“This Was A Serious Suicide Attempt; It Was Not A Cry For Help”-Howard Bragman, Jackson Family Acquaintance”
As of this writing, there are still conflicting reports all over the web. I’m not sure what to believe. Like all the rest of you, I am still piecing this story together. For sure, the fingers are pointing and the blame game is in full force. Since this afternoon, Paris’s suicide attempt has been pinned on everything from Michael’s impending death anniversary to the AEG trial, from Wade Robson’s allegations to online cyber bullying, from a fit over a Marilyn Manson concert to hurtful comments made about her new relationship with her mom Debbie Rowe.
Radaronline speculates that stress over the trial and Wade Robson’s allegations may have been what pushed her over the edge (but this has not been confirmed):
“It absolutely wasn’t an overdose,” a Jackson family insider said.
“Paris didn’t take any pills, she cut herself and she absolutely didn’t have a temper tantrum about not being allowed to go to aMarilyn Manson concert, as has been reported. What’s more, she has never attempted suicide in the past.”
As RadarOnline.com reported, the 15-year-old was rushed to a Los Angeles area hospital in the early hours of Wednesday in what paramedics described as a response to a “person who apparently took some kind of medication.”
She was reportedly placed under a 5150 psychiatric hold for 72 hours — the same evaluation that Britney Spears went under in 2008 that allows for a qualified peace officer or clinician to involuntarily confine someone because it’s deemed they have a mental disorder that makes them a danger to themselves and/or others.
The shocking and sad incident comes soon after the civil trial commenced in the Jackson’s $40b lawsuit against AEG Live LLC, in which the famed music family claimed the concert promoter failed to properly investigate the doctor who was later convicted of her son’s death. AEG denies wrongdoing.
Paris was due to testify in the trial, at AEG’s request, but was “emotionally distraught about having to go to court. Paris wants nothing to do with the trial and is unwilling to do so.”
As Radar was first to report in March, Paris was deposed before the trial after AEG subpoenaed her. The deposition took place at a Los Angeles courthouse because older brother, Prince, had previously answered questions under oath at a lawyer’s office and “it didn’t go well.”
“Prince had a rough time during his despoition, so allowances were made to make sure it didn’t happen again,” a source connected to the case said.
“That’s why Katherine’s lawyers demanded that Paris’ deposition take place at the courthouse so the judge could intervene if it appeared to be getting too tough for her.”
A second Jackson family source told Radar the King of Pop’s only daughter was “nervous about the trial,Wade Robson‘s lies about her father and she’s been struggling to fit in at school.”
Robson, a dancer-choreographer who was befriended by Jackson when he was a child, is now seeking money from Jackson’s estate for alleged child sex abuse and called late pop icon “a pedophile and a child sexual abuser” in a television interview last month.
Howard Weitzman, attorney for the Estate of Michael Jackson, said that “Co-Executors John Branca and John McClain wish to extend their heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Paris Jackson during this very difficult time. The Executors are fully committed to providing Paris with whatever assistance she requires in dealing with this situation and will be there for her.”
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please immediately seek help — you can speak with a skilled, trained counselor at a national Suicide Prevention Lifeline crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7 — call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Perhaps the safest thing to assume right now is that it could well be all of the above…and then some. No doubt, Paris is a girl with a lot on her shoulders-and has been for at least four years, when her world was shattered and she became, in essence, the “strong one” of the siblings, because she had to be.
They can’t even seem to get it straight if it was slashed wrists, or an Ibuprofen overdose, or both as has been reported by at least one source. The cut to the wrists has been reported as having come from a kitchen knife to now, a meat cleaver. (Trust me, there is a HUGE difference when we go from a kitchen knife to a meat cleaver! A kitchen knife could be a small, paring knife. A meat cleaver is…gulp. THAT could do some real damage!). At latest update, it was reported by TMZ that she left a suicide note, but its contents are unknown.
It’s no wonder that we are getting so much conflicting information, with the family remaining mum other than this rather cryptic and troublesome statement:
“Being a sensitive 15-year-old is difficult no matter who you are,” the statement said. “It is especially difficult when you lose the person closest to you [her father]. Paris is physically fine and is getting appropriate medical attention. Please respect her privacy and the family’s privacy.”
and family acquaintances-or the ever present, unnamed “sources” running all over the place to this outlet and that one.
Apparently, none of them are getting the story straight. Perhaps they are as confused as we are.
Why is the official family statement troubling to me? Mainly because it is not the usual, overly optimistic kind of response we would expect if things really were “okay.” I think the immediate concern, of course, was to assure fans that she is alive and that her attempt was not a succesful one. But it still leaves a bitter aftertaste, because whatever crisis brought this on is apparently far from over.
