Who else has watched the 2 part Leaving Neverland documentary? It was incredible. Two lost boys able to finally tell their story.
The BAD album came out in 1987 when I was ten and I remember his photo in a frame on my ten year old cousin’s bedside table. I was bamboozled that he would be there. He looked weird and unfanciable and was probably already known as Wacko Jacko in the red top newspapers.
Doing paediatrics at Medical School many years later we had a tutorial on the sexual abuse of children. The take away message from that was that sexual abuse of kids is incredibly common and that children don’t lie about it. That a kid changing their story to say it didn’t happen needs support as it actually most likely did happen.
The Jordan Chandler accusation of 1993 was settled out of court for $23 million.
Then 2005 court case which collapsed it seems due to lack of corroboration with a jury saying afterwards that they thought he was “a child molester” but there just was not enough evidence. Of course there was! The scared boy told the world (and Jackson’s maid had said she saw him showering and fondling a boy and that her own boy was abused too). A trial of a sex offender is lucky to have any evidence and a liar, if the maid was not to not be believed, would surely tell a bigger lie.
I am all for protecting the local eccentric from a vigilante group but perhaps we should at least have kept our distance from him after that point. It felt as if the world took a collective sigh of relief when he was found not guilty and tentatively he was played on radio again and held up again as a genius. The Court of Public Opinion which is so quick to stomp on someone these days had said “…but we like him”. A Scottish jury may well have come out with a “Not Proven” verdict which at least casts a -we’ll get you next time- shadow.
In fact, public opinion was so meh on the sex abuse that in 2009 he was booked to play ten shows at the O2. Then another forty! The Guardian reported an “astonishing comeback for a man who in recent years has been dogged by controversy”. The classier broadsheet papers turned a blind eye too you see. Would the writers of these pieces have left their kids with this “controversial” guy?
Controversial… What a euphemism that was.
We forgot that Jackson was doing these concerts as he was likely skint following $200 million paid in hush money to abused kids over the years (probably an exaggeration but still a load of cash). Who would want to take a chance with poverty and smears testifying against a celebrity multimillionaire if he can make you a multimillionaire and let you disappear?
Bravery is being able to say the detailed things that these two guys have said and feel not one bit of shame. Hey folks, this is it. I loved the guy at the time but this is the truth about what he did to me when I was 7.
I am not frightened and I am not ashamed.
What is a record shop with a Michael Jackson Section to do? Well, what shops should have done a long time ago. We throw out many undesirable records as it is and he has now joined them as charity shop fodder. I feel a little bit for Quincy Jones who produced the greatest MJ albums as well as the many others that were involved in the creation of the music but to say that the work is tainted is a massive understatement.
BAD and the Jackson catalogue are perhaps the Mein Kampf of albums. Things that should only be sold in future with profits going to an appropriate charity. The Hitler comparison is accidental as I don’t think he could moonwalk but it’s the only example I can think of at the moment. I think there is a ban on controversial guys making a profit from their crimes so therefore selling their story is verboten.
Who can listen to album opener I Just Can’t Stop Loving You in the same way. Smooth Criminal? Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough from Thriller. There are a lot of sexual lyrics “Your butt is mine…” and the thrusting and crotch grabbing. Who can listen to and watch this stuff?
I don’t think there is an argument to be made for keeping them. Oh he was a genius… Well, that is not the first thing that goes through my mind when I think about him. He was a manipulator, a predator and a calculating liar. A serial pederast and a bad man. He knew this himself and that seems to me why he kept changing his face. A real-life Picture of Dorian Gray that was not hiding in the attic all along but was hiding in plain sight right in front of our eyes, on bedside tables, bedroom posters and on the front pages of the papers for decades. Hidden for all these years by Francis Bacon’s scalpel, Colonel Gaddafi’s Saturday night wardrobe and the real-life Peter Pan* spiel- a boy who lost his own childhood through fame and touring and who’s father was mean to him and teased him about his nose. A lie that had him left alone with kids just as he wanted. The original title of Peter Pan was The Boy Who Hated Mothers.
The many hours of documentary/testimony has had a powerful effect and I simply can’t bear to look at his face anymore, so I’m taking them off the wall/shelf.
What about Ben? A gentle ballad about a boy and his pet mouse? Those singles turn up pretty often and it is a nice wee thing.
It is not about a mouse, it is about a rat… From the soundtrack to a horror film sequel about a pet rat called Ben.
A lonely boy named Danny Garrison befriends Ben, the leader of the colony of rats trained by Willard Stiles. Ben becomes the boy’s best friend, protecting him from bullying and keeping his spirits up in the face of a heart condition.
However, things gradually take a downward turn as Ben’s colony becomes violent, resulting in several deaths. Eventually, the police destroy the rat colony with flame throwers, but Ben survives and makes his way back to Danny. The film closes with Danny, tending to the injured Ben, determined not to lose his friend.
Jackson is Ben, we are the boy.
*JM Barrie’s biography is controversial.