirit of The Maestro-the equivalent of Tom Sneddon becoming possessed by the spirit of Michael Jackson! During this sequence, the formerly uptight and hateful Mayor is suddenly dancing, spinning, moonwalking, and grabbing his crotch. It is hilarious, of course, as it is intended to be, but something else happens during this sequence as well. The Mayor is grooving; everyone is getting down and having a good time, and for just a few moments, he is almost human-almost likable. We think, briefly, he has a shot at redemption (for obviously, as with most films of this genre, it is not the eccentric protagonist whom we are against, but rather his uptight nemesis). And indeed, once The Mayor is no longer possessed, we can see that nevertheless, a lot of the wind has been knocked from his sails. He is not so sure of his former stance anymore. Something inside him has changed. But nevertheless, he has to keep up the appearance of authority. So in an effort to overcome his own weakness (his own susceptibility to love) he over compensates by now turning on The Maestro with even greater fury. “YES! YES!” he shouts, as if in fervent hallelujah, when The Maestro asks “Do you still want me to go?” Yet, for all this, we can see that something in The Mayor’s convictions have been severely shaken.
In the end, Michael does go, but only to reappear triumphantly at the end of the film, while The Mayor, scared out of his wits by this resurrection, crashes through the wall, presumably never to be seen again. We can chalk this up, perhaps, to Michael’s own wishful thinking, as he was forever telling us that he would remain “invincible” and that no matter how hard his enemies worked to destroy him, he would always survive; always come out on top. On film, at least, it was still possible to believe that evil could be vanquished by a song and a dance. Wishful thinking, yes, but in some ways also chillingly prophetic in ways perhaps Michael could never have envisioned.
I feel sympathy for Tom Sneddon’s family and I will never bash a dead man on these pages just for the sake of bashing. But by the same token, I will continue to go forth with the work I am doing here and to report on the facts of what Tom Sneddon did. We cannot afford to shy away from the truth just because Sneddon has died. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I will as respectfully as I can continue to call out Mr. Sneddon for the actions he should have been held accountable for in his life.
The death of Tom Sneddon is a solemn reminder that no matter how hard Michael’s enemies worked to bring him down, in the end their lives and their names are but a footnote to his. In some ways, Tom Sneddon got what he wanted. He wanted his name to be forever linked to Michael Jackson’s.
Michael In Australia In 1987, Doing What He Did Best…Making Sick Kids Happy!
Conspiracy theories by their very nature are just that-theories. And generally, I try to steer clear of them. But it has already been well established that most of Michael Jackson’s enemies are actually a very small but intimate group. That part is no longer a theory. In 2005, The Veritas Project established a firm and undeniable connection between Michael’s accusers, prosecutor Tom Sneddon, and all the various individuals who were playing a hand either in directly bringing about the allegations or in smearing Michael’s name in the media.
Since then, many astute Michael Jackson researchers have carried the seminal Veritas Project further to establish the very intimate connections between Michael’s accusers, their attorneys and respective therapists, as well as Tom Sneddon, Diane Dimond, and a small host of former friends-turned-enemies. What has been well proven by this research is that the tangled web of relationships between Michael Jackson’s enemies goes well beyond the professional level. Indeed, these people are intimate friends who “stick together” and have one another’s backs. They attend one another’s weddings, birthday parties, and conduct themselves in every respect as long and trusted family friends. This point has by now been so well established that they don’t even bother trying to hide it anymore. Diane Dimond wrote openly and gloatingly about attending Gavin Arvizo’s wedding. Prosecuting attorney Ron Zonen gushes at seminars about what a fine, upstanding, young Christian man Gavin Arvizo has turned out to be, making it no secret in the process that he obviously keeps in regular touch. Diane Dimond and self-proclaimed Jackson family “friend” Stacy Brown can both be found on their respective Twitter accounts, coyly “wink winking” at each other as they openly strategize, pat each other on the backs, and defend each other against “those crazy MJ fans.” Time and again, photos surface of various members of this “happy family” at some personal occasion, toasting each other with gleeful smiles. Mind you, these are not in most cases private photos, but rather, photos they have purposely and brazenly made public as if to rub it in that, yes, they are all best buds; yes, they stick together, and yes, they are united in one very big, common purpose-the destruction of one individual, namely Michael Joseph Jackson. And that furthermore, they don’t care if Michael Jackson fans know it.
The Enemies of Michael Jackson-They Wine, Dine, and Toast Together! Diane Dimond and Ron Zonen On The Left; Stacy Brown (in red) On The Right!
Not that any of them would ever admit, openly, to being such devious, mustache-twirling villains. I’m sure if you asked any of them why they all appear to be as thick as old gravy, they would put it down to something like being united in a common cause or common belief. Maybe they have genuinely convinced themselves that they are standing united against a world that continues to adore Michael Jackson. For many of them, this has been a more than two decades long obsession; indeed, a crusade. That is their common ground. But it begs an even bigger question. Why would individuals who claim to care so much about abused children spend the better part of two decades endlessly obsessing over one individual, rather than spreading their energies equally to include other individuals and cases for which there was obviously much more evidence and where obviously the perpetrators were actually guilty? Why are they more concerned with doggedly trying to prove one man guilty, rather than taking active interests in cases where guilt is obvious?
We know that Dimond, in particular, has a long and vested interest in Michael Jackson ever since she was forced to eat crow after the 2005 verdict. Similarly, many who found themselves embarrassingly on the wrong side of victory in that case have been on a vendetta ever since to somehow “right” that outcome. Not surprisingly, these are the individuals who have gloried in the recent allegations brought by Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck. But could it be more than this? Could it be that some of these same individuals are still pulling far more strings than we know? To be sure, Diane Dimond is definitely thick as thieves right now with Robson, Safechuck, and their attorney. But that still doesn’t necessarily mean she is a mastermind behind the operation. She could just be what she would have us believe-a salivating journalist “with the scoop.”
However, I am going to venture out on a limb to say that Wade’s so-called supporters and friends are, in fact, playing a much bigger role in current events. And while I can’t exactly say who the real masterminds are (give me a break, I’m a teacher and writer, not an investigative reporter!) I can safely say that I have been watching their patterns for enough years to start piecing some things together. Many of you may be wondering where the heck I am going with all of this cryptic talk about “the Australian connection.” Well, I’ll solve the mystery in this post, and will further reassure anyone (especially Michael’s many devoted fans and followers from Down Under) that this is not in reference to some huge, covert operation, but simply the piecing together of a few very obvious facts that I find too interesting to ignore.
But first, I would like to address the psychological mindset of a Michael Jackson hater, and in particular, the mindset of this rather small but highly organized group that is directly responsible for much of the current smear campaign against Michael. How does one even begin to explain why so much obsessive hatred is, again, directed toward one individual? While these people will mock MJ fans for the excessive amount of time they devote to discussing and researching MJ, it is clearly obvious that they are devoting just as much (in fact, even double and triple) that amount of time to Michael Jackson. Indeed, so great is their passion that they put up entire websites and facebook pages dedicated to this cause. They spend countless hours stalking fansites-even posing as fans-going undercover; they obsessively follow all news of MJ; they spam every article related to him, especially those that have unmoderated comments; they often bully and harass fans on social media. However, there is a particular sub group who are even more dangerous and devious in their tactics, since they will also regularly bully Michael’s friends, family, and supporters.
It’s Not So Much That Haters Don’t Do Research; It’s That They Like To Distort and Misrepresent What They Find.
It is a myth that Michael Jackson haters are people who do not do research. Indeed, I would daresay that a good many of them have an encyclopedic knowledge that would seriously challenge even the most dedicated fan. The problem is not that they don’t read court transcripts or do research, but rather, the fact that they will cherry pick what suits their agenda, ignore what doesn’t, and will filter all of it through their own biases. They do not mind purposely misrepresenting information, taking facts out of context, or running with half a truth-if they think they can get away with it. To be totally fair, I know that they level many of these same accusations at fan sites and vindication blogs, and there may be something to be said for the fact that we are both approaching whatever facts we present from a biased perspective. Obviously, a fan who wants to believe in Michael’s innocence will read the same document quite differently from a hater who wants to believe in his guilt. Often, when I see debates between fans and haters on the internet, both sides will often link to documents and info, but in every case, the quickest comeback will be, “That information isn’t reliable. It comes from a fan site” or “That link isn’t credible; it’s just a hater site.” Both sides have some measure of validity to their claim, because in both cases, they are linking to sites with an obvious bias. However, it might be worth noting that if one is looking for a completely neutral, unbiased source of information on Michael Jackson’s “guilt” or “innocence” on the internet, that simply isn’t going to be found. And the reason is quite simple. It takes passion and dedication to invest the hours’ of one’s life it takes to set up a website, and to compile and archive information-not to mention the fact that court transcripts and documents are not given away freely. In short, people who care enough to do all of the above are people who are passionately dedicated, either through love or its polar opposite-hatred. I am sure you all know the old saying that there is a very thin line between love and hate. Well, the phenomenon of MJ hate is kind of like that. The truth is, there is a small but highly organized and dangerously obsessive group of individuals who are as determined to “prove” Michael’s guilt as his fans and vindicators are determined to prove the opposite.
One might ask, why so much hatred for Michael Jackson, a man who who was unarguably one of our greatest entertainers, who unarguably brought the world so much joy with his music and dancing, and who was obviously a great humanitarian who strove to do as much good for the world as possible? What could there possibly be about such a person to invoke such strong hatred, to the point that many individuals will endlessly obsess over it? Certainly there are far worthier figures in the world to project so much hatred and negativity upon.
Why Has So Much Hate Been Heaped On Someone Who Tried To Do So Much Good? That Is The Million Dollar Question.
My guess is that it is precisely because Michael Jackson inspires so much love and devotion. To understand how his haters think, you have to put yourself in the mindset of a hater. There is a general consensus among them that Michael Jackson is a man who was somehow “given a pass” and “got away” with his “crimes.” Rather than being satisfied that he was acquitted, and rather than accepting that there was never enough evidence to convict him of any crime, these people spend their lives on an endless crusade to convince the world that Michael Jackson is undeserving of benefit of the doubt, and undeserving of the accolades he continues to receive as a recognized musical genius. Another trait they often share is a need to somehow tear down Michael’s image and “prove” that everything the world most admired about him is an illusion-and sometimes a case of delusion. There seems to be a consensus that by somehow “outting” Michael Jackson of all his worst faults, they can strip away whatever blinders they think his admirers are wearing. And, of course, chief among those is the belief in his innocence. A common-and often noted-trend among his haters is just how few of them actually seem to be invested in any capacity with actual concern for abused children (though some put up a good cover of such, as I will get to shortly).
While Michael Jackson “hater” sites and facebook pages pop up with amazing regularity-as well as so-called “support” sites for the “victims” of Michael Jackson-how many sites exist that claim to support the victims of actual molestors like Jerry Sandusky, Jimmy Saville, or Ian Watkins? I conducted an informal search prior to this writing and, not surprisingly, found that there are none! So indeed, this seems to be a phenomenon unique to Michael Jackson. Why is that?
Well, this is a point that has been raised before, and not surprisingly, it is often raised whenever/wherever MJ fans and haters are prone to encounter each other and debate-that is, when they can manage to engage in any kind of civil dialog at all, which is rare. And I, too, have raised this question with some professed haters. Why the double standard, and why the apparent lack of interest in proven pedophiles as opposed to a man who was merely accused-if indeed the justification is the protection of children or concern for victims?
The answer is always a variant of the same response. Since those persons were actually convicted, there is apparently nothing to be gained from going on a crusade against them. So the assumed outrage against MJ, if they are to be believed, stems from a sense that justice hasn’t been served. Not only was Michael NOT convicted, but he continues to be loved and honored all over the world. So then, by that definition, if Michael had been convicted in 2005, would everything be just honky dorey peachey keen then? Because to me, that denotes a rather shallow approach to caring about children who have been abused. I am sure that the real victims of monsters like Ian Watkins-all of whom are still children as of this writing- would appreciate if they got one half the outpouring of “support” that these people waste endlessly on Robson, Safechuck, Chandler, and Arvizo. No, let’s be honest. This has nothing to do with the so-called victims, but everything to do with who the accused party is.
But I realize I still haven’t addressed the question of just what I think “the Australian conspiracy” is, or its role in current events. Obviously, I could go on and on all day about what makes haters hate, and still not arrive at any definitive answer, since to do so would involve getting much deeper into the human psyche than I have time and space for. However, since about 2010, the amount of organized MJ hate on the web has increased exponentially, and with it, an increasingly alarming amount of misinformation that is being spread. While this group is small in number, its perpetrators are frighteningly dedicated in their purpose. And because I believe their role in current events to be larger than mere spectators, they are worth looking into.
Why do so many fingers seem to point to Australia as the current hotbed of this latest conspiracy? Well, allow me to quote my favorite character of the stage, Shakespeare’s Iago: “I speak not yet of proof.” However, there are definitely a lot of “coincidences” that seem to be coming together, and which may bear closer scrutiny. It seems that these days-especially in the case of the current allegations being made against Michael Jackson-that there are an unusually large number of Aussies who appear to be sticking quite closely together.
Dylan Howard (left) of Radar Online, Wade Robson Ally and Fellow Aussie
Obviously, we have Wade Robson who is himself from Brisbane, Australia. Not to mention, we next have his web of family and friends (including at least one “cousin” whom Mike Par of the Wade Robson Facebook support page claims to get a goodly amount of information from). Dylan Howard of Radar Online-who has become both Wade’s and Mike Par’s immediate “go to” media source for spreading filth in the media- is a fellow Aussie. This could all be coincidence, of course, but there is something else, too:
The MJFacts website, which seems to be the central headquarters for much of this current hater faction, appears to have very strong ties to Australia. For years, MJ fans have been trying to determine exactly who is behind this website, which mysteriously appeared in 2010 (an early rumor that it was Ray Chandler was eventually debunked). Since I have a life and a job, I don’t have time to do extensive research on hater sites or to try to track down who is behind them. I would much rather put that time and energy into researching Michael and his life. However, about a year ago I did stumble across some very interesting information on this website via Alexa.com, which charts the average visitors to most websites according to age, race, and geographic location (unfortunately, Alexa no longer lists this info for sites ranking less than 100, 000). Interestingly enough, MJFacts seems to have originated out of Australia, or at least its original domain was in Australia. According to Worthofwebcom, its IP address is now a proxy out of Singapore, but a year ago Alexa’s graphs showed that most of the site’s traffic (well over 80%) still comes from out of Australia and that, interestingly enough, its average visitors tended to be white males between the ages of 35-44 (typically, I suspect, the age, gender, and ethnicity of most professional MJ haters. It’s also a bit telling that most of the key word searches for the site seem to come from people researching “Michael Jackson Nice Guy” (which seems an unusual search term, to say the least) and “Michael Jackson Brett Barnes.” Honestly, I know these people are obsessed with the belief that Michael molested his friend Brett Barnes (who is also from Australia) but why on earth would Brett Barnes’s name come up higher in the key word searches for this site than the names of the two kids he was actually accused of molesting? Anyway, I highly suspect that the site is still from out of Australia, and that the Singapore proxy is just that.