I have decided to take a cue from Richard Lawson of The Atlantic Wire, who spoke some wise words today:
There’s no angle worth getting into — even continuing to criticize anyone else for how they cover the story would be further perpetuating public scrutiny of something that should really not be public, beyond maybe drawing some attention to the problems of mental health and suicide among adolescents. But, yeah, past that, there’s only harm to be done in discussing a story like this in any public forum, right? Anyway. Sad thing.
This really isn’t the time to get into the blame game, or attempting to analyze the reasons. There will be time for all of that later. Right now, all we need to know-and all we need concern ourselves with-is that Michael’s baby needs our prayers.
So I will leave the analyzing of her arms for cut marks and so forth to the sharks at TMZ. However, I do have some thoughts I would like to pass on. I think we need to keep in mind that there is a lot more to Paris’s life than being a Jackson, or even Michael Jackson’s daughter. The reason I am saying this is because everyone from the media to the fans seem to be jumping on the bandwagon of assuming it must all somehow be related to family issues. But Paris is a 15-year-old girl who is also undergoing all of the normal up’s and down’s of teenage life. She has her own issues-relationships, peer problems, and so forth-all of which may be compounded by being a famous celebrity’s daughter, but aren’t necessarily rooted in that as the primary cause. In many past tweets, she has hinted about relationship issues. None of it seemed that serious to me, but then again, how serious do these things ever sound to adults? As adults, we learn that no matter how bad things seem, they are only temporary bumps. Try explaining that to a 15-year-old, who lives utterly in the moment and thinks that nothing good or worth living for can possibly ever happen again.
Here is another painful truth. Although I follow Paris on Twitter, as do millions of others, I had pretty much stopped paying attention to her tweets after the whole “Grannygate” fiasco of last summer died down. Paris went back to tweeting her (mostly) inconsequential, inane teenage stuff, and on the rare occasions when I really peeked in, I rarely found much of real interest. (Perhaps this should be a reminder that 50-year-old women do not have much in common with 15-year-olds, and that is as it should be). In the last year, especially, Paris has gained a reputation as a bit of a…shall I say it? A drama queen. There. I got it off my chest. Not that I especially fault her for it. All of Michael’s kids have their own, unique personalities. It just so happened that Paris turned out as the flamboyant one who loves the spotlight and who adores attention-sometimes, I think, both negative and positive.
Remember the fable about the little boy who cried wolf? Tragically, what can happen when one cries wolf just a little too often is that, at some point, the world may stop listening. It is then that the wolf slips in for the kill.
everyone thinks i’m over dramatic when i’m upset but like when an octopus is stressed out it eats itself , so… yeah.
Today, Paris sent a wake-up call to the world that she was not crying wolf.
ETA: 06/06/13: Once again, my apologies for the interruption in my post. I had to re-type everything after it was accidentally deleted this morning. Here is the rest:
I am speaking on behalf of my own conscience. I had seen many of Paris’s tweets, including many of the same ones now being dissected by the media. But I had brushed most of them off as inconsequential; just Paris being her usual, melodramatic-full-of-teen/emo-angst self. There were the occasional nice posts about her dad, which I enjoyed, of course. But I seldom dug any deeper than the posts that occasionally popped up in my feed. I was content to allow the drama of “As The Paris Turns” to play out to its intended teenage audience.
In short, I am feeling somewhat guilty because I feel that I may have turned a blind eye to some of Paris’s most blatant cries for help, without even realizing it. Also, I was aware of much of the cyber bullying that she has been subjected to. But as Paris seemed to enjoy instigating a lot of the drama, I started to feel a bit of apathy creeping in. No one was twisting her arm to be on Twitter, or to make her life such an open book for all to read. She’s not a baby, and was well aware of what she was opening herself up to. By now, I had become accustomed to her habit of tweeting goth and grunge lyrics, as well as what seemed her whole, general adopting of the emo culture, lifestyle, and philosophy-in short, “life sucks.” In the past couple of years, we’ve seen Paris go through enough phases to make anyone’s head spin-she’s been a preppie, a hippie, a wholesome Marcia Brady clone, a metal chick, an emo and just about every phase in between (not to mention, a hippie and an emo are about as polar opposites as it gets, yet Paris seems to have the knack for blending all of these interests and identities seamlessly, and without pause for breath. She reminds me a bit of Roger, the alien character on American Dad who changes personas, on average, about twenty times per episode).
But sometimes it’s easy to forget that what she really is, underneath all of these shifting identities, personas, and bravado-is a child. A lost, scared, vulnerable child whose world was shattered way too young, and who is still struggling to come to emotional grips with what happened four years ago.
I have learned the lesson many times of what a dangerous emotion apathy is. Yesterday, I had to learn it again. Paris isn’t my child, but it gives me shivers to think that I might just as easily have been one of those parents to brush off my own child’s cries for help as just harmless teenage stuff-nothing to see here, people; let’s move along.
In the past 24 hours, the media has been focusing almost exclusively on her most recent, two tweets:
yesterday , all my troubles seemed so far away now it looks as though they’re here to stay
i wonder why tears are salty?
However, I was far more disturbed by a tweet a few days before, a tweet that haunted me for many days because I didn’t know whether this was just one more instance of the typical bullying she receives on a daily basis (most of which I know she is strong enough to brush off) or a more serious situation that was escalating. Ultimately, teen fights are a lot like cat fights-one has to use caution and judgment in deciding whether it is best to intervene, or to allow them to sort things out for themselves. The reason it bothers me now is because Paris had asked her followers to report this account. The account seemed to be from a rather deranged poster going by the username of LanasPopsi. I haven’t been able to find much info on who this lanaspopsi is. Apparently, many followers did as Paris requested, because the account has since been suspended. But what bothers me most now is that I know I saw this tweet, and did nothing-even though it laid heavy on my mind and heart for several days. Remember what I wrote about God talking to Michael? Sometimes we just know when God is speaking to us, telling us what we know in our hearts is the right thing to do.
But the only excuse I can offer is that I was too caught up in all that was going on in regards to Paris’s father-the AEG trial, the Wade Robson allegations, etc-to really pay attention to what was going on with his own daughter, or how any of this might have been affecting her. Sure, it’s easy to give lip service to that concern. But do we always live up to it? Looking back on how casually I brushed off some of Paris’s most blatant tweets, I am not so sure. I’ve had to do a lot of self reflecting today.
Let’s not forget that, right after the Wade Robson allegations broke, Prince also tweeted the lyrics to They Don’t Really Care About Us. As adults, we need to pay attention. The children are using song lyrics as shortcuts to conveying very real emotions that they cannot express in any other way.
But I want to get back to this LanasPopsi situation because I have a hunch this might be a more important piece to the puzzle than many realize. This situation apparently escalated on May 29th, a week to the day of her suicide attempt. I still don’t know the whole story, and going through the various tweets that flew between Paris and various supporters of this LanasPopsi (including one particularly nasty and vicious brute who calls himself AntiBullying, ironically enough) has raised more questions than answers about who started what, and who said what to whom. But in the end, I don’t think any of that really matters so much as what was said. What churned my stomach the most, as I read through this series of ugly tweets, is knowing that these were all ADULTS who were speaking in this manner to someone whom they clearly know is a CHILD. Guys, I don’t care what the situation is. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for this kind of behavior on the part of adults, especially given how prevalent teen suicides have become due to cyber bullying. I have spoken out on this before, but it continues to sicken me to see how the anonymity of hiding behind a computer screen apparently gives some sick individuals free reign to let their alter egos fly-no matter who they hurt, or how old their victims are.
Here is how the exchange played out. I have boldfaced the most atrocious of the comments, not to sensationalize, but just to show (for the average person who may have no idea) what this child is enduring from strangers on a daily basis. What you will see first, from Paris, is a screencap of the post from LanasPopsithat apparently started all of this (don’t worry if you can’t read it, I will post an enlarged image following the thread:
Of all the awful comments made by this Anti-Bullying (or whoever the f*%^$ he is) this one, to me, was just absolutely heartbreaking:
“You’re such a bully. That’s why your dad is dead.”
What kind of adult in sane mind says such things to a grieving child?
Okay, now let’s have a closer look at the words of this nutter LanasPopsi. This is what Paris was seeking to have reported on May 29th:
Pretty bizarre stuff, isn’t it? But what’s even scarier is knowing it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I have heard all of the arguments that say Paris shouldn’t even be on Twitter. I agree-to a point. But is it also realistic to expect that Michael’s children should willingly give up all of the pleasures and freedoms that other teens enjoy and take for granted? I say yes and no. The simple truth is that they aren’t “normal”teens in the sense that they can enjoy the relative anonymity of most average kids. At the very least, having private accounts would be a good compromise. With that being said, it is true that Paris’s access to social media and her brash willingness to be the mouthpiece of the Jackson family has been both a mixed blessing and a curse. During “Grannygate,” many of us cheered on her bravado in standing up to her aunts and uncles.
But there is a downside as well, and I think we are seeing it now.
I am sure this will continue to be a developing story for several days, and I will continue to try to stay on top of it as much as I am able. It’s funny how things like this have a way of really putting our priorities back in order. Just a few days ago, my biggest concern here was keeping up with the developments in the AEG trial and the Wade Robson allegations. But all of that came to a screeching halt yesterday. The trial is continuing as I type this moment, and hopefully the present crisis will die down enough for me to get caught up with the details again in due time. But for now, I think we have much bigger concerns. As I said, it is in times like these that we learn what is truly important.