A quick check of the site’s Whois history (btw this isn’t illegal stalking; all of this info is freely available in the public domain) reveals that the site does operate on a proxy server, which indicates that for whatever reason, they do not want the site’s exact geographic location known. The administrator’s name and location is listed as “private.” That may or may not mean much; administrators are entitled to keep this information private if they wish, but usually administrators who have nothing to hide do not mind making this info public.
Generally, the IP and hosting histories listed on these sites do not mean much, since they may extend to include websites hosted on those IP’s and servers long before the site in question. The current listing of the site’s Whois history indicates multiple IP and host changes but this will be the case if you look up most any website, including this one. However, it is known that this site has had to change host servers at least once due to a legal suit that was brought against them, when the administrator attempted to impersonate journalist and well known MJ defender Charles Thomson. The resultant legal action taken by Thomson caused MJFacts to be permanently suspended from their then host server Yola. You can read more about that incident at the following links:
However, getting suspended from a host server isn’t a terribly huge deal, since host servers can be switched out as easily as changing socks. (A pain in the butt, yes, but nevertheless, it can be done). So after a bit of down time, MJFacts was back with a brand new host and a brand new “fake” IP from out of Singapore-and a brand new disclaimer. Rather than stating the truth about why they were taken down-that they were suspended as a result of legal action pending from their impersonating of an individual-they lied outright and stated that their move was necessitated by the actions of MJ fans. That is pure bullshit and, of course, they know it. Such lies are infuriating because not only did most fans know the truth, but because people who come to the site will naturally not know the difference. To add further insult to injury, the site administrators offered no recourse for the truth, since all comments from fans or even neutral parties are either blocked or ridiculed to the point that most won’t bother, and instead of having an email or contact info like most normal websites, readers are instead instructed to go to the Topix forum, which as anyone who knows anything about Michael Jackson knows, is nothing these days but a free-for-all hotbed where the sycophants of this website and of Desiree’s blog have taken over.
Both the strategy of this website and of Desiree’s blog-the two main hater sites responsible for the sycophant followers who now attempt to “terrorize” and monopolize most unmoderated MJ discussion forums and articles, have subtley changed over time, and their method is transparently obvious. One thing that every MJ hater is usually most quick to defend is that fact that they are, indeed, haters. They prefer that unknowing readers think of them as merely objective researchers. Obviously, adopting this tone and style would appear-on the surface at least-to give their sites more credibility, and thus, unsuspecting readers might be more apt to trust the information they report as reliable and objective.
However, a quick glance at MJFacts’s past and current screenshots tells the history quite plainly, and since we know that this site has not undergone any change of hands since its inception, it is quite obvious that this site began as a blatantly obvious hater site. What else would you call a site that advertises “Wacko Facts?” (I apologize for even posting these offensive screenshots here, but I really want you to see with your own eyes that this is one and the same website; thus, it is obvious that this site’s administrators have no interest in presenting objective facts).
The various screenshots from the MJFacts website, courtesy of Worthofweb.com, clearly show the site’s transition over the past four years from a blatant “hater site” to a much more cleverly disguised-but still transparent- “hater site” that pretends to have neutral objectivity as its goal. Note how the prominently displayed “Wacko Facts” of the site’s earlier incarnation has now been replaced by the much more neutral sounding “Michael Jackson Facts” and, finally, MJFacts (but make no mistake, it has always been the same site run by the same individual as before!)
Over time, perhaps realizing that one can catch more flies with honey than vinegar (and as a front to ward off the accusations that their information lacks credibility since it comes from an obvious “hater” site) they changed from “Wacko Facts” to the more deceptively neutral sounding “MJFacts” (a misleading name indeed since there are very few “facts” to be found on this website). You can also clearly see that, over time, they have purposely changed their tone and approach. This is for one reason and one reason only-so that unsuspecting readers who stumble onto the site will be “tricked” into believing they are reading more neutral, factual information than they will get from a fan site.
Even more curious is the weird strategy taken by the other notorious hater blog, Desiree Speaks. And for the record, I am one of those who believes firmly that Desiree is neither female nor black, let alone a 20-something-year-old college student as “she” claims. I know there are some who believe otherwise, including the admins behind this counter blog which was designed for the purpose of “outting” Desiree and exposing her many dubious web activities.
However, something about this whole charade just feels very “off” to me, as it has from the get-go. For starters, I work with college students every day. The average college student has far too much on their plate to devote hours on end to researching and writing about Michael Jackson, not to mention the fact that in addition to studies and exams and extraccular activities, most have a demanding social life beyond school. Additionally, most college students can barely afford theirtextbooks, and yet we are somehow to believe that this 22-year-old college student can afford to pay website hosting fees, shell out money for expensive court documents (which even yours truly can only afford very sparingly on my teachers’ salary!) and brag (as she did in at least one entry) of forking out over a hundred and fifty bucks for an out of print edition of Victor Guiterrez’s book! It may be possible that there is a Ladonna Desiree Hill from Las Vegas who is the “Desiree” behind this site; however, identities can also be bought, borrowed, and stolen. I’m just not sure, but since this is splitting hairs anyway, let’s move on.
What I do know is that both of these websites mysteriously sprang up at about the same time, and both seemed to be a curious response/reaction to the outpouring of worldwide grief over Michael Jackson’s death-and, which, in turn, led to a mini-explosion of new fan sites and “serious” vindication sites. I can’t really vouch for what the cyberspace MJ world was like before June of 2009, but I do know that when I first started researching him in those weeks following June 25th, 2009, all I could find for the most part were fan club forums. Other than Aphrodite Jones’s well touted Conspiracy, Lynne Guests’s book and maybe a handful of others, there wasn’t much recourse for those seriously interested in researching what happened to Michael Jackson in 1993 and in 2003-2005. Over the next few months, many individual blogs began popping up, and for the first time (I suspect) there were many websites dedicating themselves solely to the serious research of the allegations made against Michael Jackson. It is no coincidence, then, that these “hater” blogs sprang up as a direct reaction to the sudden proliferation of vindication sites in late 2009. Clearly, someone viewed this new proliferation of vindication sites as a threat, as it meant that for the first time, factual information about the cases made against Michael Jackson could be had with the click of a mouse.
Desiree’s blog took an even more sneaky and circuitous route than MJFacts, beginning innocuously enough as the kind of generic “whatever is on my mind” blog that many young people start up, ostensibly to discuss any topic of burning interest. However, it didn’t take long for Michael Jackson to become the dominant subject of the blog. Weirdly enough, in her earliest entries, Desiree pretended to be a fan, if albeit a fan with some rather unconventional (and, I will admit, sometimes interesting) views. Her earliest entries defended Michael against accusations of pedophilia; defended him as a vitiligo sufferer, and defended him as the biological father of his kids (even if, again, via some outlandish theory that he desired to have “designer” children). However, it didn’t take long for the tune to be changed drastically. By the time of Michael’s first death anniversary, barely a few months into starting the blog, she was already writing posts that took stabs at his sexuality and which began to give more and more credence to sources written by his detractors. In so doing, she tried-unsuccessfully, I might add-to give the impression of a fan who, over time, had become a doubting skeptic. In truth, this was a very sneaky way to lure in fans and lull them with a sense that “hey, I’m on your side.” Within months-if indeed that long-she was responsible for writing some of the most scathing and hate-filled posts on Michael imaginable. And make no bones about it, Desiree is a hater, as I have had enough unfortunate correspondence with her in the past to personally see some of the most vile spewing against an individual-and his children!-I have ever witnessed.
But curiously enough, after many months of seeming inactivity when the blog appeared dead for all purposes, she suddently reemerged with these latest allegations. Like her cohorts over at MJFacts, she has given her blog a whole new facelift and a seemingly (somewhat) new identity. Gone now are all the over-the-top, shrill rantings about “wacko Jacko.” Like her Aussie cronies, she is now making a very concentrated effort to make her blog appear like a neutral place where rational, thinking people can get objective information.
It’s Not About The Kids; It’s Not About “Victims”…It’s All About Michael!
And along with these newest allegations, we now have a whole new “celebrity hater” who has emerged on the scene, the alleged Mike Par who started up the Wade Robson support Facebook page, and who spams and bullies all over the internet under the guise of “allysforwaderobson.” Again, what strikes me as really odd about this whole thing is that I see no other “victim” of any alleged child abuse case-celebrity or otherwise-who gets their own Facebook page of supporters. And again, just as with all of these other organized sites, there is no apparent interest in the topic of child abuse other than as it pertains to Michael Jackson, and no interest in any victims of child sexual abuse other than those allegedly at the hands of Michael Jackson. So again, their topic of going concern is not the sexual abuse of children, but in Michael Jackson as a subject of study, ridicule, and dissection.
Again, I make the distinction between a few, random casual haters and what I call “professional haters” who obviously are riding Michael Jackson’s coattails for their own attention and glory. Individually, none of these people would be worth the time of day. But as a group, they do bear some looking into because they are obviously working as a unit and as co-conspirators. Mike Par may not, strictly speaking, be part of the “Aussie conspiracy” if indeed he’s an Amercian from New England (who really knows, or cares?) but the fact that he is in thick cahoots with many individuals who are directly part of the conspiracy is reason enough.
I have heard the rumors that Mike Par may even be Wade Robson himself; that Robson is the one behind the page and behind the alias. I have my doubts about that, and believe such rumors are stretching credibility a bit. That being said, I will only say that I have seen a very interesting piece of evidence that definitely lends credibility to the theory that Robson has been far more pro-active in this page and in starting it than what they would have us-the naive public-believe. In other words, I have seen enough to convince me that this wasn’t just a case of some abuse victim who felt sympathy for Wade as a fellow abuse victim, and who (as per his baloney story) simply wanted to start a support group for him. I believe this guy and Wade have been in cahoots from the start.
From the Wade Robson Support Group FB page: A phony number bought with ads! 18,346 likes
It has already been a well established fact that Mike Par illegally inflated the “likes” on his FB page by inciting them with ads for products (placed mostly in Egypt) which even though he barely has twenty followers on Twitter and Youtube, managed to balloon his FB “likes” to over 10,000 in a shockingly short time. MattFTR, though he can sometimes be a little over the top in his rants, did an excellent job of exposing Par’s practices in this video:
I will add to this something else I KNOW is fact from just a very casual observation of this page. Most of the regular commentors on this page are fake Facebook profiles. There are a few that may be legit, but the profiles of all the most frequent commentors on the page are quite clearly fakes. They are easy to spot because if you actually click on them, you are led to FB pages that are, in fact, only “shells,” with no profile info, no other apparent “friends” and no indication whatsoever that a living, breathing person by that name actually created that page. Now, granted, that in itself doesn’t necessarily mean that the people are fake or that their comments aren’t genuine. The “fake” pages could well be a cover, designed exactly for this purpose-that is, to protect their actual identities from those who come prying. Perhaps. But it still indicates a kind of covertness and seakiness that usually isn’t necessary if everything is on the up and up. There is also a highly unusual number of persons commenting via pages that may have been made by real people, but rather than being personal pages, are simply pages created for the express purpose of commenting on this page. If anyone were to go on my Allforloveblog Facebook page and click on any of the profiles of my usual commentors, you will find in every case that these are real profiles made by real people. The sheer prevalence of these “fake profiles” on the Wade Robson support page indicates they are no random accident. If it were simply random individuals protecting their anonymity, there might be a couple of such fake profiles, but c’mon, almost every single regular contributor? I have a hunch that Mike Par himself probably created most of these pages. Even if he didn’t, the sheer amount of time and energy it takes to put into creating fake profiles and fake pages speaks volumes about the mindset of these people.
Let’s go back to the question I posed earlier. Why do they do it? As I have already pointed out, it doesn’t seem to be about genuine concern for child abuse victims. Their outright mocking of many actual victims of child abuse; their continual harrassment of any of Michael’s friends who insist on his innocence; their use of Michael Jackson’s name continuously to further their own agendas, all contradict any noble ideas that they are in this for any purpose except hate and slander. Desiree has perhaps said it best, via one of her oft-used phrases: “I want to be on the right side of history” (a dead giveaway, btw, when she comments on various MJ articles under her sock puppet pseudonyms; she is so in love with her own phrase that she can’t resist using it). Mike Par endlessly tweets every talk show host and anyone with a platform who might give him five minutes of the day (but so far has found an ally only in Dylan Howard). Like Diane Dimond, who had delusions of grandeur of herself as the journalist who “exposed” Michael Jackson, they are narcissistic sociopaths who are deluded into thinking they are on the verge of some great revisionist epoch; that they will somehow have the power to change how people think about Michael Jackson. They glory in thinking that the world will come beating on their doors, seeking interviews; maybe they think that one day they will get a Nobel peace prize or something.
Really, who knows what the “f” they think? However, when we look at this latest cast of characters in the Wade Robson/Jimmy Safechuck saga, it’s interesting to note that just like with the “big, happy” family that grew out of the ashes of the Arvizo case, we are seeing a coagulation of many of the same names and faces who are banding together. In the coming months, we are no doubt going to see this new “family” joining ranks to spread lies and false or misleading information. There is already evidence that Mike Par and his Aussie bud Dylan Howard are working together to create falsified articles (for sure, he is getting “tip offs” of these articles long before they appear in print). The purpose of this post isn’t to give them more power or attention than they deserve, but as a kind of red flag warning that they are out there. And like I said, though small in number, they are dangerously committed in their purpose.
For the record, I have never joined the ranks of those who have tried to get these sites shut down. That, to me, is censorship and an interference with right to free speech. As much as I disagree with the hater sites on principle, they have the right to exist. It sucks, but it’s the reality. Yes, I certainly question whythe need for them, and I question what kind of individual wants to devote so much time and energy to hate. Nevertheless, I always say to them, “You’re free to say what you want on your own turf; when you come over to mine, it’s a different story.” This isn’t about people who disagree with me. My concern, however, is that the pattern does show an increasing amount of “coming together” within their ranks, and I don’t believe their role in these current allegations is completely incidental. I believe that at least a few of them may well be the movers and shakers behind it all. For sure, they are not, as they would have the naive believe, a grass roots movement comprised of random people who suddenly awoke one morning with a burning conscience about the so called “victims” of Michael Jackson.
However, lest we give any of them more credit than they deserve, here’s something I found that is interesting, and will share with you just for giggles. Out of curiosity, I looked up the rankings of these sites on Worthofweb and compared them to this site. A web site’s worth is based on many factors, but generally, the biggest factors are the amount of traffic and unique visitors the site receives on a daily basis. In other words, a website’s “worth” is directly correlated to how many people are actually reading, visiting, and returning to the site. In turn, these figures directly correlate to the website’s ranking and can be said to be a measure of its overall popularity and, perhaps, influence. So…
Here is the net worth for MJFacts, a grand total of $396!
How much is mjfacts.info worth?
estimated worth, $ 396
WOW Score:40 / 100
Here is the net worth for Desiree Speaks, which tops out at a whopping $138!
How much is desireespeakssolisten.blogspot.com worth?
estimated worth, $ 138
WOW Score:38 / 100
By contrast, here is the networth for Allforloveblog!
How much is allforloveblog.com worth?
estimated worth, $ 1,223
WOW Score:47 / 100
And, just out of further curiosity, I looked up the net worth of a fellow MJ site, Vindicating Michael:
How much is vindicatemj.wordpress.com worth?
estimated worth, $ 1,210
WOW Score:52 / 100
Wow! Maybe-just maybe-love really is more powerful than hate after all, huh!
Next installment, I am going to take on some of the most common myths that this group is using as part of their anti-MJ propaganda.
Well, it looks like I’ll have to put my planned series on Michael and race on hold just a little longer in order to address what is truly the burning issue of the fan community at the moment-these latest allegations coming from Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck. This topic is going to take several days to address in full, so I think what I will do is to write as much as I can today, and will post subsequent installments as time permits throughout the week (so please plan on checking back often this week as I update).
Not that any of this is exactly news, or should be. We’ve known for over a year that a hearing would be scheduled to determine whether Robson can proceed with his civil case against the Michael Jackson estate, MJJ Productions, and MJJ Ventures. And while things had been relatively quiet on that front for some time, I knew this would change as the actual hearing date drew nearer. To be sure, Wade and his attorney have a very strategic strategy in place, and he has a few team players who are helping him with that goal (I will get to those in due course). I predicted how a lot of this would go down over a year ago. At that time, it was also hinted that other potential accusers were waiting “in the wings”-no doubt, to see how things played out with Wade’s case. In steps Jimmy Safechuck. Well, we’ve also known since at least May-when our good “friend” Diane Dimond first broke the news (on the eve of Xscape’s U.S. release, no less) that Jimmy Safechuck was joining forces with Wade. So in other words, we’ve known this shit was gonna hit for some time. It was just a matter of when. We had to know-even through all the hype over Xscape and holograms, etc-that he was only waiting, silent as a viper, in the wings. Waiting to strike again.
There is still a very good chance (in fact, a highly probable chance) that these cases will be completely thrown out. But it was inevitable that they would engage in some form of media blitz, via their willing mouthpieces, as the time approached. I don’t think anyone is particularly shocked about that. Or shouldn’t be. But what is disturbing for many, I believe, is the especially heinous nature of these very open allegations that are being made, and how/why Wade and Jimmy are being given this platform (a platform that, frankly, even Jordan Chandler and Gavin Arvizo did not have). Due process of law would seem to guarantee that these details be kept under seal until the actual hearings. Additionally, the staggeringly and ridiculously inflated sum of money that Robson is now seeing (1.6 BILLION) is, if nothing else, bound to generate media interest in this case. One might think, whoa, this certainly LOOKS big and scary, with the bully bantam rooster flexing his wings and threatening to break the entire Michael Jackson empire. But here is the stone cold reality: Even IF he gets a trial, and even IF (god forbid) he’s awarded money, he’s not going to get anywhere near 1.6 billion. It is a strategy, just like Katherine’s civil case against AEG, to throw out the highest imaginable figure in hopes that some lower figure-any figure at all-will stick. In other words, it’s a huge bluff to see if the estate will flinch-and bite. On the other hand, Robson and Safechuck might do well to take a hint from DA Walgreen that the more reasonable you keep your charges and expectations, the more likely you are apt to come out with a favorable verdict. However, it is a more common practice in civil cases to ask for as much as possible even if the the far more likely possibility is that the plaintiff will actually receive far less. And that, of course, is in the event that the case is even decided in their favor. Criminal cases depend too much on the ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil cases are not nearly as stringent. In a civil case, the plaintiff need only convince the judge or jury via a reasonable “preponderance of the evidence.”
But all of this combined-from the ridiculously over-the-top accusations, to the inflated figure, to the very specific media outlets that are giving Wade and Jimmy this platform-make for an interesting conspiracy that smells too rotten to be ignored. Could it be possible that there IS truly something rotten…Down Under?Well, I will ponder that idea in more depth in the next few days. For the moment, since these allegations have forced us once again to consider the nature of Michael’s relationships with children, that is where I would like to start. Firstly, for anyone interested in the history of how Michael got to know Wade Robson, you can check out my earlier posts in the series on him:
I have not written much, if anything, on Jimmy Safechuck, though now that he has joined the ranks of accusers, I may get more into his history in time. For now, I am just focusing on keeping this very generalized as it pertains to all of the kids who were frequently seen in Michael’s company. I have written on this topic before, but there were still some things at the time that I was not able to delve as deeply into as I would have liked. The big question that so many have, especially those who are new to discovering MJ or have had only a casual interest and knowledge, is: What the heck WAS up with all of those kids, if it was indeed innocent in nature?
Well, for those of us who are fans and have studied not only Michael Jackson’s life and art but also his philanthropic, spiritual, and religious beliefs, none of it is a mystery. But I do think it goes beyond such simplistic explanations as “He didn’t have a childhood” or “He was just a big kid himself.” For the record (and I have said this before) I have never bought completely into the “lost childhood” myth, and certainly not as a way of excusing all of Michael’s behavior. Let me clarify. When I say it does not excuse “all” of his behavior, is this intended to imply guilt of criminal behavior? Absolutely not. In fact, I KNOW that Michael Jackson was a human being who strove to maintain the best ideals he had for himself, and for all humanity-including children. This was a man who DID save hundreds of children’s lives (both directly as a result of his actions, and indirectly as a result of the many millions of dollars he contributed to organizations and charities). This was a man who DID cry for all the pain and suffering that children of the world endured (and continue to endure as we speak). And, yes, he DID bear a lot of scars from his traumatic childhood. If anyone has doubts , they should go back and listen to Conrad Murray’s recording, where a very drugged Michael, with his guard completely down, says in no uncertain terms, “I didn’t have a childhood…I hurt.”
That recording, controversial as it was due to the circumstances under which it was recorded, tells us quite clearly-if anyone ever had an ounce of doubt- that, for Michael, this was no act he put on for the media. It was a constant pain inside of him, so deep that I don’t think any of us can ever completely fathom its depths, or the extent to which it impacted every aspect of his adult life. I have heard some say-even Lisa Marie Presley, his own wife-“Lots of people have a bad childhood. Get over it already.” Here is the problem, though, and it goes back to one of the first and primary rules of psychiatry. It is not up to us-any of us-to invalidate someone else’s pain or emotions. Every individual’s experience, and how they cope/react to it, is unique to that individual, and has validity. Anything less is the crudest form of insensitivity, on a par with telling a person who is grieving when it’s time to “snap out of it.” In other words, it is not up to us to judge whether Michael Jackson reacted appropriately or inappropriately, or whether he coped appropriately or inappropriately, to the traumas of his childhood. Those experiences; those emotions; those traumas (whatever they consisted of) were uniquely his own. And yes, while there is such a thing as “wallowing in victimhood” (and we are perfectly free whether we wish to indulge it or not) we absolutely must consider how Michael was being judged on a magnitude beyond anything that the average person has to endure.
But that doesn’t mean that there was no calculation whatsoever behind these relationships. Michael was, simply put, creating a myth for himself. I have heard people question what was up with all of those little boys wearing his outfits, and being made up to look just like him? This is an important point to address, since this has surfaced among the many more sinister allegations that Jimmy Safechuck has leveled. And while there are certainly more serious charges to address, it is a good starting point because “appearances” -i.e., what the public saw and certain patterns of behavior that were starting to be picked up by the media-is at the root of all of this, at least in the sense of placing in the public imagination the idea that “something odd” was going on.
Well, the truth was obvious and two fold. On the one hand, those kids idolized Michael Jackson, and in the 80’s and early 90’s nothing was more cool than to be able to dress “just like Michael.” Michael Jackson had a unique style, and as so ironically happens, the more unique the style, the more it attracts its throngs of imitators. Those kids idolized him and wanted to be just like him, his mirror image, in every respect. On Michael’s end, he encouraged this behavior probably for many reasons. For starters, I’m sure it stoked his ego, and I think he purposely courted a kind of myth for himself as a Pied Piper (or Peter Pan, if you will) whom kids would naturally flock to, and emulate. Let’s face it, he loved the idea of having all those little “mini me’s” surrounding him. It made for good copy, and the P.T. Barnum aspect of Michael could never resist good copy. Part of the problem, however, was that this seemingly rather eccentric behavior-as the public saw an increasing entourage of little “mini Mikes” accompanying him on tours and other public appearances-also came on the heels of fake but “bizarre” stories of sleeping in hyperbaric chambers and purchasing Elephant Man bones. In other words, the perfect groundwork was being laid for the idea in the public consciousness of Michael Jackson as someone who was, at best, weird and strange. It would not take much push beyond that to also view him as capable of sinister deeds. Of course, allegations of sexual misconduct against children are sinister, and it’s perfectly fair to say that it was the first, actual accusations made against him by Jordan Chandler which officially rendered everything that had heretefore seemed merely eccentric or “just Michael being Michael” into something sinister. For the most part. However, as I have discussed in depth on this blog before (and as many other MJ writers have also concluded) it was in the seeds of those very “harmless eccentricities” that a lot of the fire was fueled that sped a gullible public’s willingness to swallow those accusations without question. It all goes back to the adage of, “Who is really the one most apt to be a child molestor? The weird old guy down the street, or the upstanding businessman next door? Or dear, sweet Uncle Bob? It should be no big shocker that either the upstanding businessman OR dear, sweet Uncle Bob are far more likely candidates. But many in their naivety of actual child predators or how they operate will quickly and instinctively point fingers to the weird guy down the street.
Michael Was Creating A Myth
But it is also too easy to brush it off as merely ego, or the idea of Michael creating a larger-than-life Peter Pan myth. Indeed, it goes much deeper. In her excellent essay “Black and White and Proud” Barbara Kaufmann describes it as Michael’s belief in “Kid Power” and the “Kid Power” cultural message, citing the “silent and untapped” ability within children to “change the world”-something that Michael was keenly and intuitively aware of.
However idealistic or even naive his intentions, Michael did genuinely feel himself to be on a crusade. Through years of stardom and money and all of the superficial values that fame and riches represent, he agonized over what his true life’s mission must be. There clearly had to be more:
“A faint suspicion came to me, one that had never dawned so clearly before. What if that one in the mirror isn’t me? He feels separate. He sees problems “out there” to be solved. Maybe they will be, maybe they won’t. He’ll get along. But I don’t feel that way-those problems aren’t “out there,” not really. I feel them inside me…”-Michael Jackson, excerpted from “That One In The Mirror,” Dancing The Dream.
An excellent point was raised by someone on my Twitter timeline, and I think this is a good place to address it because part of the answer to this question ties in exactly to this idea and the whole “Kid Power” myth that Michael began to perpetuate more and more as the 80’s decade faded into the 90’s-the decade that would really see most of his problems begin. The question (sarcasm fully intended, of course) was: Did Michael suddenly become a pedophile in the 90’s? He became an adult in 1976. How come there were no accusations in the 70’s and 80’s? That is an excellent question. From a fan and “defender” perspective, it makes perfect sense. However, I can also say that I know exactly how the haters would come back and respond to that one. So let’s address it from both angles (it is important, after all, to understand their perspective in order to refute it). The obvious answer, of course, would be that, since Michael was NOT a pedophile, the reason no accusations surfaced in the 70’s and 80’s would be because there were no such accusations to report, and never were. But that’s not an answer that will satisfy skeptics, so let’s move on. The more likely reason is that, obviously, he was simply not worth going after as a target until all of the conditions and circumstances that culminated by the early 1990’s made it feasible. The simple truth is that no one cared enough to go after him as a target until, obviously, he was the richest and most powerful man in the business, and that makes perfect sense. The higher and mightier, the harder the fall-and all the more perks that can be gleaned from that fall. In the late 70’s his star was actually on the decline until the release of The Wiz and Off The Wall put him on the map again. There simply wasn’t as much incentive to go after him, nor was there really any viable reason why such a charge might stick or be remotely believable. He was still, in the public mind, “Little Michael” from The Jackson 5, whose reputation was about as pure as driven snow gets.
The Bad Era Truly Represented Michael “Coming Into His Own” As An Adult, One Who Was Now Fully Independent And In Total Control Of His Life. Unfortunately, It May Also Have Marked The Beginning Of The End.
Enter the 1980’s. Thriller becomes the biggest selling album of all time, and Michael’s star-as well as his net worth-shoots into the stratosphere. But despite this, he is still-at least for a couple of years post-Thriller, a “puppet” of the industry. While this may have had its drawbacks in terms of holding him down, it means there is still a hard shell of protection around him that is mostly implacable to the corruptive forces and vultures who will soon come sweeping down. He is a superstar, but still not completely his own entity. He still tours as a member of The Jacksons. He continues to live at home with his parents (which is maybe not a bad thing, seeing as how it restricts the people he can actually allow into his life). Michael had his share of legal woes and bubbling-just-under-the-radar scandals even then, but they were usually of the same ilk as most popular young male entertainers, paternity suits and things of that order. His acquisition of the ATV catalog, at mid decade, is what seriously starts to change the rules of the game. By the time of the Bad album, he is solidified not only as a solo act but as a “brand.” He is also (understandably) just a little drunk with some of his newfound wealth and freedom. He can call his own shots. He has severed ties with his mother’s religion. He has his own digs-nearly three thousand acres’ worth. By 1990, he has signed the most lucrative recording contract in history. In many crucial ways, I think that what we start to witness of Michael during this phase is akin to a kind of late blooming of adolescence. His behavior during this period was on a par with what we usually see in much younger performers who have suddenly acquired wealth, fame, and power. (Think Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus, maybe right before their behavior became so scandalous, or the excesses of most rock stars who usually acquire their fame in their early to mid twenties). Michael was nearly thirty by this point, and although he was certainly not new to wealth or fame, his life as a child star and as a member of a successful family group meant that until that point, he had known little in the way of actual independence. The song that baby sister Janet sang-“Control”-could have just as easily been Michael’s new theme song as well. This created a heady brew, and I think it would be naive to assume that this had no impact or bearing on him at all. Indeed, it must have felt quite exhilarating to finally have arrived at this pinnacle. In Michael’s case, the excesses did not so much manifest themselves in the usual pop star ways-lavish spending, parties, drugs and sex-but with the newfound freedom he had to fully explore his artistic vision and the kind of myths which he wished to create. Thus, I think it is why we finally see, during this phase, the full coming to fruition of what Barbara Kaufmann so aptly described as his belief in “Kid Power” and its ability to bring about world change. From that point forward, freed from the last vestiges of his Jackson family fame, he sought to “make himself over” in his new image. From this point forward, everything would be larger-than-life, bigger, better, and bolder. So one can imagine that if part of his modus operandi was to bring to light the idea of “Kid Power” and its possibilities, he was going to make it the loudest and boldest statement possible. We certainly can’t say Michael ever did anything halfway.
I stated that I know exactly how the haters and objective critics will spin this, as they have already done, over and over. They like to portray a much more sinister and Machiavellian view of Michael during this late 80’s/early 90’s phase, as someone who was simply growing bolder and bolder in “flaunting” his “perversions” to the world. And in some ways, the very scenario I have depicted-of Michael as a young, newly emancipated and powerful man who was finally free to indulge his every whim, both personally, professionally and creatively-is one that would certainly not appear, on the surface, at least, to completely contradict that view. But in the end, a lot of it simply comes down to whether one wants to look at it from a pure minded view, or a jaded and cynical one. I am convinced that the only thing Michael was guilty of “flaunting” was, perhaps, a very big ego coupled with a naive belief that he could actually “dare to be different” and go against the norm of societal expectations without expecting that there were bound to be some consequence; some form of backlash.
This Pepsi ad from 1988 featuring Jimmy Safechuck (which ironically at the time was my favorite of all Michael’s Pepsi commercials) played on the idea of Michael as a hero that every kid in the 80’s wanted to emulate:
Michael was genuinely beloved by kids everywhere (and still is today!). One only has to look at all the thousands of kids who are still constantly imitating his moves and dressing like him; or the joy on their faces when they hear his music or watch Thriller. Michael capitalized on that love in a way that was, by turns, both calculated and genuine, as a means of fulfilling his “Kid Power” vision. But also, I think kids sensed in him that he was not phony; that he genuinely loved THEM as much as they loved him. Or as Michael himself would say, “I love you more.” It was always (and still is) a reciprocal relationship that children all over the world connected and responded to.
Kids Adored Him Then. They Still Do Today!
Unfortunately, we live in a jaded world where, too often, we have seen many of our most beloved children’s heroes and mentors tainted by scandal, from “Pee Wee Herman” getting caught masturbating in an adult theater to the more recent posthumous allegations against Jimmy Saville. In the aftermath of so many actual cases where popular children’s idols have proven to be pedophiles or perverted in other ways (since I used the Pee Wee Herman example) , the cynicism and skepticism becomes easier to understand. Additionally, we have to understand that many know only the broadest and most distorted view of how Michael’s relationships with children have been portrayed. This most recent media smear campaign, unfortunately, will do little to alleviate this misunderstanding, and is only serving to further muddy the waters-quite literally, I might add. However, if it’s any comfort, I do believe that a lot of fans are needlessly overreacting to it. Not surprisingly, we pay more attention to this stuff than the average person because, for obvious reasons, it matters more to us. And, weirdly enough, there is another group at the opposite end of the spectrum whom it matters to as well- the haters. But beyond the tabloids and Hollywood gossip sites, I haven’t seen that much interest generated by these latest allegations. It’s not on the front page of CNN news; it’s not trending on Twitter; Nancy Grace isn’t shouting about it. Granted, that may change IF Robson and Safechuck are allowed to move forward with a trial, but right now, this is just a lot of hot air hooey and a lot of chest puffing designed to bluff the estate and make them sweat a bit before the hearings-and perhaps, as a bit of a macabre side note, to make the fan base squirm as well. But keep in mind no amount of publicity and no amount of campaigning their case to the media will have any bearing on the due process of law. The court, ultimately, will be the one that determines if they actually have enough grounds to proceed. But as I’ve said before, the stakes of this trial are going to have relatively little interest for the media aside from whatever salacious details can be gleaned from it. Civil trials, in general, are less interesting than criminal ones, and in this case the accused is already dead, so it’s not like there is going to be the guaranteed ratings bonanza of a possible conviction (this, more than anything, was what generated so much interest in the 2005 trial). Both the AEG trial and even the Conrad Murray death trial barely registered with the public, although both were reported. However, I guarantee that you will be hard pressed to find anyone other than the hardcore fans who could actually tell you anything that came out of either trial. I still find people every day who never even realized that Murray was convicted! Those trials, too, promised lots of salacious details about Michael’s personal life (though, granted, I think any accusation of child sex abuse concerning him will always generate more media coverage than the tragic details of his demise). All the same, however, the stakes simply aren’t as high. Michael Jackson is dead, so he can’t be criminally charged or convicted. Wade and Jimmy are grown-ass men, not little boys, and while there may be some professed sympathy from the pseudo “victim support” faction (most of which I suspect are phony in their case, anyway) it’s simply not the same as when the case involves someone who is still a child, and thus still vulnerable.
Moreover, not only are Wade and Jimmy grown-ass men, but it is well known that they are grown-ass men who gave sworn testimony that they were never abused, and did so freely of their own accord AS adults. And please, spare me all the arguments of Stockholm syndrome, etc. I am very well versed in the psychology of child abuse victims. I am very well aware that the Stockholm syndrome exists (although in this case I call bullshit on it) but all of that is beside the point. I am talking about how it looks from a legal standpoint, as well as how it has deflected much of the public sympathy that these two might have had. From what I can see, none of this (at least so far) has made any dent on the Michael Jackson brand, which is a far cry from how the public reacted in 2005. Xscape is still selling as well as ever; the Immortal shows are still packing them in every night, and just this week, So You Think You Can Dance? (a show that Wade Robson has strong affiliations with) announced a Michael Jackson themed show that will serve as the official launching premier of the new single A Place With No Name. As some have already been quick to point out, if this isn’t a snub directly in Wade’s face, I don’t know what is.
Even though it is the haters’ greatest wish, and the goal of this current conspiracy, all attempts to turn Michael Jackson into the “next Jimmy Saville” or the “next Jerry Sandusky” or to even remotely paint him into that corner have so far proven futile. He remains a beloved performer whose fan base and legacy continues to grow rather than diminish, and for whom the loyalty and resolve of those who love him only seems to strengthen with every adversity. Overall, there seems to be a general consensus among the public that Michael Jackson the man is gone, and that his life (however he lived it) and his legacy (however he made it) has been done. Most are content at this point to enjoy what he left us, and to leave whatever sins he may have committed on this earth to God’s judgement. What I have seen overall is a general jadedness and even disgust with what Wade and Jimmy are trying to do-from average citizens to celebrities, most are saying, “Enough already.”
The General Consensus Of The Public, Now That He Is Gone, Seems To Be: Let’s Just Be Content To Enjoy What He Left Us. Anything Beyond That Is In God’s Hands Now.
But to get back to the question of why no allegations before 1993, it’s more a case of the fact that there was no high profile interest in such incidents prior to the 1990’s. Diane Dimond and others have hinted at vague and unproven pre-1990 incidents, such as the one Dimond recounts in her 2005 book Be Careful Who You Love of a Mexican gardener for the Jacksons who allegedly had two sons and to whom Michael allegedly wrote a substantial check (which Diane claims enabled the family to move back to Mexico). All of this information came from a typically unnamed source-“The Mormon”-who had supposedly gone to the FBI with the information. The FBI followed through, but there was simply nothing to go on, and the investigation was closed. Also, Victor Guiterrez was already on his one-man mission to “out” Michael Jackson as a pedophile long before 1993-and long before Evan Chandler came into the picture. You can read more about Guiterrez and his “mission” in the links I posted to my previous series, especially Parts 4 and 5. You may also be interested to check out some of the reader comments below this post, where some of my fellow astute MJ researchers have pointed out the connection to “The Mormon” and Victor Guiterrez.
We also have to keep in mind that it was during the early 1990’s when the “witch hunt hysteria” against suspected child molestors reached its peak with the McMartin Preschool trial and other day-care cases, which even Wikipedia refers to as a “moral panic.” In this atmosphere, no one was truly safe from false accusation. No one was immune. I think what we can safely surmise from this is that a combination of unique factors-as well as a very interesting cast of characters-were already laying the groundwork that would ultimately culminate in making Michael a very vulnerable target by the time of the Chandler extortion. But it was the resultant publicity and settlement of that case which really opened the floodgates. Since that time, there have been a number of fake cases and “phantom victims” that have been concocted against Michael Jackson, either for attention or with the hope of some kind of pay out. Here are just a few of the more well known “scams” and scammers who tried to concoct phony child abuse sex cases against Michael.
Why have so many tried this? You would think they would know full well that they needed real evidence to make a case stick. But I think the answer is in the unique reality of the Michael Jackson cases. Partly because of Michael’s reputation, and the all too eager participation of the media in helping to create that reputation-it became easy to make a gullible public believe most anything about Michael Jackson. You can see for yourself how in the case of the Canadian ring (the first video) that Diane Dimond is only too ready to go the Canadian police with the bogus story, and it is only after the teenager confesses it’s a hoax that she back pedals on this plan.
Any story about him was at least guaranteed to give the perpetrator a windfall from going to the tabloids. I think most knew full well that their concocted stories would never hold up under the scrutiny of a court, but there was always the hope that if they created enough stir in the media that they might exert some sort of pressure for a settlement offer. And even if not, they could still line their pockets quite handsomely just from the tabloids and TV appearances alone. In other words, it didn’t take long for a kind of black market to spring up around the idea of accusing Michael Jackson-of anything. The tragedy is that death hasn’t stopped it. In fact, due to the lack of protection against defamation for the dead, it has actually increased. After all, Michael Jackson cannot answer any charges made against him now. He cannot defend himself.
Just Ask Kenya How Much Michael Jackson Loved Having Poop On His Floor!
Case in point: Just this week, claims surfaced from three conveniently unnamed maids who supposedly worked at Neverland in the 90’s, There was no point whatsoever to the article except to claim that Michael’s house was filthy, and to add the obligatory bizarre streak, often smeared with feces (?) and that he, apparently, pissed whereever the urge hit. Granted, NONE of this had anything whatsoever to do with the allegations of Wade and Jimmy, yet it doesn’t take much brain wattage to conclude that it’s all either a very calculated part of the plan or, at least, a case of shit feeding off of shit (pun fully intended). These smear campaigns tend to snowball and take on a life of their own once they get started. And even when you have stories like this which have nothing to do with the allegations, they are nevertheless obviously intended to paint a picture of the individual-in this case, reinforcing the idea of abnormality and “freakishness”. In turn, such stories create a perception of the person in the public consciousness. “Gee, this guy was so weird I wouldn’t put anything past him.”
Anyway, why I bring this up now is because not only has at least one Neverland maid stepped forward to refute this ridiculous story, but also has confirmed (again!) a fact that I have heard over and over from Michael’s friends and those who knew him, that all at various times have been offered large sums of money to dish dirt.
The fact is, even if Michael wasa slob (and yes, I have seen the pics of the Carolwood bathroom as well as the piles of junk he hoarded at Neverland), my reaction has always been, So what? I mean, what are we supposed to take from that? Last time I checked, it wasn’t a crime. (And besides, if these women were hired as maids, wasn’t it supposed to be their damned job to clean up the mess? I mean, seriously, how could Neverland be so filthy if the maids were doing their job? Michael must have had a knack for hiring some of the laziest employees in the business!). These stories, obviously, are not meant to serve any purpose except as a kind of embarrassment to the subject. As we have discussed previously in comments exchanged on this blog, the titillation is in the thrill of “outting” someone’s “secrets.” That is what the celebrity gossip industry thrives on.
Adding in the needlessly scatalogical elements and the idea of someone urinating openly in their own home was purely for shock value, to put him on a par with a wild animal or something sub human. What person in their right mind is going to urinate in the very space that they live and breathe in? Not to mention, the “poop” stories are absolutely absurd and we have proof of that in the bodyguards’ book Remember The Time. Memory jog: When did Whitfield and Beard say was the only time they ever really saw Michael furious with Prince? Hmmm? Yep, that’s right-when he stepped in the “gift” left by Kenya (the children’s Lab) on the garage floor. Prince not only received a very severe verbal dressing down, but was ordered to clean up the mess and thereafter, was a lot more vigilant about his responsibilities. This certainly doesn’t sound like the reaction of someone who “loved” poop so much that he kept his own house smeared with it.
Anyway, enough of that bs and I would not even find such a story worth mentioning except for the fact that it highlights exactly what I’m talking about here. Like I said, such stories may not be as bad as tales of anal rape, but they all to some degree serve their collective purpose, if enough of them keep piling on.
Fans have no legal recourse, and it is left mostly to his estate and family to pick up the slack-and, quite frankly, I don’t think either have done a stellar job on that front. (Just keeping it real here). To his credit, Taj Jackson has recently launched a Twitter attack against the tabloids, but it would be nice if more of them would speak up-that is, to speak up and truly defend, not just to give the same weak responses they always do. But what are some other factors that have made Michael Jackson, in particular, so vulnerable to these accusations?
There has grown up around Michael a myth of someone who was, at the very least, a “boy lover” (a term often reserved for homosexual men with a predilection for very young boys, which may or may not necessarily be sexual in nature, but does usually denote a connotation of desired intimacy). On the surface, it is certainly easy to understand how and why this myth has taken hold. Michael certainly always “seemed” to have the company of a lot of young male friends around-and all of the accusers have been male. But I’m going to propose something here quite shocking. Michael had no sexual interest in boys. Period. In fact, that was the very reason he made sure-especially in public settings-that it was boys he was seen with, and not girls (though media manipulation has had a lot to do with this perception through the years as well-just look at how many photos you see where the boys’ sisters and mothers, etc., have been cropped out of the pics so as to make it look as though it is only Michael and the boy!).
A great and well known example of a photo that has often been manipulated by the media. The full shot shows Michael carrying Lily Chandler in his arms, with Jordan walking beside them. But media outlets almost always chop the pic so that it looks as if it is only of him and Jordan!
If anything, Michael used the boys as a smokescreen. Why? Because he preferred the myth he was creating as the innocent and magical Pied Piper to the typical, pop star “horn dog” image, and because-in what has to be one of the great ironies of history-he felt safer and less apt to be judged in their company. As I have said before, Michael was from the old school era which had taught him that an adult male’s place-if he was going to be in the company of kids-was with kids of the same gender. He would have considered it far more improper to have girls sleeping in his room, or traveling with him-even though they often did in the company of their brothers and parents. However, we have to remember that Michael was raised in an era long before the current politically correct standard, in which same sex adults sharing a room with a child could still be viewed as inappropriate. Case in point: When I was a little girl, I thought nothing of being in the bathroom with my mother or grandmother as they bathed, or in the bedroom with them as they dressed. That was normal and natural. But it would have certainly felt very abnormal and weird to be in the bathroom with my father or grandfather, or to be in the bedroom with them when they dressed. Wade’s sister Chantal Robinson said-in her own words, coming from her own mouth-that she felt “uncomfortable” sharing a bed with Michael and that was why she discontinued staying in his room. She was never at any time asked or ordered to leave, but the general consensus from all parties seemed to be that it was not the proper place for a female child.
The truth is that the displays of affection that Michael lavished on these boys-and which even now, questionable “witnesses” are attempting to use against him-was the kind of affection that he lavished equally on children of both sexes. Here is an obvious example, with this video footage that recently surfaced of Michael and Sage Romero: I have seen video footage where it may appear, on first glance, that Michael’s displays of affection may seem a bit “excessive” by most peoples’ standards-he definitely believed in giving hugs and kisses!-but Michael also said that he would never deny any child what he himself had been so denied growing up. Physical but innocent affection-hugs and kisses-were what he most longed for from his own father. Yet I think these displays of affection are what many sick minds have tried to twist into something more-if the price or incentive was right. It doesn’t take much connecting of the dots to figure, for example, how people like the Quindoys- upon perhaps witnessing an innocent hug given by Michael to Macaulay Culkin-managed to transform that hug into a “groping” outside the pants and then-as the dollar price for their story increased-quickly became a case of groping “inside” the pants. And I’ve always suspected that the alleged nonsense over his “head licking” of Gavin Arvizo probably stemmed from some stupid jerk who witnessed nothing more than an affectionate kiss on the head (a gesture Michael was prone to do, including with his own kids).
Michael essentially had two distinctly different modes when he was around kids, depending on their age. Unfortunately, both have been used against him for the wrong reasons, without any serious attempt to put either in their proper context, and often in the process creating contradictions that even the accusers and haters trip all over themselves trying to keep straight. I mean, really, was he encouraging young boys to hate girls, or actively encouraging them to get turned on by watching them perform explicit sexual acts? It can’t work both ways, although I think I can shed some light on how/why some of these myths have taken hold. One myth that has grown up around Michael is the idea that he despised girls and encouraged small boys to feel likewise. Yet this is not borne out by any actual footage or evidence that we see of Michael interacting with kids at Neverland (granted, what we see is usually what Michael wanted us to see-I will go ahead and beat the haters to that punch!-but there are also far more logical reasons to debunk this nonsense). Where a lot of this myth originated-and has continued to be perpetuated over and over as part of the haters’ propaganda-is from an alleged list of “six wishes” that Michael reportedly told Jordan Chandler to repeat every day. Well, this “list” originated from Victor Guiterrez’s fantasy novel “Michael Jackson Was My Lover” (so that fact alone should tell you of its credibility) I have yet to actually see a produced copy of this “list”; however, I tend to believe the mantra probably did exist, as its wording and phrasing is very similar to words and phrases Michael tended to use-but obviously, in Guiterrez’s hands, they became twisted completely out of context:
“NO wenches, bitches, heifers or hoes (whores). NEVER give up your “bliss” (sex acts). LIVE with me in Neverland forever. NO conditioning. NEVER grow up. BE better than best friends forever (lovers)”-Excerpted from Michael Jackson Was My Lover by Victor Guiterrez.
I left the above passage completely unaltered from Guiterrez’s version for a reason, so that you can see just how he manipulated the meaning and intent of the tenets within the context of a dirty, perverted mind. Everything in parenthesis from that passage are HIS words and additions (not Michael’s).
First of all, Michael most emphatically did NOT use the word “bliss” as a code word for something sexual. He meant it exactly in the same context that he wrote in his poem “Are You Listening?” from Dancing The Dream:
Are You Listening ?
Who am I?
Who are you?
Where did we come from?
Where are we going?
Whats it all about?
Do you have the answers?
Immortalitys my game
From Bliss I came
In Bliss I am sustained
To Bliss I return
If you dont know it now
Its a shame
Are you listening?
This body of mine
Is a flux of energy
In the river of time
Eons pass, ages come and go
I appear and disappear
In the twinkling of an eye
I am the particle
I am the wave
Whirling at lightning speed
I am the fluctuation
That takes the lead
I am the Prince
I am the Knave
I am the doing
That is the deed
I am the galaxy, the void of space
In the Milky Way
I am the craze
I am the thinker, the thinking, the thought
I am the seeker, the seeking, the sought
I am the dewdrop, the sunshine, the storm
I am the phenomenon, the field, the form
I am the desert, the ocean, the sky
I am the Primeval Self
In you and I
Pure unbounded consciousness
Truth, existence, Bliss am I
In infinite expressions I come and go
In the twinkling of an eye
But immortalitys my game
Ever the same
From Bliss I came
In Bliss I am sustained
Join me in my dance
Please join me now
If you forget yourself
Youll never know how
This game is played
In the ocean bed of Eternity
Stop this agony of wishing
Play it out
Dont think, dont hesitate
Curving back within yourself
Just create just create
Immortality’s my game
From Bliss I came
In Bliss Im sustained
To Bliss I return
If you dont know it now
Its a shame Are you listening?
This reference to bliss is clearly in the theological sense of the word, as a biblical “place” or state of being (usually defined as “Heaven” and associated with the joys of the biblical Heaven) but, as has been well documented on this site and from many other great sources on Michael-both scholarly and popular-Michael redefined his personal definition of “Bliss” after his break from the strict doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witness faith to a more immanent view that included the (for him) revelatory belief that “Bliss: could exist on earth, in the here and now. It did not have to be some abstract concept, dependent upon some idea of an abstract place and an abstract God. This could be interpreted a number of ways in the tenet, but its most likely definition-given that Michael was addressing it to a child-was to not give up on what makes you happy. Keep to your dreams.
To even attempt to twist such an idea into something sexual is in itself the height of perversity. Additionally, there is no proof that the tenet “Be better than best friends forever” is meant to be construed as “being lovers.” Really, it carries no deeper meaning than two boys cutting their palms so that they can become “blood brothers.”
But what I really want to focus on-because it has been so conveniently used by haters to “prove” their agenda of Michael as a boy lover who hated girls-is the first tenet.
As I’ve said, Michael was able to compartmentalize his child empathy to fit the mental and physical ages of the children he was around. When he was around a group of kids aged 7-12 or so, he could easily be one of the “Lost Boys.” What are boys of that age group, before the hormones of puberty hit, largely interested in? Well, they are interested in sports and video games, “snails and puppy dog tails,” etc as the old saying goes but the one thing they most definitely are NOT interested in is girls. This is the height of the “girls have cooties” stage, and it is simply one of the rites of passage of boyhood. Does anyone remember Dennis The Menace, and how he hated Margaret (for no good reason except she was a “creepy girl” and “icky?”). This was an idea that was epitomized by Our Gang (The Little Rascals) in the film, “The He-Man Woman Haters’ Club” in which Spanky and Alfalfa form a club where no girls are allowed. Of course, the plot hinged on the fact that Alfalfa would be tempted by the “seductress” Darla Hood into betraying his fellow club members. To her credit, even our nemesis Desiree from the “Desiree Speaks” blog recognized and had to concede this connection.
I don’t necessarily condone referring to women as “wenches, bitches, heifers and hos” but if one looks at the tenet in context, it is really nothing more than a variant on the idea of the “He-Man Woman Haters’ Club” and a reference to this very innocent phase of boyhood, something that Michael would have understood implicitly. It could also be a kind of way of advising, “Don’t let any girl bring you down” because, usually, the most crushing thing any adolescent boy can endure is that first heartbreak inflicted by a girl.
My bottom line: This is NOT some proof that Michael had an agenda to turn boys against girls. If anything, it only shows that he understood how little boys think. It’s an age of innocence that passes all too quickly, never to return again. Michael understood that.
YET here is where it gets complicated. Often, the very same accusers (and haters) who try to claim that Michael’s modus operandi was to turn them against girls are, ironically, the same ones who will claim that Michael used straight pornography to entice them. There are stories after stories of him making crude jokes about girls in front of the boys and things of that nature. But we can see already how this paints a very contradictory picture. Did he want them to hate girls, or did he want them to be turned on by women so that he could get some perverse, vicarious pleasure from it? They seem to want it both ways, but it doesn’t work that way.
I have said that Michael was able to compartmentalize his relationships with children. Michael had many very young friends, but his method of conduct around them was very different from the way he interacted with older, adolescent boys (aged 13 and up). What I am about to say may be controversial, and it may offend some. For that, I will apologize in advance. But I have never held to the belief that Michael was some kind of saint, or anything more or less than a flawed human being, even if albeit a very talented human being with many wonderful qualities. But bear in mind, that doesn’t make him a saint. And I have said before that part of exonerating Michael as a criminal may mean accepting certain human flaws that, while they may paint his character in a less than pristine light, may be necessary in order to understand why he was NOT a criminal. If that makes sense. Bear with me.
It’s no secret that Michael kept a lot of pornography. A lot. The trial pretty much made that fact open record, so there is no point in being shy about it. Don’t get me wrong, I feel genuinely embarrassed for Michael that this stuff was ever made public record, and yes, I feel a sense of shame that I know far more about this very private aspect of Michael’s life than I should. But the pornography that was found-while excessive- was all heterosexual and legal adult pornography. I don’t judge Michael for having these items. He was an adult, after all. Nor do I buy the favorite hater line that this porn collection somehow perverted the idea of Neverland as a “kid friendly place.” Yes, it was, and Michael clearly kept those boundaries. But it was also his private home. Just because he loved the magic of childhood innocence-and wanted to give children a place where they could experience that-didn’t mean that he didn’t have adult drives that he was perfectly free to entertain in the privacy of his own quarters.
Since at least three accusers have now tried to claim that Michael showed them pornography as part of the “grooming process” this bears looking into. Among Gavin Arvizo’s claims was that Michael showed him a magazine (although when questioned under oath, he identified it as a magazine that had not even been published when the alleged incident took place!) and that Michael made a crude sexual joke with a mannequin (basically, emulating the sex act by humping it).
I will set something straight for the record. I don’t believe that Michael ever showed pornography to the younger kids, but what about the teenagers? Those who were already well past adolescence? Could it be that Michael’s desire to be “one of the boys” caused some exercises in poor judgment? Even if he never showed it to them but bragged about having it (as in keeping with the adolescent mindset) this could have led curious youngsters to snoop into his room and private stash, as happened with Gavin and Star Arvizo when they were caught by Michael’s nephew Rijo masturbating to porn in Michael’s bedroom (for the record, Michael himself was not present when this incident occurred).
But one thing we have to understand is that Michael (and this is something I have reasonably gleamed from many private conversations with those who knew him, as well as many publicly available accounts) had a sometimes bizarre-and quite frankly adolescent-sense of humor. So, just as with any normal teenage boy, there’s a good chance that a lot of braggadocio-jokes about girls’ anatomy and references to the sexual act, etc- could have occurred. It’s the sort of thing that adolescent boys do for shits and giggles. Michael wasn’t an adolescent, of course, but it’s very likely that in his mind, he saw such behavior as just another manifestation of reliving his adolescent childhood. That Michael did joke around about girls in a sexual manner with his adolescent friends has been pretty much confirmed by Frank Cascio and others. This is what Frank wrote in his book “My Friend Michael”:
“We always tried to embarrass each other in front of women. I was shy—in many ways I still am—and knowing this, Michael would put me on the spot with women, saying, “Frank thinks you’re beautiful. He wants to kiss you.” Or we’d be standing in the back of an elevator car behind an attractive hotel maid, and I’d feel Michael subtly nudging my hand toward the girl’s butt. I’d shake him off before the girl noticed. It was juvenile—maintaining this private exchange that kept the girls at a distance. “-Frank Cascio, Excerpted From “My Friend Michael.”
Now THIS is the sort of thing I’m talking about, and it seems harmless enough. Just a couple of guys goofing off and acting silly. But my point is: Imagine Michael did this sort of thing often enough with some of his young friends (and he did). So then, let’s say down the road that this kid (now an adult) decides he wants to bring an accusation in hopes of getting some money. It doesn’t take much to construe an incident like the above into something much more graphic and sinister.
In other words, what we are really talking here has more to do with questionable AGE APPROPRIATE behavior than criminal behavior per se. But it becomes easy to see how such behavior might have made him vulnerable and eventually set him up down the road, as these young men could now twist these scenarios to use for their own advantage. If he so much as bragged about his “stash” (again, very typical adolescent boy behavior); if he revealed too much about what he liked or “how he liked it”; any of that could then be twisted out of context and used against him. I have a strong suspicion that what may be happening in the case of Wade and Jimmy (unless one subscribes to the theory that they are just out and out lying and concocting all of this from scratch) is that between their shared attorney and shared psychiatrist, they are now being convinced that anyaction Michael did; any joke that ever passed between them; any gesture; any words of affection constituted “abuse.” We have already seen at least one allegation where Safechuck has tried to make something perverted out of simply holding Michael’s hand!
I feel this is important to state even if some may take issue with any idea of wrongdoing or age inappropriate behavior on Michael’s part. But this is very consistent with the kind of behavior and sense of humor that many of his closest friends have ascribed. “Jesus Juice,” for example, is another case where Michael’s sometimes off the wall humor and creative wordplay became, ultimately, the source for misunderstanding-or deliberate misrepresentation. Michael would drink wine out of coke cans to keep children (his own as well as others) from knowing he was drinking alcohol. If they asked, he would jokingly say he was drinking “Jesus Juice” and it was not for them. We all know how that seemingly innocent line later became twisted in the media reports of the trial! Suddenly, it was no longer a secret code that Michael used to keep kids from knowing he was drinking wine; it was a sinister phrase he used to entice kids to drink it with him!
In other words, I believe that when Michael was among a bunch of adolescent boys, he tended to “think” and act like an adolescent. This may or may not excuse some of his more juvenile behavior and antics, but what we seriously have to question is: Does age inappropriate behavior necessarily equate to criminal behavior? I am talking here, of course, the distinction between telling a few off color jokes or bragging about his porn stash as opposed to actually committing a brutal sex act upon a minor-that is still a vastly huge difference.
So what exactly isthe truth behind these graphic allegations, and what is the strategic purpose behind them? More importantly, who is behind them, and why?
I will try to address all of these questions-as well as getting to the heart of the “Australian Conspiracy”-later this week.
After finishing Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard’s Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days last night, I am left with a lot of burning, impotent anger and sadness. “Impotent” is the right word to use. These emotions are impotent simply because, as strong as those emotions may be after finishing this book, there is left, above all, the lingering sense of helplessness. Michael’s life is what it became, and now he is gone. He is gone, and no one can do anything about it; no one can go back and change anything. We cannot undo all of the damage that was done to a human being. We can only, somehow, stand in the ashes and try to make sense of it. That, above all else, is what I take from this book. I believe that Whitfield and Beard, in their own way, are still trying to make sense of what really happened to Michael Jackson, the man they knew affectionately as “Boss” and their intent is to help the fans understand as well.
To what extent the book fails or succeeds in that regard is largely up to what the reader wishes to take from it. It has its areas of strengths and weaknesses.
But let’s back up. The title is a bit cliche’-ish, not to mention it is already the title of another MJ book, the one written by Theresa Gonsalves. But titles can’t be copyrighted and, anyway, it’s definitely not the same book by any stretch of the imagination.
If The Bodyguards’ Book Sounds Familiar, At Least In Part, There Is A Good Reason For That!
However, most MJ fans and savvy readers will know why certain parts of the book DO seem very familiar. That is because a good bulwark of this book has been told before, by Dr. Karen Moriarty in her self-published book Defending A King: His Life & Legacy. That book had its beginnings when Dr. Moriarty had originally met with Whitfield, Beard and Michael Garcia (who later pulled out) with the intention of becoming their ghost writer for the book. What ultimately happened to that “understanding” is detailed in the introduction to Moriarty’s book, where she states that eventually they realized they were simply not on the same page in regards to the story they wanted to tell. The upshot was that Moriarty’s book, while still relying heavily on the bodyguards’ stories in the chapters portraying the last two years of his life and especially of his time in Las Vegas, became ultimately very much its own book, less memoir and more biography.
After reading the book, I have a clearer understanding of why these differences occurred. But I will address those issues in a bit.
The choice of cover photograph is an interesting one. It’s the same photo that was used for the promos of the Martin Bashir “Living With Michael Jackson” documentary. It is a very handsome photo from Michael’s mature era, which is appropriate since this is a book whose time span is covering the last two and a half years or so of his life, but it is also a photo that seems to emphasize the loneliness and isolation of its subject. (Michael isn’t smiling in the photo; it is a seemingly contemplative pose with a meditative, melancholy expression, as he gazes outward as if searching for something that isn’t there). It’s a fitting and haunting image for a reader’s first impression of the book, since Michael’s isolation really becomes the central theme of the book.
My Recommended Recipe For Reading MJ Memoirs-An Open Mind, And The Occasional, Handy Pinch of Salt
Any time that I read a book written by someone who actually knew or worked with Michael, a list that is growing exponentially longer every day, I try to keep both an open mind and a heaping grain of salt nearby (you know, just in case it comes in handy!). The open mind is important, because the one thing I always have to keep uppermost in mind is that I can’t pretend to know more about Michael than those who were actually around him 24-7. So that means if, occasionally, the picture they present doesn’t jibe with the Michael I thought I knew so well, then so be it (however, I never really found that to be the case here; fortunately, I don’t carry around some idyllic vision of who I believe Michael was, so I suppose that helps in keeping the open mind). However, that little pinch of salt doesn’t hurt, either. Because I also know that, ultimately, anyone’s views of Michael Jackson-even those who claimed to be friends or were employees working for him every day-will inevitably have perceptions that are colored by their own experiences, whether positive or negative. There is also always the danger of the “I was the only one he could trust/the only one he could confide in” syndrome, which a savvy reader has to be aware of anytime they pick up a book written by any individual claiming to be someone who got close to Michael. To their credit, Whitfield and Beard are very honest about this syndrome (they do not claim to be immune to it or as lone exceptions to the rule)and, in fact, go to some lengths in the book to analyze this peculiar phenomenon of celebrity-one that isn’t actually so curious if one keeps in mind that, when talking Michael Jackson and his empire, it was all about the power struggle-who had control; who had his ear at any given moment. And, not to be excluded, the fact that Michael himself had that innate ability-that aura-that always made everyone around him feel somehow special, as if they were the only one in his world who mattered. It was a special gift Michael possessed, but in many ways, one that also proved his undoing.
Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard
But Whitfield and Beard were used to being around famous people, even if admittedly they were a bit starstruck at first to realize they were working for Michael Jackson. However, being starstruck was something that soon wore off, as they settled into the job of simply protecting a family-a single father, his three children, and an ever growing menagerie of pets as the children attempted to fill the void of being uprooted from Neverland, the only permanent home they had ever known. There are times when the story seems almost as though it could have been the pilot for “The Brady Bunch”-“Here’s the story of a lovely father/Who was bringing up three very lovely kids”-and, hey, all that’s needed to complete the picture is an “Alice” or two-so now we have Grace, Bill, and Javon, who essentially take on that role even if they do carry lots of big guns. It’s all very sweet, but over it all looms the knowledge that this is a family marred by tragedy; a family that has had to learn to live inside a protective bubble and can never be truly “normal” (though their attempts at normalcy form the poignant heart of the book) and a story where, unfortunately, we already know the fatal outcome. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fun and sweet moments along the way. Like a very good tear jerker movie, it’s possible to enjoy the journey even if you know this isn’t going to be a happy ending.
But it begs some of the same questions as watching a movie like Titanic,for example. If we already know how the story ends, why do we read books like this? Easy answer. Any time we already know how the story ends, we read not for the destination, but for the journey. We read because we are always hungry to learn more about who Michael was/is. There is still the ongoing fascination with who this man was. Yes, we can say he told us all we needed to know in his music-in fact, he told us more in his music and poems than we will ever get from any biography. But there is still an unsatiated desire to know…what was life like for him, on a day to day basis? What was he like to be around? How on earth did he cope with the insanity of his life, and with those constant power struggles going on all around him? And we read because we are still hungry for answers. What happened to Michael Jackson, especially in his final days? Remember The Time doesn’t provide all those answers, but it does give us plenty of glimpses into that life. I think most will come away from this book feeling as I did, that even with all Michael’s money and world fame, I wouldn’t have traded my life for his. Throughout the book, I had many emotions, sometimes smiling or even laughing-“Yes, that sounds just like Michael!”-; sometimes feeling their exasperation and helplessness as they saw things spiraling out of control around Michael (things they could only witness but were powerless to stop). I often had to stop reading to wipe away tears, and by the end, I felt Whitfield’s burning rage as he sat through the memorial service, witnessing first hand the hypocrisy of all those who claimed to be Michael’s best friend-but were never there.
I hope this is not too much of a spoiler for those who haven’t read it yet (if so, just feel free to skip over this part) but that is exactly the note on which the book ends. It is a curious ending, in some ways. There is no real resolution; no great affirmation of reflecting upon who Michael was or what he meant to the world as an artist or as an icon; no, “Wow, if only Michael could have seen this great outpouring of love.” Instead, it ends on a note that is brutally jarring, but also brutally honest. Whitfield had been with Michael throughout all of the times of isolation and loneliness; he remembered too vividly those that never came around; those who gave lip service to supporting Michael, the ones who would call and say, “I’ll be praying for you”-but never showed their faces. I appreciate that there is no white washing of this in the book, because frankly it is a part of the story that needs to be told. This story could have ended, as it has so many times before, with strains of “Man in the Mirror” playing and everyone joining hands to remember what a great light Michael was to the planet and how we all loved him-of course we did, even if we didn’t always take enough time to say it.
A Sham of Hypocrisy Is Bill Whitfield’s Take On The Spectacle That Was The 2009 Memorial
Instead, it ends on a note as bitter and jarring as the deafening silence after a shotgun blast. Like I said, it’s not pleasant, and it will leave a reader feeling unsettled, but I can appreciate that it is honest emotion we get, not some sugar coated white washed version of it. Maybe there are some people who “need” to hear that truth. In fact, there are probably many who need to hear it.
It is honest emotion, yes, which brings up one of the many interesting differences between memoir and biography. And it is an important difference to keep in mind when discussing a book like this. Memoirs-where the authors actually knew the subject and are writing from personal experience-are, by their very nature, more intimate and personal than biographies written by neutral journalists or neutral third parties. But because of this very intimacy, they also have their expected limitations. We have to accept that we are only getting a small part of the picture, one that is being filtered through the first hand experiences of these people-and is thus limited by those experiences. Just as with any first person narrative (fictional or non fictional) the “I” speaker can only relate what the “I” knows. This becomes especially problematic when the subjects involve real life people, and especially with someone who was as complex and as adept at compartmentalizing his life as Michael was. In the same way that Michael was able to keep his dating life completely separate from the life he lived with his three children (none of Michael’s secret “friends” apparently were ever brought to his house, but always met on the sly away from the home in hotels) I believe that, often, the side of Michael that friends and employees saw was whatever side he wished to present. That isn’t to suggest anything covert on his part; I think it had simply become a coping strategy of his very unusual life. For all that he grew very close to Whitfield and Beard, and seemed to trust them, they were still employees; their expected place was still in the garage or, later, the security trailer. As readers, we have to respect that their story is filtered at least in part through this distance-a distance that both enabled them to be impartial observers, and yet (because the staff had literally dwindled by then to a skeleton crew) created its own brand of intimacy. You know the old saying about flies on a wall. Right. So essentially they were always there, and “not there”-a witness to events, and sometimes even a part of those events, yet never intimately connected to them.
No Story; No Book Can Ever Be The Definitive “Truth.” Every Individual’s Perception Of Him Is Inevitably Filtered Through The Lenses Of Their Own Experience
So, in other words, we can never accept any one individual’s story as the entire, definitive picture of who Michael was or how he lived his life. Rather, each individual’s story is a small piece to the puzzle. I try hard to approach any memoir written about him for what it is; as nothing more or less than one person’s (or in this case, two persons) version of “their” truth as they experienced it. And, while I hate to borrow Wade Robson’s oft-mocked phrase, it is nevertheless an apt one in the sense that personal experience and personal perception will always filter how one relates real-life events. Keep in mind that the root word of “memoir” is memory. I have found, over time, that the books I tend to enjoy most about Michael are those that portray him honestly as a human being with flaws, not for the purpose of exploiting or tearing him down (God knows there are enough of those books out there!) but simply to present him in all his human complexity, with neither devil horns nor wings and a halo. As I have always said, my interest is in Michael Jackson as a human being, not as a deity. Remember The Time strikes that balance, but as I cautioned, we have to keep in mind the limitations of memoir.
Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard knew Michael personally for only the last two and half years of his life. They have received some flack because the book’s subtitle is “Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days” but if one reads the book, they are honest in acknowledging that they were not with him during those final months in LA. By then, their on-hand responsibilities had been greatly reduced and they had stayed behind in Las Vegas (indeed, Whitfield particularly beats himself up pretty good for this in the end of the book); thus, the final chapters of the book are really more hearsay than personal experience. In other words, they know the details of what happened during those final months in Holmby Hills pretty much the same way as all the rest of us-by what they have read and heard in the media, and what they were able to piece together after the fact. In this regard, the book disappoints somewhat if one is expecting to gain any new insight based on what actually happened to Michael in those final days. The bodyguards simply don’t have those answers-or if they do, they are keeping quiet for perhaps good reason. Like so many books, there is a lot of speculation, but in the end, what happened to Michael in his actual final days-other than what is already public knowledge via the trials and media reports-remains a mystery.
But what Whitfield and Beard ARE able to provide is a fascinating glimpse into those months immediatly leading up to Michael’s LA departure, and they spare little in revealing who the major game players were in creating the trap that ultimately consumed and killed Michael Jackson. What emerges is a rather horrifying picture. And what one is left with is the haunting image of a man literally consumed by his own empire-one that he himself had created, but one which, eventually, had become bigger than himself, and bigger than even he could control.
Looking Cozy Here, But Former Manager Raymone Bain Comes Out Very Scathed By The End Of The Book-However, She’s Not The Only One!
Again, because Whitfield and Beard’s experiences are limited to those last two and half years that they knew him, we also have to keep in mind that theirs is not-nor should it be expected to be-the definitive portrayal of who Michael was. We have to keep some things in perspective. The man that Whitfield and Beard got to know was a man who had just come out of exile after experiencing one of the most traumatic events that any person could be put through. Michael was still suffering the effects of post traumatic stress, inflicted not only by the trial and accusations, but by years of negative press; by years of being perceived by the world as “Wacko Jacko;” by years of dealing with lawsuits and vultures and pressure. He wasn’t burned out creatively, but he was burned out on life pretty much by this point. Such post traumatic stress disorder, which would be understandable for any human being who had undergone so much, would probably go far in explaining why Michael, by this point, simply wanted to isolate himself and his children away from the world. He wanted to be left the hell alone. As he said many times, he just wanted to be left alone and to live his life with his kids.
Still My Favorite Photo Of The Little Family
Michael’s isolation becomes a central focus of the book. As I had mentioned a few years back when I first reviewed Dr. Moriarty’s book, perhaps the most heart wrenching aspect of this story is that of a single father and his children whose lives had become increasingly narrowed by circumstance. Their existence had gone from the sprawling freedom of a 2700 acre estate, to an endless revolving door of hotels and rental houses, to finally a cramped residence where one couldn’t even swim in the backyard pool without being spied by neighbors. And to anyone reading this who might be tempted to say, “Well, it’s still a better life than I could give my kids any day-I don’t even have a back yard pool!” think again. That would have been my first thought, too. Until you get a first hand account of what it’s like to not even be able to sit in on a Chuck E Cheese birthday party with your daughter, or to have to sit parked in a hot car at a neighborhood park, only able to watch your kids play from a distance. That last image, in fact, is one that has haunted me ever since I closed the book. It’s not that I wasn’t already aware of these aspects of Michael’s life. It’s just that sometimes it takes a good writer or storyteller putting you there in that moment-making you experience what it was like to be there with Michael in that parked car, only able to view his kids at play from a distance-that really brings it home. Michael Jackson, the man who had spent so much of his childhood years enviously watching other kids play-could now only sit by in a parked car, with the windows cracked, watching his own kids play from a distance. Worse yet, imagine not even knowing if you and your kids will be able to sleep peacefully through the night under your own roof-or if you will be ripped urgently out of slumber by an emergency call and security banging on the door, telling you and your kids that you must get out for your own safety-that there’s been a threat.
Michael’s kids had any material possession they wanted, for sure. And as long as their father lived, they had a center; a parent they knew would always be there for them. But toys and material possessions aside, this was the life they lived, and one could see how it must have been eating their father up inside. What parent doesn’twant to provide a secure life for their children? That Michael was not able to provide this in his final years-the one thing his children needed more than all the games and toys within FAO Schwartz combined-was the thing that was eating him up inside.
This was the man that Whitfield and Beard came to know-a man who had been traumatized by terrible events in his life, and who was struggling for the sake of his kids to hold it all together. Given these circumstances, it’s no surprise that he wanted to withdraw from life. Withdrawal is a natural survival instinct of those suffering from any form of post traumatic stress. Even though Beard and Whitfield often blame others, at least in part, for Michael’s isolation, I have to wonder if this isolation wasn’t at least to some degree a result of the vibe that Michael was giving off to the world. In other words, if enough people sense-and get the hint loud and clear-that you just want to be left the hell alone, eventually they will do just that. They will leave you alone. I get the feeling that Michael during this time wasn’t exactly reaching out to others-but it could also be that, by then, maybe he was simply tired of trying. A person can only beat their head against a stone wall for so long before they finally just give up.
Withdrawal And The Desire For Isolation Are Symptomatic Of PTS
Thus, the two men do have to admit, several times, that the man they knew as “Boss” was not necessarily the same man that the world knew as The King of Pop (that was a different guy; a different persona. one they saw only on very special occasions such as the Vibe and Ebony shoots, or when he became “Michael” to a crowd of fans). He was also someone apart from the brother and son that his family knew, or the friend that many of his music contemporaries were eulogizing at the memorial. They admit that the Michael they knew was someone apart from all of this. Again, one of the book’s most poignant moments is near the end, as Whitfield sits at the memorial, incensed by the hypocrisy he sees all around. There were far too many who were just there to be seen; who weren’t even genuinely grieving. But among hundreds who had turned out just because the memorial was the trendy place to be seen that day, there were the few who were genuinely grieving-the family members who had lost a son and brother; the children who had lost a father; the fans who had loved him like their own family; a spattering of true long-term friends in the music business such as Berry Gordy; a few of the entertainers who were perhaps genuinely grieving the loss of a hero and mentor; a few women such as “Friend” who had known him as lover as well as friend and…then there was Whitfield himself, a bit of an odd man out, still trying to make sense of his own place in Michael’s life and the many emotions he was still working his way through. After all, this was the man who admits that when Michael had called, saying he needed him in LA, had hoped, somehow, that it was just another whim-“like when he asked me to find him a helicopter simulator or a Ferris wheel. I’d wait a few days before doing it to see if he’d drop it or if he’d bring it up again..And that’s how I felt about him calling me to go to L.A. It didn’t seem urgent. So that’s what I told myself. I thought, If it’s important, he’ll call back. He didn’t call back.”-Excerpted from Remember The Time by Bill Whitfield, p. 295.
It was mid-June, 2009, when Whitfield received that phone call. Like I said, we all know how this story ends.
Of course, this has been a polarizing book just as is everything, it seems, that is released by or about Michael these days. But most of the criticism seems to be coming from three factions-those who have agendas (such as pro-estate or anti-estate) who will automatically trash any book that criticizes the wrong people in their estimation (or doesn’t do enough to harshly criticize others); those who are basing their reactions off sensationalized tabloid stories, and those who simply feel that any book at all-written by anyone who knew or worked for Michael-is a betrayal, regardless of content.
I will try to address all three concerns. I can honestly say, as someone who myself has no agendas in regard to being pro or anti anything, that I don’t believe there are any hidden agendas with this book other than to get a story out there that they felt needed to be told. Raymone Bain and certain others take a pretty good beating in the book, for sure. The bodyguards pretty much limit their personal criticism to those whom they had direct dealings with, and Raymone Bain was the primary to-go person during their tenure with Michael-and thus the brunt of a lot of frustrations, especially when they went months without being paid. You will definitely come away from this book with a nasty aftertaste towards Bain, who was allegedly treating herself to some lavish digs in Vegas at Michael’s expense-and without his knowledge. It’s a pattern that, tragically, repeats itself over and over throughout the story. The names change, but the patterns and behaviors do not.
MJ…Savvy Businessman Who Became One Of The Most Powerful Forces In The Music Industry, Or Naive, Innocent Lamb Being Led To Slaughter By Wolves? How Could One Man Possibly Be The Subject Of So Much Contradiction? Is It Possible They Were, In Fact, One And The Same Person?
This book appears in many ways as a stark contrast to the other summer MJ book, Zack Greenburg’s Michael Jackson, Inc. I have not yet read Michael Jackson, Incbut my understanding is that it highlights Michael’s brilliant business savvy and how he constructed his empire, also largely crediting him for its continued success even after his death. It begs a question that is often posed: How could it be possible that the man who built a multi-million dollar empire-the man described in Michael Jackson, Inc-could be the same man described in Remember The Time, as one who had become “cash poor” (even if albeit still very rich on paper) and who seemed to have lost complete control of his money?
I have pondered over this question long and hard myself. But I don’t think these two seemingly very disparate sides of Michael-or of his story-are necessarily mutually exclusive. Rather, both are extreme opposite sides of the same reality. Michael in his youth had been untouchable and unstoppable-a musical genius whose business instincts were also razor sharp; who maintained a tight control on his empire and the people who ran it; who wisely used his ability to enact the law of attraction to make things happen for him. He was a man who, by 1990, had enough power and clout within the industry to negotiate most any terms he wanted-and did so, with what had been up until then the most lucrative recording contract in history. And all of this was in addition to his purchase of the ATV catalog and the eventual merger that resulted in Sony/ATV publishing.
But as stated earlier, the man that Whitfield and Beard came to work for was a very different and changed man, one who had endured much emotional trauma and, as a result, had withdrawn. By this point, it seemed that Michael’s way of coping with the chaos of his life (for by then, that’s what it had become) was to simply ignore any unpleasant situations or unpleasant people that he didn’t want to be bothered with; it seemed easier just to deny it all and hope it would somehow magically go away of its own accord-or that the people he trusted to make it all go away would do their jobs.
While this had always been somewhat of a pattern of Michael’s life (after all, he’d had people fighting each other to take care of him ever since he was ten years old) it seemed it was now exacerbated by the trauma and depression of all he’d had to deal with. There is one passage in particular that struck me, because it hit home just how and why Michael became so vulnerable to law suits-and may also go far towards explaining, once and for all, why an innocent man would settle an accusation of child molestation.
“…Michael Jackson was like flypaper for lawsuits. At any given time, there were hundreds of lawsuits pending against him, literally. Some of them were frivolous. Paternity suits from stalkers, that sort of thing. But a lot of these suits were serious, multimillion-dollar claims. With his business coming apart and nobody in charge, people weren’t getting paid. Deals were being reneged on.
There was a whole cast of characters. Former managers and associates who claimed they were part of this or that and they hadn’t been paid or they were owed a piece of something. People who’d worked on his albums and music videos, claiming they weren’t getting their royalty payments. It was one problem rolling over onto the next. I’d get these legal documents FedExed to me for his signature, so I saw how much money was going out the door. He’d settle for a quarter million dollars, half a million dollars, whatever it took. People usually sue when they think they can get something. And everybody knew that if you sued Michael Jackson, you’d get a settlement. He’d challenge the frivolous ones, like the paternity nonsense. He’d get those thrown out. But if you had any kind of claim that could justify going to trial? He’d just pay you to go away, because after what he went through in 2005, he was never going to set foot in a courtroom again.”-Excerpted from Remember The Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days, by Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, p. 194.
Of course, the Chandler settlement did not prevent the family from pursuing criminal charges (had they been so inclined) nor did it end the criminal investigation of the case. But as Michael himself said to Martin Bashir in 2003, he just wanted the whole thing to go away. “I didn’t want to do a long, drawn out thing like O.J., it just wouldn’t have looked right.”
It seemed that Michael was caught in a vicious cycle he could not break free from. The more cases he would settle, in hopes of making them simply go away, the more lawsuits that were bound to come.
Was so much discussion of Michael’s finances necessary for the book? For sure, it has been one of the book’s more controversial aspects, but I think the justification is that Whitfield and Beard really wanted readers and the fans to understand exactly what Michael was up against-and who was responsible. They make it very clear that they did not hold Michael personally responsible for a lot of what went down (they stuck with him even when doing so sometimes meant weeks or even months without pay) although sometimes they would get a bit exasperated with him, wondering why he could not just “man up” ; why he could not seem to just take the bull by the proverbial horns and re-take control of his own money. But those moments of exasperation were short-lived, as they came to realize over time that, for Michael, it was never simply going to be that easy again.
Does Knowing The Full Truth Mean Accepting Some Harsh Realities That Aren’t So Pretty-But Necessary For Understanding What He Endured?
Also, the discussion of Michael’s finances has been tabloid fodder for years, with far too many ignorant people trying to claim that it was all simply a result of his own over spending and lavish indulgences. There never seems to be any consideration that maybe he was being robbed blind by the very people who were supposed to be looking out for his best interests; or how he had literally given and given until there was almost no more to give; no consideration of a wounded soul who was literally suffocating beneath the weight of bills and lawsuits when all he really wanted was to be like a bird, free to sing and fly. Remember The Time, at least, gives that side of the story, in all of its facets. And, intrusive though it may be, it is necessary to understanding Michael’s mindset during these last two years and the desperation that drove him into the contract with AEG. It is necessary for understanding how, by the spring of 2009, there were no less than three different individuals all claiming to be Michael’s manager; all making and signing deals on his behalf. It is vital to understanding just how deep, dark, and scary the hole he was living in had become.
The downside. of course, is that the media will choose to sensationalize excerpts from the book that are taken completely out of context. A good example was a recent UK article by Peter Sheridan, for example, that completely misrepresented the passages about two of Michael’s “secret” girlfriends, “Flower” and “Friend”:
“They insist that for all the paedophile allegations – which they dismiss – Jackson was attracted to women. They reveal he enjoyed secret rendezvous with two women he gave the code names Flower and Friend. According to Whitfield the latter was “drop-dead gorgeous” with an Eastern European accent.
The bodyguards drove around while Jackson had sex in the back of his limousine.
“We had a curtain that covered the back seat, you couldn’t see the back seat,” says Whitfield, who still heard their loud exploits.
Jackson was apparently always excited when Friend came to town and sent his bodyguards to buy her lavish gifts from stores such as Tiffany.
Flower would come a few days after Friend had left and Jackson would repeat his clandestine sex sessions…”
But note that this is what Beard actually describes in the book:
“When Friend came back, one night Mr. Jackson said he wanted to take her into D. C. He wanted her to see the Lincoln Memorial and some of the sights. So we got the truck ready. It was around midnight. Grace stayed back with the kids, and me and Bill took Mr. Jackson and picked Friend up from her hotel and headed into the city. While we were driving, they were in the back, talking and whispering. The curtain was closed and we had the radio up to give them some privacy.
We parked the car about a block and a half from the Washington Monument. From there, we had to get out and walk. When we pulled up, I turned the radio down to tell Mr. Jackson we’d arrived, and all we heard was smackin’ lips behind that curtain. I knew exactly what that sound was. They were making out back there. I didn’t want to interrupt them, but I just coughed a bit and said, ‘Uh, Mr. Jackson? Mr. Jackson, we’re here.'”-Excerpted from Remember The Time, by Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, p. 178.
So, what is apparently described as a bit of harmless petting going on in the back seat is somehow blown up, by the time the excerpt makes it into the media, to look like a full blown orgy! This is just one example where I have seen the media purposely twist and manipulate the book’s contents for the sole purpose of sensationalism.
But regardless of how one feels, personally, about this kind of information being divulged, a very important point is brought up by the bodyguards themselves. Had it been any other pop star meeting hot European models in a hotel, it would simply be par for the course, and would hardly raise an eyebrow. It would be “normal” pop star behavior. But when it is Michael Jackson, the media always tries to slant it in some way as “bizarre” behavior.
Was It Just Me, Or Did The Description of “Flower” Sound Suspiciously Like Joanna Thomae?
Yet I have to say in all honesty, on any day that the worst thing a tabloid can say about Michael Jackson is that he was having sex with women in the back of a limo, that is a pretty good day. These stories, contrary to whatever spin is put on them, ultimately only serve to humanize Michael and to make him appear a little more “normal” in the eyes of the world. As the bodyguards stated, all it said to them was that he was a normal guy wanting to be able to do the things that normal guys do.
By the way, this is purely speculation, but I found it somewhat interesting that the description of “Flower” sounded a lot like Joanna Thomae, the French girl Michael saw on and off during the early 2000’s. At any rate, she was described as someone who lived overseas and had “dirty blonde hair and freckles.” (And who, apparently, also tended to be somewhat aggressive, which sounds more than a bit like Joanna from what I know of her). Even more bizarrely, Whitfield refers to “Friend” later in the book as “Joanna” (though not her real name, I’m sure). So…”Friend” is referred to as “Joanna,” while the physical description of the real “Joanna” sounds a lot like ‘Flower.” Hmmm. Could it be that both women are merely composites of their real life counterparts?
The description of “Friend” also sounds similar to Frank Cascio’s description of a woman whom he referred to in his book as “Emily”:
“She had dark, curly hair that sort of hung in her face a bit. Petite, about fibe foot four. Nice body. Real slender…”-Javon Beard, describing “Friend,” excerpted from Remember The Time, by Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, p. 176.
“Around this time, Michael had another friend – I’ll call her Emily – who visited the ranch regularly. She was a nice, cute girl, slender, with brown hair, in her early to midthirties. Emily didn’t want or need anything from Michael. They just liked spending time together – talking, walking around, hanging out in his bedroom. It was a romantic relationship, but as far as I know, he didn’t tell anyone about Emily but me. Michael kept her a secret – she didn’t stay in his room because he didn’t want her to be seen coming out in the morning – and even I didn’t see real evidence of the romance. That’s how I knew he was telling the truth. He wouldn’t have been so secretive if he hadn’t had something to hide. That was the longest relationship I saw Michael have: Emily was at the ranch frequently over the course of about a year.”-Frank Cascio, Excerpted from My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship With An Extraordinary Man, pp. 154-155.
Of course, if by chance “Emily” and “Friend” were one and the same person, that would have been one heck of a long-standing relationship, ten years at least. In all likelihood, they may be two entirely different women (it’s not as if slender girls with brown hair aren’t exactly a dime a dozen)but it’s interesting that their physical descriptions do match up so similarly, and that both seemed to be fairly serious relationships for him. (Update: Bill Whitfield has since confirmed, via Twitter, that “Friend” was not Joanna Thomae. However, we still don’t know about “Flower”).
But, anyway, back to the book. There are still a few issues to address.
This Pic Of The Jackson Kids Is The One That Was Printed On Our Programs At The Banquet Dinner For Katherine Jackson In Gary. I Like To Think Of It Having Always Been This Way. But The Reality is A Far Different Story.
Does the book shed any new light on Michael’s sometimes difficult relationship with his family? To that end, I would say not really. Not unless you would be surprised to know that Michael specifically instructed that his family be kept out (except for Katherine) and that once, when Joe showed up unannounced, Michael said he would not see him unless he had an appointment. Just “why” Michael was so adamant about wanting nothing to do with his family is never explained, largely because Whitfield and Beard did not really know, themselves, other than that it was what “Boss” ordered, and it was their job to keep out anyone Michael did not want in-and to ask no questions. One can register a pretty good guess; however, the bodyguards make it very clear that their own position regarding the Jackson family is a neutral one. Although Randy is clearly described as showing up for one purpose-“to get my money!”-and Jermaine, they said, was usually “angling” for something, it is never clear if the other visits were for nefarious or benign purposes. In at least a couple of incidents, it seemed to be some sort of planned intervention. They had heard that their brother was “sick.” Michael’s usual response would be, “Tell them I’m fine.” This would appear, at least, to lend some credence to the family’s oft-vouched claims that they had tried to stage interventions on Michael’s behalf, but were never allowed access to him.
In regard to Michael’s allegedly strained relationship with his family in his last years, the book really raises more questions than it answers-again, largely because Whitfield and Beard do not have those answers, and never did. It wasn’t exactly the kind of thing they sat around and discussed with the client. They did what they were told. The impression I get was that Michael’s total burn out and desire to simply shut out the world had, by this point, extended to his own family as well. Their presence usually meant having to deal with more unpleasant”stuff” and Michael, by then, simply didn’t want or need anymore drama, well intentioned or not.
But it’s interesting to note that, whenever the family is questioned on the subject, they will always insist that there were people who were keeping them cut off from Michael. Whitfield and Beard may have only been following orders, but they represented the physical gatekeepers; literally, the buffers between Michael and all he did not want to deal with. I have heard some of the Jackson family members say that, once they saw Michael and would explain how they had been told he didn’t want to see them, he would always pull a shocked response and say, “Really? Who told you that?” It would be tragic indeed if all of it came down to a huge case of miscommunication, but it’s more likely that Michael never wanted to hurt their feelings by telling them directly he didn’t want to see them. It was easier to let others do that dirty work for him. The first thing Joe Jackson allegedly said to Bill Whitfield was not “Hello,” but “You must be one of the ones that’s been putting needles in my son’s arms.” Such remarks are often dropped throughout the book like loaded bombs, but are never really followed through. Where, for example, did Joe get those suspicions? From acquaintances? The media? Did he know something the bodyguards didn’t? Was he just being paranoid?
What Actually Happened To Michael During Those Final Weeks In L.A. Is Still Pretty Much Left In The Shadows
Also, as I have mentioned previously, one of the book’s weaknesses is that we still don’t really get a firsthand account of what transpired once Michael left Las Vegas and had moved to L.A. for the This Is It rehearsals. By that point, as they said, Michael Amir pretty much had his ear, then we had The Three Stooges-er, the “three managers”-Thome, DiLeo, and Leonard Rowe, all acting simultaneously on his “behalf”, not to mention a whole new security staff-and, of course, Dr. Murray.
To be frank, there isn’t a whole lot said in the book about Conrad Murray, considering he was the one who put the lethal dose in Michael’s vein; only that he had been the children’s physician briefly in Las Vegas and that Michael wanted AEG to hire him for the This Is It rehearsals and tour (these are their words paraphrased, not mine). The events of June 25th, 2009 and the details of the coroner’s report are given perfunctorily enough, but they only provide Murray’s timeline of events according to the official report he gave the police, without noting any of the wide deviations or gaps in that timeline that were brought out in court testimony, and none of the seventeen egregious errors in standard practice that were committed by Murray, according to Dr. Steven Shafer. The only concession to this is made by Whitfield when he states emotionally that he never understood the delay in getting Michael to the hospital.
“Later on, when I heard the actual 911 call, I heard them on the phone telling the operator, ‘We have a gentleman here. He’s not breathing.’ Fuck that. I would have thrown him in the car and rushed him to the hospital myself. It was only a couple miles away. I would have got him out of there. He’s not breathing? Let’s go! We gotta go! Maybe it would have been different if I’d actually been there. Maybe I’m just imagining how I would have reacted, but I really don’t think I would have just sat around waiting for paramedics.”-Bill Whitfield, excerpted from Remember The Time, p. 301.
These emotional words aside, Murray’s entire involvement and responsibility in Michael’s homicide is treated in a curiously neutral manner, and seems to lend credence to what Dr. Karen Moriarty stated in the introduction to her own book, a chapter titled “The Back Door”: “We had opposite opinions regarding Conrad Murray, and I struggled with my strong, immutable feelings of anger over Murray’s role in Michael Jackson’s death.” Ultimately, this was one of the issues, among others, that led to an amicable parting of ways-and two separate books.
It’s not exactly that they ever intimate that Murray was innocent, or that he didn’t deserve to be tried or did not deserve to be found guilty of manslaughter. But by sticking merely-to-the-facts only, as per Murray’s police interview, it is, as I stated, a curiously neutral perspective. The only reason I can attribute to this is that they had formed somewhat of a personal relationship with Murray when he was treating the kids in Las Vegas. It was Beard’s cousin, Jeff Adams, after all, who had recommended Dr. Murray in the first place (Murray was Adams’s personal physician) so it seems as though there are still some ties there. Perhaps, like so many, they believe that Murray himself was merely a fall guy. While I have never ruled out that possibility, it still in no way absolves Murray of his own role or his own responsibility in Michael’s death.
This I found to be one of the book’s major flaws. If one purchases this book in hopes of learning any new details about Michael’s final weeks or days leading up to his death, they will be disappointed because there isn’t much enlightenment to be had in that regard. It also raises for me another troubling issue that is difficult to simply dismiss. Could it be that, if Michael had come to trust Whitfield and Beard as much as they claim in the book, that he also extended this same trust by default to Dr. Murray, who after all had been introduced to him directly as a result of their employment? I’m sure that Adams meant well when he first recommended Murray (up until then, Murray had an impeccable record as a physician, so there would have been no reason to doubt him, and certainly no way to foresee the tragedy that would ultimately result from that fateful introduction) but, still, it’s a troubling issue that is hard to just sweep under the rug.
However, the book does confirm something about Michael’s insomnia that I had always theorized to be true-that it was only a problem for him during times of stress, or when he had to stick to a strictly scheduled regimen. When Michael wasn’t being stressed to “perform” or to stick to a schedule, it was no issue if he was awake all night and needed to take some down time the following day to compensate. The bodyguards would simply take the kids out to play, giving him time to decompress naturally. Without the stress of rehearsals, his body would adjust naturally to whatever rhythm it was comfortable with; thus, no need for Propofol, and no need for Murray or his “treatments.”
Insomnia In And Of Itself Wasn’t The Issue…It Was The Pressure To Perform And The Adherence To A Strict Schedule That Made It A Problem
The book’s real strength, however, is in its core narrative as a famous single father struggling to hold his family together despite tremendous obstacles. My favorite passages are the early scenes at the first house in Vegas, and later when the family sets up residence in Middleburg, Virginia (when what was “supposed” to be a family vacation ended as an indefinite, extended stay in the rural countryside). These were simple, happy times-Michael actually went shopping at Wal-Mart (one of the funniest scenes in the book); he bought firecrackers and he and the kids set them off in an open field. One almost wishes the book could freeze then and there, in those small moments where we glimpse him at his happiest.
Are books like this a betrayal of trust? There really isn’t an easy way around that issue. These guys worked for Michael Jackson. Many of the personal incidents they were privy to-even the seemingly harmless little things like hoarding Tobasco sauce or setting off firecrackers with the kids-were things Michael wished to be kept only for himself and his kids. We can only imagine how we would have felt about the revelation of the “secret” girlfriends, or the embarrassment of the world knowing his credit cards had been denied. The very first sentence of the book’s introduction states:
“You would not be reading this if Michael Jackson was still alive.”
No doubt, that is true. I “get” the modus operandi of that statement. It’s kind of like, okay, if you admit this and own it already, then at least you’ve beaten everyone else to the punch.
Are Books Like “Remember The Time” A Betrayal? It May Well Depend On How We Define Betrayal. But Remember The Alternative. Do We Really Want To Leave It To The Tabloids To Have The Last Word On Michael’s Story And Legacy?
But here is the reality. Michael isgone, and in the void that has been created by his death, it will largely be nothing but the tabloids that are left to tell his story if honest books like this one are not put out there to counter the garbage. We can say all that matters-or all that shouldmatter to the world-are his songs, his art, and his humanitarian deeds. We can say that until we’re blue in the face, but it still doesn’t change the fact that there is an insatiable market for gossip and trash. The fact is, hundreds of books have been written on, and will continue to be written, on Michael’s personal life. Many of those will be outright garbage, where Michael is simply put under a microscope and studied like some specimen, rather than understood as a complex artist, man, father, and human being. Books by fans-while often better researched and more factual than many of the major publisher offerings-are seldom taken seriously in the mainstream. Books by neutral journalists will always raise the issue of “but they didn’t even know him.” And, ultimately, books by real friends and associates-who DID know him-will often be attacked as “betrayals” even if they are largely sympathetic accounts.
In such an atmosphere, it is going to be impossible to please everyone. But I do think that books like this are crucial in helping to shift the narrative and (often mistaken) public perception of who Michael was. Sure, we won’t always be able to have all of our cake and eat it, too. For every account that exonerates him in some way, it may mean having to accept a few warts along with that exoneration. Michael wasn’t perfect, and any firsthand account that portrays him as such is bound to be a lie. However, the trade-off for accepting a few warts (okay, so he liked to spend money; he sometimes hoarded weird things like mannequins and tobasco sauce-who gives a rat’s hiney?) is in the reward of getting to know an extraordinary man and father who moved mountains with his life and music, and who struggled valiantly in the end to keep all that was most precious to him, despite every obstacle hurled against him.
THAT is the story this book strives to tell. It will make you laugh with the good moments and smile with the sweet ones. But overall, you will probably come away as I did, with a sense of impotent anger that the peaceful life and simple peace of mind that Michael so desperately craved in his life was never going to be an attainable or realistic goal.
Not as long as there was another dollar to be made, and another pound of flesh to be had.
ETA (6/13/14): An open letter from Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard has been sent out to many MJ sites, including this one. They have requested that this letter be shared to help further clear up misunderstandings that have occurred due to some of the media reviews of the book.
An Open Letter to the Michael Jackson Fan Community
It’s been a week since our new book, Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days, went on sale. Since we hit stores, the response we’ve received from fans has been overwhelmingly positive. But there are a few questions and concerns circulating around that we’d like to address directly.
Fans on Twitter and Facebook have had a lot of questions about why we did the book, how we handled ethical concerns about Mr. Jackson’s privacy, why we didn’t take any money up front for writing the book, and so on. We’ve already addressed most of this in the in-depth Q&As published on the MJJ Community fan site and the Michael and the Truth blog, so we won’t repeat the answers here. What we would like to speak on is the reaction some fans have had based on that’s being said about the book in the tabloid media.
Yes, the tabloids have taken things from the book out of context and blown them up to make Mr. Jackson look “crazy.” Nobody should be surprised about that. And trust us, we’re more upset about it than you are. Our publishers have complained to the newspaper editors, repeatedly. One London tabloid had to be threatened with legal action to stop a story that deliberately distorted our words to the point of being libelous. That one article we were able to kill, but as Mr. Jackson knew all too well, there is only so much you can do to shut the tabloids up. The media will twist and sensationalize. They always do. Which is why we put our story in a book so that fans could go around the media and get the truth firsthand.
Our only motivation in doing this project was to give the world an honest, sincere, and respectful portrait of Mr. Jackson as a man and as a father. Still, some in the fan community have been tweeting and writing us with complaints based on the distortions in the media, not on what’s actually written in the book. The ultimate irony of all of this is that Michael Jackson’s fans are paying attention to what’s being said about Michael Jackson in the tabloids, even though you’re the ones who know that you shouldn’t pay any attention to anything the tabloids say about Michael Jackson.
All we are asking is that you judge the book on its merits, that you judge our motivation and our integrity based on what we have produced. You shouldn’t form a decision based on what the media is saying—and you shouldn’t just take our word for it, either. (Obviously, we’re a little biased.) There is only one group you should be paying attention to: the fans who have actually read the book. They know the truth.
We’ve started going through all the fan reviews we’ve received via email, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon, and we’ve compiled the best of them on our website (www.rememberthetime-book.com/fan) for you to peruse. We even reached out to a few of these readers and asked them to submit video testimonials discussing their reactions to the book in greater detail. Three of the videos have been posted so far. More will be go up in the days ahead. They are wonderful and informative to watch.
Right now, as you’ll see, the response from fans has been incredibly supportive. But we do welcome all opinion and thoughtful debate—positive and negative, celebratory and critical—as long as that opinion is based on knowledge about what is actually printed inside the book. For his entire life, Michael Jackson was plagued by people who rushed to judgement without taking the time to learn the facts and make informed decisions. We don’t need to be doing the same thing to each other.
We don’t expect every person on Earth to love the book or agree with everything we’re doing, and we understand the healthy skepticism that many in the fan community have. You were Mr. Jackson’s most passionate protectors in life, and you’ve continued that role since his passing. We respect that. All we ask is that you read what other fans have to say, watch their testimonials, and then make up your own mind.