There will be time enough for the blame game and the finger pointing. For now, all Paris needs from us are our prayers and well wishes for a speedy recovery. Michael once asked, “What more can I give?” Well, for now, our thoughts, prayers, and well wishes are all we can give-and it should be enough.
My prayer is that Paris can bounce back strong from this, and that it will only be a matter of time before she is once again making us cringe with her fashion choices and rolling our eyes at her latest hairstyles and musical choices. Most of all, I hope she has many, many happy and productive years before she is reunited with her father in Heaven.
And deep down, Paris-the little girl who once said “I want to be like you, Daddy” knows this, too. Let’s just hope and pray she will receive the treatment and guidance she needs in order to realize it.
I have hoped to accomplish many things with this blog. But writing the obituary of one of Michael’s children is not one of them, and I hope to God it never, ever comes to that.
Paris doesn’t need our fawning, nor our “tough love.” Neither extreme is an effective method for the healing she will need. What she does need, quite simply, are our prayers, our best wishes-and, yes, a little less apathy from those of us grown jaded with her teenage drama.
Life is too precious to take for granted. And I hope this will be a wake-up call to parents, teachers, and any adult in a position to intervene and make a difference. When does normal teenage angst cross the line into something much more serious? If you have to wait until you think you know for sure…it may already be too late.
UPDATE 06/07/13: I have been noticing something interesting about the media coverage of this story. It seems that part of the reason for all the conflicting stories about “why this happened” is that many outlets seem to be pushing a different agenda. Radaronline, for example, has been heavily pushing the “stress over testifying in the AEG trial” agenda, as well as emphasizing the Wade Robson allegations as a factor.
“Paris felt betrayed. Paris just couldn’t understand why Wade would make such outrageous allegations against her dad. She remembered him fondly and thought of Wade as an older brother when she was growing up. Michael had always warned Paris about opportunists that would try and make a quick payday of the Jackson name, but she was stunned that Wade was now looking for money from the estates — It really shook her up.”
Yet others are pushing the Debbie Rowe angle:
The Daily Mail, meanwhile, has tried to spin it to make it all about the paternity issue again, and AEG’s threats to reveal the “truth.” (Sorry the link does not work when I try to paste it here).
Hmm. Really makes you wonder about the agendas of these outlets, as well as who their “sources” are and their agendas. It’s certainly feasible to think ALL of these factors could be playing into what is eating away at Paris. But it’s interesting that only Radaronline seems to be really beefing up the AEG angle. Any and all theories on this would be most welcomed!
On a related note, has anyone found it interesting that this is the SECOND major Jackson-related story that has broken in the midst of this trial, and which has served to divert our attention away from it? I’m not trying to imply that this was part of some conspiracy; what happened to Paris was a tragedy, pure and simple. But why do these things just keep happening in the midst of this trial? First we have Wade Robson all over the media, spouting allegations that-IF there was any truth to them-should have been brought about long ago. And now, just when it started to seem that AEG was being exposed, we have been diverted yet again by this tragic story.
Obviously, it doesn’t take much to figure how they are all inter-related, and how they have all combined to lead to the breakdown of a 15-year-old child. I believe that there is an obvious connection between the first, and that the second has been the unfortunate tragedy that has resulted. But the end result is the same. Why are the powers that be so determined that this trial is kept out of the headlines, in favor of all the diversions that continue to get thrown?
I don’t know. That’s just some food for thought.
On to other late developments. I’m sure you’ve heard about the bizarre tape recording that Conrad Murray made to Paris. As policy, I do not link to TMZ and I really do not care to give Murray any more of a platform than he already has. But here is a link to the transcript of that recording, if you’re interested. To me, it’s just plain creepy!
All I can say is, somebody please keep this guy away from Michael’s kids!
On a more positive note, this heartfelt reaction from Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush has been making the rounds. My two cents: Yes, it is touching, and obviously Billy Bush is genuinely shaken over the news. BUT…weren’t these the same people who were giving Wade Robson a platform just a few short weeks ago? (Excuse me for being the cynic that I am). However, I take this as a positive sign that there are compassionate people in the media who can learn from the mistakes that have been made. We are all just humans, after all, even though we sometimes have to be reminded of that fact.
A few more loose ends. Here is one of the more compassionate articles I’ve run across, which also highlights the cyberbullying issue:
Lastly, you had to know that this was coming:
It looks as though KJ’s custody and guardianship of Paris could be in serious jeopardy…again! Luckily, at 15, Paris is old enough to call her own shots. In three more years, she won’t have to worry about any of this! The downside is that three years is an eternity when you’re fifteen.
Lastly, I wanted to share this video of Raymone Baine talking about Paris. I know that Baine is somewhat of a controversial figure in the fan community, and I understand why. But regardless of whether you like or loathe the woman, this was such a sweet story about Paris’s love for her daddy!
ETA: 6/11/13: I saw this link today, if anyone wants to contribute a letter to Paris: