An Introduction to Mimetic Theory

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I compiled the following documentary film on the origin of cultures, in three parts, introducing some major topics of mimetic theory and René Girard’s thinking. Transcription of the videos (in English & Dutch) is available below, beneath PART III.

PART I of the film explores the fundamental role of mimesis (imitation) in human development on several levels (biological, psychological, sociological, cultural). René Girard’s originality lies in his  introduction of a connection between this old philosophical concept and human desire. He speaks of a certain mimetic desire and ascribes to it a vital role in our social interaction. It explains our often competitive and envious tendencies. More specifically, Girard considers mimetic desire as the source for a type of conflict that is foundational to the way human culture originates and develops. In his view the primal cultural institutions are religious. Following a sociologist like Émile Durkheim, Girard first considers religion as a means to organize our social fabric, and to manage violence within communities.

The more specific question the first part of this documentary tries to answer is the following: where do sacrifices, as rituals belonging to the first signs of human culture, originally come from? How can they be explained? Click to watch:

PART II starts off with a summary and then further insists on the fundamental role of the so-called scapegoat mechanism in the origin of religious and cultural phenomena.

PART III explores the world of mythology and human storytelling in the light of Girard’s theory on certain types of culture founding conflicts and scapegoat mechanisms. Girard comes to surprising conclusions regarding storytelling in Judeo-Christian Scripture. 

CLICK HERE FOR FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION (PDF)

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CURSUSMATERIAAL AFGELEID VAN VROUWEN, JEZUS EN ROCK-‘N-ROLL

COURSE MATERIAL BASED ON VROUWEN, JEZUS EN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

 

Towards the Death of the #MeToo Movement? – A Case of Killing in the Name of the Victim

Brett Barnes, Karlee Barnes, Omer Bhatti (O-Bee), Aaron Carter, Eddie Cascio, Frank Cascio, Kevin Macaulay Culkin, Bela Farkas, Corey Feldman, Brandi Jackson, Taj Jackson, Sean Lennon, Harriet Lester, Emmanuel Lewis, William Ray Norwood Jr. (Ray J), Danny Oliver, Kelley Parker, Alfonso Ribeiro, David Rothenberg (Dave Dave), Anton Schleiter, Franziska Schleiter.

What do these people have in common?

Well, for one thing, they all got to know Michael Jackson up close and personal when they were young boys and girls.

Secondly, they have all publicly, repeatedly and emphatically denied that Michael Jackson ever approached them inappropriately when they were children. They have claimed the opposite, testifying to nothing but good memories about their experiences with the late pop star.

I will wholeheartedly admit that this doesn’t mean that Michael Jackson didn’t molest any other children. However, often the testimonies in defense of Michael Jackson are read in light of the few allegations of child sexual abuse against him by those who believe that he indeed was a pedophile. Some of the “believers” then go to great lengths to explain the psychology of the people who claim, as adults, that they were never molested by Michael Jackson while they might very probably have been molested. This is a patronizing, belittling and arrogant attitude to listen to people’s testimonies, to say the least.

I would like to propose the opposite approach without, however, “explaining away” the possibility of Michael Jackson as a child molester beforehand on purely speculative psychological grounds. So I suggest to interpret the few allegations in light of the numerous testimonies in favor of Michael Jackson, after which certain non-speculative facts can be considered in relation to the allegations.

Before I go on, some people might want to know if I’m a fan of Michael Jackson. The answer is that I am a fan of his music, although certainly more of his early work as an adult solo-artist. I grew up on his first three albums, but his music generally is not my pick of the day. My taste in music is quite broad, not only in the “classical” sections, but also in the pop and rock sections. Aerosmith, Tracy Chapman, Leonard Cohen, Marc Cohn, DMX, Fleetwood Mac, King’s X, Joni Mitchell, Prince, Todd Rundgren, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, Toto and U2 are among my favorite artists. One of my all-time favorite bands is Dan Reed Network, which is quite ironic since the director’s name of the controversial HBO-production Leaving Neverland is also Dan Reed.

I wanted to point this out because some people assume all kinds of things when you strongly defend the possibility that Michael Jackson wasn’t a pedophile at all. They assume that Michael Jackson must be your big idol, and that you belong to some sort of “crazy fan cult” that will deny the so-called truth about Michael Jackson being a pedophile at all costs, even in the face of “overwhelming” evidence or indications. I can honestly say that I would not have any problem admitting that Michael Jackson most likely was a pedophile if the evidence or circumstantial evidence would point in that direction. On the contrary, if that were indeed the case, then his victims would be welcome to receive my full support. However, in a world that is founded upon the so-called Age of Reason or Enlightenment, judgments should be made on the basis of facts and these facts point in the direction of false accusations. All the extremely thorough research done by legal and judicial authorities over the years, time and again exonerate Michael Jackson – for more on this, see FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”.

NOTE ON THE TWO CASES OF CSA DURING MICHAEL JACKSON’S LIFETIME

It is good to remember some important facts about the two cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) that were brought against Michael Jackson during his lifetime (again, for more on this see FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”).

Regarding the Jordan Chandler case of 1993, people should consider the following facts. Jordan Chandler’s parents are divorced. His father, Evan, is a Hollywood dentist who wants to make it in show business. He becomes very disgruntled with his ex-wife June, his son Jordan and Michael Jackson when they don’t sustain the level of communication he expects from them. In a lengthy taped phone conversation between Evan and David Schwartz (Jordan’s stepfather) Evan reveals his plans to “destroy ex-wife June and Michael Jackson” if they don’t return to his desired level of contact. Evan Chandler suggests his plan is to level allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson. If his ex-wife and Michael Jackson do re-establish contact with him, he promises not to go through with his plan. In other words, Evan Chandler clearly aims to blackmail Michael Jackson. Whatever really happens between Michael Jackson and his son is of no importance to him. When Michael Jackson resists Evan Chandler’s extortion attempts, Evan Chandler tries everything to force his son to level allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson. Jordan Chandler denies anything inappropriate ever happened between him and Michael Jackson multiple times, until he finally succumbs to the pressure of his father. Evan Chandler threatens to go public with the allegations if Michael Jackson refuses to pay a settlement. Michael Jackson indeed refuses, after which Evan seeks monetary compensations in an official civil case against Jackson. Michael Jackson and his legal team file for the criminal case to go before the civil case so he can clear his name, but to no avail. After the civil case is settled (for $15,331,250) in which an official document makes sure that this is not an admission of guilt on the part of Michael Jackson, Evan Chandler is no longer interested in pursuing criminal charges against Michael Jackson. The criminal case goes on, though, but is rejected by two different Grand Juries – in any case, Michael Jackson did not buy his way out of court!

After the whole circus winds down, Jordan Chandler no longer wants anything to do with his parents anymore and files for legal emancipation. At the trial against Michael Jackson in 2005, his mother declares that she hadn’t been in contact with her son for 11 years. Jordan at some point even obtains a permanent restraining order against the father who had forced him to level allegations against Michael Jackson. If there is one manipulative, abusive person in this whole situation, it is indeed Jordan Chandler’s father Evan Chandler. Not only other people become the victim of his behavior. Eventually Evan Chandler commits suicide, a few months after Michael Jackson’s passing.

The second case against Michael Jackson during his lifetime revolves around Gavin Arvizo, which culminates in the 2005 criminal trial. The Arvizo family turns out to have a history of (at times successful) extortion attempts. On August 27, 1998, when he is only eight years old, Gavin steals two school uniforms and two school uniform pants from a J.C. Penney Department Store. Strangely enough, the incident ends with a settlement between the Arvizo family and J.C. Penney in which the store pays the family $152,200. Janet Arvizo, the mother, claimed that she had been touched inappropriately by security guards. The file about the case clearly indicates her manipulative tactics.

Apart from the Michael Jackson and the J.C. Penney cases, the Arvizos get also caught being involved in fraudulent and manipulative activities against actor and comedian Chris Tucker, comedian George Lopez, television host Jay Leno and editor Connie Keenan. Mother Janet Arvizo also committed welfare fraud.

A very important fact is the changing of the timeline of Michael Jackson’s alleged abuse by the Arvizos. The Michael Jackson Allegations website points out the consequences of this (see also below, Rolling Stone’s account of the same situation):

“Initially the Arvizos claimed that the molestation started as soon as they returned from Miami with Jackson, on February 7, 2003. This version of the story is also represented in the prosecution’s initial felony complaint, filed on December 18, 2003.

However, later they changed this story and said that Jackson started molesting Gavin after February 20. As you will see, this timeline change was not just a minor correction. It significantly changed the narrative of the Arvizos’ initial story.

[…]

According to the story that the Arvizos ended up with due to the timeline change, Jackson started molesting Gavin while the CPS and the police investigated, while there was a huge public attention on him and Gavin because of the Bashir documentary, and while his PR team was working overtime on damage control because of the public relations backlash resulting from the Bashir documentary. To believe the Arvizos’ story you have to believe that all the while this was happening (including a police and a CPS investigation), Jackson suddenly started molesting Gavin Arvizo, even though for three years he had not touched him and not even trusted him and his family. This is exactly the story that the Arvizo family ended up with after they were forced to change their initial timeline because of the discovery of the ‘rebuttal tape’ raw footage.

According to some people, Michael Jackson must have had tons of victims of child sexual abuse. During his lifetime, two cases came out. The first case turned out to be concocted by an overambitious, money hungry and abusive father. His son Jordan didn’t want anything to do with him anymore after he was forced to level allegations against Michael Jackson and after the case wound down. The second case was concocted by a family who had a long history of extortion attempts and who were caught lying on all counts during the trial against Michael Jackson in 2005.

Surprise, surprise? Considering all the supportive testimonies of people who knew Michael Jackson when they were children, it is probably no coincidence that of all the alleged potential victims the only cases that came out were clearly non-credible extortion attempts.

A REPEATING PATTERN

Concerning the cases of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the pattern to seek monetary compensations for alleged abuse repeats itself. This is a fact. Moreover, Robson and Safechuck were also caught lying on multiple occasions regarding their cases, not only by investigative journalists, but also by judges. This is a fact. It is no coincidence that their cases were already thrown out of court twice. It is probably also no coincidence that Robson first made allegations when he was experiencing financial troubles and troubles regarding his career (he was not accepted as director for a Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil tribute show). And it is probably also no coincidence that Safechuck “suddenly realized” that he had been abused by Michael Jackson only days after the Safechuck family business got sued for nearly a million dollars.

The HBO production Leaving Neverland, about the Robson and Safechuck cases, leaves out all the kind of above mentioned information. It is therefore an unethical piece of journalism for several reasons: it contains significant and proven lies; it profits from a deceased person’s bad reputation who can no longer defend himself; it offers a prosecution’s case veiled as a “testimony of child sexual abuse”; it unashamedly profits from the sympathy of victims of proven child sexual abuse during this #MeToo era. In short, Leaving Neverland is a mere “trial by media” – a witch hunt of increasingly low credibility value.

With Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed finds himself in the company of people like Diane Dimond and Víctor Gutiérrez and their stories about Michael Jackson. Both Dimond and Gutiérrez are tabloid journalists of the worst kind, the latter being convicted for blatantly lying and making up stories on multiple occasions, also regarding Michael Jackson.

It is now proven that Wade Robson read multiple tabloid stories while he was preparing his unpublished book (which contains his first version of allegations against Michael Jackson). He mailed those stories to himself. Robson also declared reading books about the pattern of child sexual abuse, supposedly to make sense of his own experience. Whatever the level of truth in his own story, the tabloid stories and the books on child sexual abuse clearly helped Robson to put the pieces of his own story together. It is also proven that Robson knew about information from tabloid stories not being true, and yet he used that information in the manuscript of his unpublished book. As for James Safechuck, many elements of his story are so comparable to the story that Víctor Gutiérrez concocted in Michael Jackson Was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler (Alamo Square Distributors, 1996) that they seem copy pasted from that book.

The question to determine Michael Jackson’s guilt should not be whether or not the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck “fit the pattern” of child sexual abuse. The question should be whether or not the different elements of their stories, which constitute that pattern of child sexual abuse, are actual facts as opposed to lies.

An approach to reality that reduces reality to “correspondence to a pattern” is an externalization of what Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) calls “totality”.

A “pattern” is a way to approach reality. It is not reality itself. Knowledge of a pattern can be used by deceivers to “sell” a story as “truth”. Tabloid journalism excels in this respect. The testimonies below (see also the Open Letter by the Schleiter Family) challenge the standard “totalitarian” story of Michael Jackson as a textbook pedophile. 

The tabloid background and multiple proven lies didn’t help the cases of Robson and Safechuck (who contacted Robson and was eventually represented by the same legal team) regarding their credibility. Several victims of child sexual abuse were outraged about Leaving Neverland and spoke out against Wade Robson and James Safechuck once they knew more about the history of their cases.

THE QUESTION OF VICTIMHOOD

It is patronizing if not arrogant to assume that people who knew Michael Jackson since their childhood only say nice things about him “because they remain under the manipulative spell of his pop star aura.” Let us listen to those testimonies first.

It is patronizing if not arrogant to assume that everyone who defends Michael Jackson “must be a fan.” Let us first find out if his ardent defenders are indeed all fans and if that is the main reason why they defend him.

It is patronizing if not arrogant to assume that big fans of Michael Jackson “would not admit that he was a pedophile even if the evidence pointed in that direction.” Let us first find out why many fans don’t believe that he was a pedophile – do they really have strong reasonable and plausible arguments, or is it mainly a rationalization of emotional impulses?

It is patronizing if not arrogant to assume that the Los Angeles Police Department, the FBI, the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services and the Santa Barbara County Superior Court would stand “no chance against the power and money of Michael Jackson.” Let us first find out what kind of investigations were conducted, how the raids on his Neverland ranch were done, how the police took photographs of his genitals and how he was treated when they arrested him.

I think it is important to move beyond those kinds of speculative assumptions because judgment based on assumptions ultimately damages the so-called #MeToo movement big time. The fact that victims have a voice is a breakthrough. As scholars have pointed out, the Judeo-Christian influence on the western world plays a tremendous part in this achievement – Gil Bailie, for instance (Violence Unveiled – Humanity at the Crossroads, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 1995, p. 20):

“There’s plenty of truth in the revised picture of Western history that the young are now routinely taught, the picture of the West’s swashbuckling appetite for power, wealth, and dominion. What’s to be noted is that it is we, and not our cultural adversaries, who are teaching it to them. It is we, the spiritual beneficiaries of that less than always edifying history, who automatically empathize more with our ancestors’ victims than with our ancestors themselves. If we are tempted to think that this amazing shift is the product of our own moral achievement, all we have to do is look around at how shamelessly we exploit it for a little power, wealth, and dominion of our own.

The fact is that the concern for victims has gradually become the principal gyroscope in the Western world. Even the most vicious campaigns of victimization – including, astonishingly, even Hitler’s – have found it necessary to base their assertion of moral legitimacy on the claim that their goal was the protection or vindication of victims. However savagely we behave, and however wickedly and selectively we wield this moral gavel, protecting or rescuing innocent victims has become the cultural imperative everywhere the Biblical influence has been felt.

However, the perversion of the achievement to listen to “the voice of the victim” threatens to silence the voice of real victims again: people pretending to be victims murderously persecute others in the name of “the victim” in order to gain power and end up making ever more victims. As French-American thinker René Girard points out (Evolution and Conversion – Dialogues on the Origins of Culture, Continuum, London, New York, 2007, p. 236):

“We have experienced various forms of totalitarianism that openly denied Christian principles. There has been the totalitarianism of the Left, which tried to outflank Christianity; and there has been totalitarianism of the Right, like Nazism, which found Christianity too soft on victims. This kind of totalitarianism is not only alive but it also has a great future. There will probably be some thinkers in the future who will reformulate this principle in a politically correct fashion, in more virulent forms, which will be more anti-Christian, albeit in an ultra-Christian caricature. When I say more Christian and more anti-Christian, I imply the figure of the Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ is nothing but that: it is the ideology that attempts to outchristianize Christianity, that imitates Christianity in a spirit of rivalry.

[…]

You can foresee the shape of what the Anti-Christ is going to be in the future: a super-victimary machine that will keep on sacrificing in the name of the victim.

The #MeToo movement should be about a concern for real victims, also victims of false allegations. The focus, time, energy and money of a society should go to real victims, not pretenders. That’s why the #MeToo movement should be concerned about false allegations. It should not lend itself to sustain the condemnation of people in a mere trial by powerful media, especially if those people are no longer here to defend themselves and were already acquitted on all counts during their lifetime. Regarding Michael Jackson, we should focus on what can be known for a fact before speculating and jumping to conclusions.

In any case, the people who have testified against Michael Jackson in a court of law were all caught on multiple and significant lies, while the people who testified in his defense were not (apart from Wade Robson, who claims to have lied in the only criminal trial against Michael Jackson in 2005). Also, many (if not all) people who testified against Michael Jackson sold their stories to the tabloids for big money. These are facts. It is also a fact that Michael Jackson was acquitted on all counts in 2005 and declared innocent. Despite this declaration, many still had doubts about him and Michael Jackson would suffer the consequences of this trial mentally and physically. Michael Jackson never really recovered from the 2005 trial and was virtually destroyed. He would die four years later. The HBO production Leaving Neverland, true or not, further kills the reputation of an already dead man who can no longer defend himself “in the name of the victim”.

To get a clearer picture of the “regular” experiences with Michael Jackson, as opposed to the four exceptional cases of child sexual abuse against him (the Jordan Chandler case, the Gavin Arvizo case, and the Wade Robson and James Safechuck cases), below are some voices of people who are speculated about a lot, but are rarely been listened to.

VOICES OF “NEVERLAND CHILDREN” ON BEHALF OF AN ACCUSED DEAD MAN

SEAN LENNON (son of the late John Lennon) in exclaim! March 6, 2019 – emphasis mine:

“I think that was a super strange time, but not in a dark way. In an odd way, in a unique way. It was odd because Bubbles was all dressed up in dandy outfits and we were all running around playing videogames with this chimpanzee. It was a surreal scene. It was kind of part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, part Dr. Doolittle, and part, you know, ‘Motown’s Greatest Hits’ or something. It was a convergence of a lot of disparate universes that merged for a while. And that was a strange scene but it was really fun. I mean it was amazing to hang out with all those animals, but there was also something very eccentric about it, you know?

[…]

He was the coolest dude I’d ever met for sure. I mean people, you know, they have a lot of opinions about him and like anything else, my opinions can only be based on my experience. But he was super fun to hang out with. I mean he was like a big kid, you know?

Michael Jackson and Sean Lennon 1

So yeah, the time that I got to spend with him was – it was like Disneyland all day long. He’d set up water balloon fights and pie fights in basketball courts. Just really fun stuff where he’d like invite all his friends over and there’d be two teams and everyone would dress in garbage bags and throw pies at each other. It was like super high-level fun and it was orchestrated fun and insanity.”

Michael Jackson and Sean Lennon 2

ANTON AND FRANZISKA SCHLEITER, An Open Letter, Enough is Enough, March 4, 2019

(https://schleiter-family.com/) – emphasis mine:

“In 1995 we first met Michael at a German TV Show. That day, something that we could never have imagined in our wildest dreams happened. It was the start of a unique friendship. A friendship so normal yet so unusual and magical. One that would last until the very last day of Michael’s life and will continue forever in our hearts.

From the beginning we knew that what we were privileged to experience, was a treasure worth protecting. Especially regarding the world we live in, with media that wants to make up stories that sell, rather than seeking the truth and people who want to read shocking headlines rather than knowing the truth. Over the years we were offered over a quarter million of Euros for interviews, but no money in the world could ever materialize a value that would stand above the value of our memories with Michael. This is the reason why we have never spoken a word publicly about our friendship.

Something has changed our mind about speaking up lately. The utter shocking news of a new documentary that would portray Michael once again as a child molester. Even writing this sentence, putting his name and that word together, makes us feel sick to our stomach. Michael never behaved inappropriately towards us and we neither witnessed nor suspected him doing it to someone else ever.

We have been angry with the public treatment of Michael many times in the past, but we chose to stay silent – hoping the truth to run marathons and protecting Michael and his privacy.

And we had good reason to be angry, for example when Anton was falsely portrayed in a German tabloid as having a homosexual affair with Michael. We witnessed first hand how ugly the media can be and how they make up most terrible lies just to have a story. When our father denied to talk to an inquiring journalist on the phone, the story read something like ‘Father refuses to defend Michael’. Unfortunately scandals sell much better than anything else.

Michael Jackson and Anton Schleiter 1

Spending a lot of time with Michael, we experienced two-faced people more than once. When Michael was in the room, they acted most charming with seemingly good intentions, but once he turned his cheek they would become rude and you could sense that their intentions were not that good after all. In front of us, they didn’t care showing their real face. We were only the shy German family in the background, not worth paying attention to. But we were observing and slowly but surely we started to get a glance at the often difficult world Michael was living in. It was a world in which it was so very difficult to trust.

And yet Michael was kind to everybody he would meet and believed in the good so strongly. Some would call it naiv, to us it was just one of his character traits that made us look up to him. Giving everybody a chance, even if you’ve been fooled by people over and over, really is remarkable. And it makes us even more sad to know, that many took and still take advantage of this.

Being around Michael made us realize that everybody wanted a piece of him. We often wondered why, from all people, he would let us into his circle of trusted friends. Now we understand it was maybe the fact that we didn’t want anything from him and simply enjoyed being together. When he offered to pay for our education, our parents denied because it was too much of a gift. It was a no brainer for us then, but looking back on it now, it was probably something that Michael didn’t experience often.

Michael Jackson and Schleiter Kids

Those who wanted a piece of his fame or his money did not care about Michael as a person or about his kind heart and uplifting spirit. It is truly a shame and we almost feel bad for those people in a way, because blinded by money, they probably didn’t realize that they just had the honor to meet a person that has a uniqueness about him that the world would only witness every other century. His music, his message, his creative and genius mind was truly one of a kind.

While our friendship with Michael was very normal in a sense that we hung out, chatted on the phone, went to the movies just like friends do, it was also magical in the sense that Michael had a warmth about him that was captivating. You would immediately feel comfortable and safe around him. He was one of the most humble persons we’ve ever met, always putting the well being of others over his own.

There was never a single moment of doubt of his pure heart and intentions, which also led our parents to allow us to travel alone with Michael.

Though we’re speaking up today, we still want to protect and respect our personal stories. What we can say though, is that each and every time we had to say good bye to Michael, we all cried because we knew how much we would miss him. The times we spent together were the most fun. And while Michael was always up for a good water balloon fight, he was also a great mentor, teaching us about life and sharing his incredible knowledge. We can remember how excited he was to tell us about the Wright brothers when he learnt that we had never heard of them. He gave us books and movies of stories we could learn from and he was eager for us to develop our talents.

We understand that our story can only put a small piece of the puzzle together for those who are still in doubt of what to believe about Michael Jackson. To those who still doubt that he was innocent, we can only plea to simply do your own research. And if the fact that Michael had to endure every possible raid of privacy in his trial in 2005 and still was found NOT GUILTY on ALL CHARGES, if this fact is still not enough for you, then maybe you can simply listen to his music.

Meeting many of his fans over the years, we were astounded how much they ‘got him’ as a person, even though they never personally met him. Michael and his fans had a unique friendship of their own. He trusted them and it is no wonder why they continue to trust in his good heart. They simply listened to his music and to his words. If you listen closely you’d know all of his stories and you’d know what kind of person he was. You would know that his mission for his time on earth was not only to bring happiness in form of melodies and rhythm but also to change the world to the better.

Boy, how he could inspire us to be our best selves and to show more love and respect to each other! Yet people choose to blow up lies that threaten to overshadow all of the greatness this man has brought.

Enough is enough.


Today we speak up for Michael because he deserves better and because he was the best friend we could have ever imagined.

Anton and Franziska and our parents Marlies and Wolfgang

Michael Jackson and Schleiter Family

COREY FELDMAN  

For CNN, Piers Morgan interview, October 28, 2013 – emphasis mine:

Well, Michael was the big brother I never had quite honestly. He was everything to me as a kid. He taught me so many things. He’s taught me about loving animals, vegetarianism, animal rights, environmental issues, caring about your fans, how to treat your fans, the fact that the moment that you meet your fans may just be a fleeting moment to you and something that you’re in the middle of things that you got to take time for. But to them – they’re going to remember this moment for the rest of their lives. So how important it is with that exchange and how you treat them a lot.

[…]

We discussed everything, you know what I mean, and it was literally like a big brother, little brother relationship where we’ve talked about everything, I would talk about the abuse that I endured in school which is also in the book, the abuse with my parents and also the difficulties of having to go to work everyday instead of being able to play. You know both of us shared that similarity.

Michael Jackson and Corey Feldman

We were robbed of our childhoods. We weren’t able to just have sleepovers or go play at the arcade with other kids or take your bike down the street and do what you want. That didn’t exist for us. That wasn’t a reality. So instead we ought to, you know, go for meeting to meeting and, you know, sit in a room full of people all day and be judged and have people question you about everything that you do, again, life under the microscope, totally different, a very different perspective than most people ever have the experience of having.”

For HuffPost, November 2, 2013 – emphasis mine:

“I don’t know a lot of things that happened in the years I wasn’t around, but all I can tell you is remarking about the person that I know, the person that was my close friend, that was like a brother to me. Michael was not that guy.

He was a guy who was so innocent, so kind of sheltered, you couldn’t even swear around him. You couldn’t talk about drugs, you couldn’t talk about nude women, you couldn’t talk about sex. You couldn’t talk about anything, because he was a very religious man for much of the early stages of his life and career.

When I got arrested, I was afraid, to be honest with you, that he’d never talk to me again because he had such a clean image — that I really expected that he’d just be like, ‘see ya!’ you know? And that really showed me the value of what type of person he was.

The fact that when I did get arrested, even though his image was still squeaky clean and by all rights he could have stepped aside and moved me back, but he didn’t.

He called me. I got that message on my answering machine, which said, ‘Hi Corey, it’s Michael. Is everything ok? Call me if you need me.’ You know, he was a friend. He was supportive. And thank God for that.”

For NBC – The Today Show, Matt Lauer interview, October 30, 2017 – emphasis mine:

FELDMAN: “I told the police [the names of Hollywood pedophiles]. In fact if anyone wants to go back to 1993, when I was interviewed by the Santa Barbara Police Department. I sat there and gave them the names. They are on record. They have all of this information, but they were scanning Michael Jackson. All they cared about was trying about to find something on Michael Jackson.”

LAUER: “Who you said, by the way, did not abuse you.”

FELDMAN: “Who Michael was innocent. And that was what the interview was about with the pollice in 1993. I told them, he is not that guy. And they said, maybe you don’t understand your friend. And I said, no, I know the difference between pedophiles and somebody that is not a pedophile because I have been molested. Here’s the names, go investigate.”

KELLEY (KELLIE) PARKER, for RTL 4, Erik Mouthaan interview, July 6, 2009 – emphasis mine:

“I have nothing but amazing memories from the entire time that I knew Michael and was friends with him. I can’t say enough good things. He just had this unconditional love. He was so pure. And… I just have so many great memories.”

Kelley Parker on Michael Jackson Tweet

Michael Jackson and Kelley Parker

KEVIN MACAULAY CULKIN 

For CNN, Larry King Live, May 27, 2004 [also talking about the criminal trial back then, in which Macaulay Culkin would eventually testify on behalf of his friend Michael Jackson] – emphasis mine:

KING: “What happened at the house? That’s what all the things that people are concerned about.”

CULKIN: “That’s what’s so weird.”

KING: “What did happen?”

CULKIN: “Nothing happened. You know, nothing really. I mean, we played video games. We, you know, played at his amusement park.”

KING: “Did he sleep in the bed?”

CULKIN: “The thing is with that whole thing, oh, you slept in the same bedroom as him. It’s like, I don’t think you understand, Michael Jackson’s bedroom is two stories and it has like three bathrooms and this and that. So, when I slept in his bedroom, yes, but you understand the whole scenario. And the thing is with Michael he’s not good at explaining himself and he never really has been, because he’s not a very social person. You’re talking about someone who has been sheltered and sheltering himself also for the last like 30 years. And so, he’s not very good at communicating to people and not good at conveying what he’s actually trying to say to you. So, when he says something like that people – he doesn’t quite understand why people react the way that they do.”

KING: “Why do you think he likes young people so much?”

CULKIN: “Because the same reason why he liked me, was the fact that I didn’t care who he was. That was the thing. I talked to him like he was a normal human being and kids do that to him because he’s Michael Jackson the pop singer, but he’s not the God, the ‘king of pop’ or anything like that. He’s just a guy who is actually very kid-like himself and wants to go out there and wants to play video games with you.”

Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin (1991)

KING: “Did your parents encourage it?”

CULKIN: “They weren’t against it. It wasn’t like they encouraged it or pushing me upon it. I wanted to hang out with him and they were fine.”

KING: “What do you make of what he’s going through now?”

CULKIN: “Like I said, it’s unfortunate, and you know, it’s a circus.”

KING: “Do you think it’s a bad rap?”

CULKIN: “You know, I think so. Yes. Listen, look what happened the first time this happened to him. If someone had done something like that to my kid, I wouldn’t settle for some money. I’d make sure the guy was in jail. It just really goes to show as soon as they got the money they ran. I mean, that’s what really happened the first time. And so I don’t know. It’s a little crazy and I kind of have taken a step back from the whole thing, because it is a bit of a circus. And you know, if the same thing was happening to me, I wouldn’t want to drag him into it and vice versa. So I try my best to take a distance from it, but like I said he’s still a friend of mine.”

KING: “If they asked you to be a character witness, would you appear?”

CULKIN: “I guess so, but probably not. Like I said, it’s crazy, and I don’t really want to be a part of it.”

 KING: “You like him.”

CULKIN: “I like him and he’s a friend of mine. I’m not saying I wouldn’t. It hasn’t been brought up to me and I don’t think he’d want me to either. Just because, like I said, if the same thing was happening to me…”

KING: “What reaction has happened to you from all of this?”

CULKIN: “What do you mean?”

KING: “Do people inquire of you a lot about it?”

CULKIN: “Sometimes. You know, people always have their opinions. It’s funny. People always talk to me about him, because you know, I’m one of these people who will tell you anything about my life, really, to get me going. You know, so yes, I mean, I’ve openly and freely talked about him and stuff like that. But overall, you know, he’s just a good friend of mine.”

KING: “You wish him well.”

CULKIN: “Of course I do.”

On the Inside of You podcast, Michael Rosenbaum interview, January 15, 2019 – emphasis mine:

“It’s almost easy to try to say it was ‘weird’ or whatever, but it wasn’t, because it made sense.

He reached out to me ’cause a lot of things were happening big and fast with me. I think he identified with that.

[…] I think that’s one of the reasons also why we got along, is that everyone’s always thoroughly impressed by him. So the fact that somebody treated him like a normal person… It was that simple.”

EMMANUEL LEWIS, CBC Television, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, October 10, 2012 – emphasis mine (by the way: notice how the website “MJFacts” manipulated the following photo, adding bottles and changing a few other details):

Michael Jackson and Emmanuel Lewis (original vs manipulated)

You know this guy is great. You know Michael’s got a heart of gold. You know that he wouldn’t do any of those things that people were talking about. Later on, of course, after he died, a few of those people came forward and said, ‘You know, it never happened, we didn’t do anything, was pressured by parents, by this or that; we needed money real bad…’ and they figured that was a way to get out. And there’s people out there in the press that actually came clean. But it’s a little late, you know. Thanks a lot, you know what I mean? You put him through hell.”

 

Michael Jackson and Emmanuel Lewis 2 (Visit to Disney World, 1984)

EDDIE AND FRANK CASCIO, Oprah, December 6, 2010 – emphasis mine:

FRANK CASCIO: “We grew up with Michael, literally, since he was three and I was five, and so being around him was just normal.”

Michael Jackson with Cascio Brothers

 

 

EDDIE CASCIO: “He really just was so humble and then never really played off on the fact that he was, you know, Michael Jackson, you know. He was just Michael. He was just our friend.”

Michael Jackson with Frank Cascio

DAVE DAVE, Larry King Live, September 3, 2009 – emphasis mine:

“I believe that Michael was a great person. He has never hurt a soul and I am happy to have been his friend for all these years, and been a dedicated friend.”

Michael Jackson and Dave Dave

BRETT BARNES

Michael Jackson and Brett Barnes (Photoshoot)

Emmanuel Lewis tweets a couple of times on behalf of Michael Jackson’s defense after the airing of Leaving Neverland, the HBO production containing new allegations against the late pop star. Already on May 8, 2013, after Wade Robson goes public for the first time with his allegations against Michael Jackson, Brett Barnes tweets in Michael Jackson’s defense:

“I wish people would realise, in your last moments on this earth, all the money in the world will be of no comfort. My clear conscience will.”

Brett Barnes Tweet on Wade Robson Lies

To this day he keeps defending his late friend.

Michael Jackson and Brett Barnes

RETURNING ONCE AGAIN TO THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MICHAEL JACKSON

FOR MORE, SEE FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”

1993 – THE JORDAN CHANDLER CASE

In a taped phone conversation with David Schwartz (Jordan Chandler’s stepfather), Evan Chandler threatens to make allegations against Michael Jackson and his ex-wife if they continue to refuse communicating with him. Eventually, Evan indeed forces his son Jordan to make allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson. Once the allegations are made, Evan manages to make an appointment with Jackson and his lawyers. When he sees Michael Jackson on the day of the meeting, Evan walks up to him and amicably hugs the pop star – the alleged molester of Evan’s son Jordan. The hug is described by Evan’s own brother, Jordan’s uncle Ray, among others. Jackson refuses to settle for money at that point. Therefore, Evan goes public with the allegations.

Michael Jackson and his legal team relentlessly try to get the criminal trial ahead of the civil trial by filing motions, all of which are rejected by Judge David Rothman. California law at the time allows the civil trial to go ahead of the criminal trial. Michael Jackson and his legal team lose four (yes, four) motions in their attempt to postpone the civil suit until the criminal proceeding is completed. In other words, Michael Jackson is eager to go to trial to clear his name! The Chandlers, on the other hand, turn out to be only interested in a civil suit of which they want a settlement before any criminal proceedings.

Eventually, Jackson’s legal team advises him to settle the civil case for $15,331,250 so focus can be on the upcoming criminal trial. Jackson makes sure that an official statement is signed that this is not an admission of guilt. Michael Jackson’s legal team prepares for the criminal trial. The prosecution presents the case to two different Grand Juries, but the case is rejected twice. The Chandlers are not interested in cooperating with the authorities for the criminal case. Clearly they are not interested in a conviction of their son’s alleged molester.

Rolling Stone describes the end of the case as follows (January 29, 2019):

Jordan Chandler went on to attain legal emancipation from both of his parents. June Chandler testified at Jackson’s 2005 trial and said she had not spoken to her son in 11 years. Evan Chandler, who closed his dental practice in 1994, killed himself in 2009.”

People should make up their own mind about this whole matter, but to me this looks like an extortion plot set up by Evan Chandler, which destroyed his own family and the relationship between parents and son. It seems money was the driving force of the Chandlers, especially since they were not interested in pursuing criminal charges.

2005 – THE GAVIN ARVIZO CASE

Rolling Stone, April 7, 2005 (Inside the Strangest Trial on Earth, p. 36),  summarizes the case of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson in 2005 as follows – emphasis mine:

“The prosecution’s case, seldom satisfactorily explained in the mainstream media, goes as follows. On February 6th, 2003, the Bashir documentary, in which Jackson is seen admitting that he sleeps in his bedroom with young boys, is shown on British TV. Among the children who appear in the video is his accuser in this case, a thirteen-year-old cancer survivor who had been introduced to Jackson during his chemotherapy treatments several years before.

According to the prosecution, Jackson had not molested the boy at the time the Bashir documentary aired, but he was sufficiently concerned that the boy might make such allegations that he and a band of Neverland courtiers entered into an elaborate conspiracy to “falsely imprison” the boy and his family for nearly five weeks (in luxury hotels, at Neverland ranch and other places), during which time they coerced the family into denying, on camera, that anything untoward had ever happened between Jackson and the boy.

[…]

At any rate, it was only after the filming of this so-called rebuttal video – which, incidentally, Jackson then sold to the Fox Network for $3 million – and after authorities had begun an investigation into Jackson’s relationship with the boy, that Jackson allegedly molested the child, in early March.

The prosecution’s case therefore boils down to this: In a panic over negative publicity, Jackson conspires to kidnap a boy and force him to deny acts of molestation that in fact never happened, and then he gets over his panic just long enough to actually molest the child at the very moment when the whole world is watching.

It is a fantastic argument, a bilious exercise in circular prosecutorial logic: conspiracy to commit conspiracy, false imprisonment for the sake of it, followed by a sudden act of utter self-destructive madness. And none of it makes sense…

No wonder the prosecution’s case doesn’t stand a chance, and no wonder Michael Jackson is acquitted on all counts in 2005. And rightly so – justice is served.

Michael Jackson’s defense team catches the Arvizos lying, contradicting themselves and each other and changing their stories in significant ways.

Moreover, the Arvizos are not only caught lying in their case against Michael Jackson, they are also caught lying in other cases. They have a history of creating extortion plots.

Again, people should make up their own minds about this, but “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck”, then it probably is a scam – once more.  

2013-2019 – THE WADE ROBSON AND JAMES SAFECHUCK CASES 

Readers should take a look at the following link to understand how both of these cases fall apart and why they were already twice rejected by a court of law:

FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”

Both Wade Robson and James Safechuck continue to seek huge monetary compensations, although a company like HBO recognizes them as victims – well are they?

All the facts that have come to light since the HBO-production Leaving Neverland aired, indicate that these cases too are scams.

CONVERSION?

The apostle Paul came to the conclusion that he had been in fact a persecutor while he was under the impression that he was defending (potential) victims. Some people have a similar audacity and spiritual humility regarding the Michael Jackson case and admit that they were wrong in persecuting Michael Jackson. This is what “conversion” looks like, also from a Christian point of view – becoming aware of your own complicity in violence, and turning away from that violence towards love:

Damien Craig Carter on Michael Jackson

I guess we all need redemption from a world that is dominated by greed and lust for power.

Conversion_on_the_Way_to_Damascus-Caravaggio_(c.1600-1)

Let’s get back to life. Back to reality.

FINAL NOTE ON MICHAEL JACKSON AS A “POWERFUL PERSON”

It is weird how some people keep describing Michael Jackson as a “powerful man”. He is dead. He cannot defend himself against the accusations that are now leveled against him by people who are backed by powerful institutions like HBO and Oprah Winfrey. Many assumptions about Michael Jackson’s so-called “power” simply aren’t true.

Michael Jackson’s properties got raided several times by police forces, his computers were meticulously investigated by the FBI, he barely had any privacy, his genitals were photographed by the police, tabloids continuously sought to publish scandalous stories about him (paying huge amounts of money for whoever wanted to tell a story), and he constantly had people around who wanted to take advantage of him (as is also testified by the Schleiters in their Open Letter). In 1993, during the first of two cases leveled against him during his lifetime, Michael Jackson and his legal team relentlessly tried to get the criminal trial ahead of the civil trial by filing motions, all of which were rejected by Judge David Rothman. California law at the time allowed the civil trial to go ahead of the criminal trial. Michael Jackson and his legal team lost four (yes, four) motions in their attempt to postpone the civil suit until the criminal proceedings were completed. In other words, Michael Jackson was eager to go to trial to clear his name, but he didn’t stand a chance. That’s how “powerful” he was.

Even when Michael Jackson was acquitted on all counts in 2005 for a case that was actually too ridiculous to go to trial at all (see above why), he had to face the fact that many people still believed in his guilt. And (tabloid) media kept feeding that perception. Michael Jackson could never defend himself against the bulk of venomous tabloid vomit. Again, that’s how “powerful” he was. Some people keep thinking Michael Jackson was acquitted in the Arvizo case because of his power and money, without looking at the case itself and its ridiculousness. Leaving Neverland of course confirms that assumption (at first sight that is). And anyone who dares to consider even the possibility that Michael Jackson is innocent of the charges levelled against him, is arrogantly labeled “a crazy, irrational fan”. And yet people who are not a fan of Michael Jackson have spoken out against Leaving Neverland and have discredited the allegations by Robson and Safechuck.

If the #MeToo movement wants us to accept that emotionally manipulative and deceitful cinematic productions by powerful media, launched to the world for big money, are more important to determine a person’s guilt than the facts that are revealed through arduous investigative proceedings – selling the former as “rational” and the latter as “irrational” -, then the #MeToo movement will eventually be more about defending grifters than about defending real victims of (child) sexual abuse.

That is not a world that I want to be a part of.

MADONNA’S TESTIMONY

 

P.S. OTHER CASES KILLING THE #MeToo MOVEMENT

In a reaction on Facebook to this post, Leigh Fetter commented:

“Look at the recent acquittals of Oscar winning actor Geoffrey Rush, actor John Jarrett, the imminent quashing of the guilt verdict against Cardinal Pell et al. not to speak of Ms Amanda Knox and Raffaello Sollecito based on extraordinarily flimsy evidence in a time of moral panic. Accusations contagiously invoke the archaic bloodlust latent in crowds, by a drumming up crimes against the most innocent ‘victims’ such as girls and children. This enables a veneer of righteous indignation and sanctimonious fury, much like the blood-libel accusations of the Middle Ages, to shield the accuser from his own participation in the diabolical genesis of a sacrificial crisis and its desired catharsis, in the condemnation and putting away of the one called ‘diabolical; a predator’. As Girard has taught us, the existence of one voice of doubt destroys the blindness – and therefore the satisfaction and effectiveness – of the sacrifice. The number and intensity of these recent accusations speaks to a profound spiritual crisis at the heart of our ‘post-Christian’ societies and, I dare say, there will be many more victims who will be condemned as ‘rapists’, ‘homophobes’, ‘paedophiles’ etc like the terms ‘Christ killers’ and ‘kidnappers of Christian children’ that gave cover for the the fundamentally arbitrary persecutions in the Middle Ages.”

Also read Love the Enemy’s Side of the Story (Covington Kids vs Nathan Phillips).

Challenging Stories of Revelation

On Seven Stories – How to Study and Teach the Nonviolent Bible

SEVEN STORIES – GENERAL OUTLINE

In 2017, Anthony W. Bartlett publishes a remarkable book, Seven Stories – How to Study and Teach the Nonviolent Bible (Hopetime Press, Great Britain, 2017). It is the result of a lifelong personal engagement with Biblical texts and their existential, spiritual and cultural implications. The book’s title already suggests its multi-layered character.

Seven Stories (Anthony Bartlett)

First of all, the book presents itself as an instrument for individual and communal spiritual reflection. After an introductory chapter on methodology with key concepts and hermeneutical starting points, the reader is invited to reflect on key Biblical texts by following the development of seven stories throughout the Bible. Each chapter starts off with an overview containing a lesson plan, the main learning objectives, the synopsis of the story as a whole and some key words and concepts. This is followed by three lessons on the actual story, each of them containing the necessary information to understand the Biblical texts that are mentioned. Every lesson also ends with an invitation to further explorations (i.e. lesson questions, questions for personal reflection, a glossary, a list of resources and background reading, and some cultural references).

Secondly, content-wise the book lays bare the often hidden challenge represented by the Biblical texts themselves, which is to understand their two-fold revelation. On the one hand, the Biblical texts reveal how human identity is tarnished and generated by violence, resulting in a wrongful understanding of God as violent. On the other hand, the Bible also reveals that God is actually nonviolent: God is a God of love.

The seven stories thus contain, thirdly, an invitation for a transformational journey: from an awareness about our complicity in the world of violence to our participation in a reality that is not dependent on violence – the reality of the God of Jesus. That’s what the “conversion” experience is all about in a Biblical sense. In his introduction Anthony Bartlett explains the aim of the book as follows (p. 9):

“Today we are on the cusp of an enormous shift, from colluding with inherited tropes of violent divinity, to surrendering completely to the dramatic truth revealed through the whole Bible: nothing less than a nonviolent God bringing to birth a nonviolent humanity. We offer this coursebook as a heartfelt contribution to this worldwide movement.”

Bartlett follows three main interpretive principles that allow him and his readers to understand the Bible the way he does:

  • an academic and scholarly background of historical-critical research
  • the anthropology of French-American thinker René Girard (1923-2015) – explained very well in the first chapter
  • a faith relationship with a God of nonviolence – in the author’s case as part of the Wood Hath Hope Christian Community, among others

These principles counter the temptations of Marcionism on the one hand and of fundamentalism on the other. The God of the Old Testament is consistent with the God of the Sermon on the Mount, but this becomes clear through a collection of Biblical texts that contains both the default human understanding of God as violent and the revelation of God as nonviolent. Again from the introduction (p. 9) – emphasis mine:

“If the Bible is anthropological revelation – showing us the violence of human cultural origins – then the Bible must carry within itself a critique of its own theological forms. If on the one hand the Bible tells about human violence and on the other about God, texts about the latter will always be written and read in tension with texts about the former. It is only over the course of development of the whole Bible that resolution will be possible, but the tension must be always kept in mind. […] The whole labor of the text, from Genesis to Revelation, is a journey of decoding the Bible by the Bible.”

To understand the Biblical texts as texts “in travail”, on the way to a more complete revelation of the human and the divine, allows for a non-fundamentalist approach of the Bible’s authority. Anthony Bartlett explains this very well – once again from the introduction (pp. 12-13), emphasis mine:

“In order to get to that final twist we first must have a continuity of narrative which can bring us to that point. In order for the new to arrive there must first be the familiar and the known. Thus Seven Stories includes cycles on the Land of Israel and the Jerusalem Temple. These institutions and their symbolic value provided the necessary historical and narrative arc within which the plot of the new could emerge. In the Seven Stories understanding, the Land of Israel and the Jerusalem Temple are the stable rock of ordinary human culture in and through which the stresses of the new show themselves, and finally break through into new creation.

The upshot of all this is a very clear understanding of the authority of the text. To claim authority for scripture does not depend on an abstract notion of inerrancy, so that somehow every single statement in its literal and grammatical form has the weight of a courtroom statement by or about God. To assert this is to create nothing more than a weapon of authority where the authority is more important than the story, than the transformation wrought by the stories. No, the authority of scripture is much more consistent with a God of creative love, and of loving creation. Its authority lies within the transformative process itself, within its slow, gentle but unfailing agency to bring creation to perfection in peace and love. Is this not a much more credible notion of authority, represented in the slow patient progression of Biblical texts and their final realization in the person of Jesus? Rather than a rock falling from the sky the Bible is a seed sprouting from the earth. Whatever is consistent with this generative process has authority. Everything else is the rock of human culture against which the seed is slowly but irresistibly straining.

[…]

The Bible is always in discussion with itself and the informed student will see and feel this at every point. Genesis is in discussion with Exodus-through-Kings, Job with Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes with Proverbs, Jonah with Nahum, Ruth with Nehemiah, Song of Songs with Genesis, and Daniel with almost all of the above. For a Christian the point where the discussion is resolved is with Jesus. And so the persona and teaching of Jesus always constitute the third lesson in each cycle, folding into his story the transformative changes detected in his scriptural tradition. He is also mentioned freely in the course of the Old Testament lessons, because he is indeed the final interpretive lens, the final twist that makes sense of everything.”

SEVEN STORIES – CONCRETE EXAMPLE

A concrete example from the book shows how rich and enriching the above described approach truly is. The first of the seven stories bears the title Oppression to Justice and deals with the Hebrews as Hapiru – a class of dispossessed people from different ethnic backgrounds –, their Exodus experience and the interpretation of that experience by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. The end of the second lesson, on the Exodus experience, combines all the different layers present in Bartlett’s book. It is but one of many superb examples of how historical-critical research, combined with Girard’s anthropology and an overall interdisciplinary approach open up well-known Biblical texts as if for the first time, allowing for personal and communal spiritual growth in unexpected ways (pp. 59-60) – emphasis mine:

“The Law’s justice includes reciprocal violence. For example, Ex. 21.29-30 (if an ox kills someone then the ox and owner must be killed). This acts as a deterrent to breaking the law – a fear of retributive violence. It also attempts to be commensurate, not excessive. Nevertheless, it remains the effect of generative violence.

This reciprocity is at work in the death of the first born, the ultimate violent act of God to free the Hebrews. How can we reconcile the story with a nonviolent God? The answer lies in how the Exodus Hebrews produced an interpretation of real events. The Bible reveals as much about us as it does about God. If we explain the narrative of the ten plagues as a cultural lens by which those who told the story saw God then it becomes simply a layer of text which points beyond itself. The ten plagues can be explained from a factual point of view: natural events which are then constructed as divine violence.

For example, the Ten Plagues theory of Dr John Marr (epidemiologist) and Curtis Malloy (medical researcher) understands the plagues as a series of closely linked natural events.

At http://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/04/garden/biblical-plagues-a-novel-theory.html .

The basic point is there is a plausible natural explanation for disasters which then, in the tradition, are read as a direct effect of divine action. But it is the root change in human perspective that counts and which is the work of revelation – God is on the side of the oppressed and is creating a new people based in this relationship.

From a Girardian-anthropological point of view, the Egyptians could also see the plagues as caused by a cursed people who actually had to be expelled (cf. Ex. 11.1). Egyptian historians from the 3rd century BCE in fact report this viewpoint – the Exodus Hebrews were diseased and expelled. (See The Bible, Violence and the Sacred, by James G. Williams.)

The Hebrews fleeing Egypt perceive that God is on their side in terms of generative violence, while the Egyptians see the same events based on the same generative violence, but in terms of a cursed group. Both parties interpret the events according to the default human frame of meaning. Nevertheless, in the overall Biblical narrative something amazing is happening: a God of human transformation is being revealed. From the anthropological perspective the Exodus picture of divine violence is an interpretation of natural events, but the underlying truth is God’s intervention on behalf of a group of oppressed people, laying the foundation of a transformative divine and human journey. This is the true work of the Biblical God, changing our human perspective progressively and continually, including our perception of God as violent. In the following cycle we will see how the book of Genesis prefaces the book of Exodus with a profound critique of human violence. So, a deeper change of meaning (semiotic shift) is already set up in the Bible text before we even get to read Exodus! In our next lesson we will see how Jesus reinterprets the Law, reading its radical intent, and teaches us the full revelation of a God of nonviolence.”

Readers who are by now eager to know what more liberating spiritual treasures await them can purchase Seven Stories on Amazon. I cannot recommend it enough.

SEVEN STORIES – THE BROADER MOVEMENT

Anthony Bartlett is but one of those scholars whose theological reflections are deeply inspired by the work of the late René Girard. Not only is Girard’s work very interesting for people who embrace a vastly interdisciplinary approach to social sciences and cultural studies, but it also enables an understanding of theology and Biblical studies as anthropological resources – as resources that give a clear picture of what it means to be human (pointing out humanity’s limitations, pitfalls and possibilities).

Apart from Anthony Bartlett, I would like to take the opportunity to mention a few others (out of many scholars) who adopt a similar approach to theology and Biblical studies, and who are part of a broader movement of contemporary theology that is inspired by the work of René Girard: the late Jesuit Raymund Schwager (1935-2004), Paul Nuechterlein (editor of the highly informative and inspiring Girardian Lectionary), the people from The Raven Foundation and, last but not least, James Alison.

A couple of years ago, in 2013, James Alison in cooperation with The Raven Foundation and Imitatio produced Jesus the Forgiving Victim series (a series of videos, books and a website). In the second book of the series, God, not one of the gods (Doers Publishing, Glenview, 2013), Alison highlights a transformative reading of Joshua 7, in the same vein as Bartlett reads Biblical texts.

Joshua 7 is basically the story of the people of Israel behaving as a lynch mob, blaming a certain Achan for loosing a battle against the Amorites. The story of the stoning of Achan is told from the perspective of people who believe that God demands such a stoning. James Alison shows what a transformative reading of this story looks like by using the Emmaus story in Luke as a reference – thus, in the words of Anthony Bartlett, “the Bible decodes the Bible” (pp. 109-117); emphasis mine:

In the Joshua passage the voice of the victimized one [can] not be heard. But in the Emmaus story we [find] ourselves in the presence of one who is telling the account of a lynching from the perspective of the person who was lynched. This was a voice that had not been heard before, as indeed it is not heard in the Achan story. It is as though at last, Achan’s version of events is beginning to pour out through the cracks between the stones which had covered him over. What I want to suggest is that when it says of Jesus on the road to Emmaus ‘… He opened up to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself’ what we are getting is the crucified victim telling the story from Achan’s point of view. The story of how a gang of people needed to find an enemy within and set it up so that one was found, and this was what happened to him. The dead man talking would be Achan giving Achan’s account of his lynching. And indeed you can imagine many other similar stories where someone who is hated without cause can begin to tell their version of events.

What I wanted to bring out is that the two stories, the Achan story and the Emmaus story, are structurally identical stories, but told from opposite perspectives. There is the top-down version, the version told by the successful organizers of group togetherness, the persecutors’ account, and then there is the bottom-up version of the same story, told by the victim from under the stones, on the cross, or in the pit. All the elements of both accounts are the same: rivalry leading to a collapse of morale and structure, leaders trying to find a way to recreate morale, managing to do so by setting up a way of getting everyone together against someone else, and when this finally works, and the ‘someone else’ is got rid of, unanimity, peace, is restored, order is born again, and everyone is telling the same story.

The only trouble is that the moment that the victim’s story can be heard, it reveals that the other story is untrue. It is a lie. Its perpetrators need to believe it for it to work. They need to believe that they’ve really got the bad guy, and indeed in their account the bad guy even agrees with them. These are two entirely different perspectives on exactly the same story. The perspective of the survivors and those who have benefitted from the lynching, which is a lie, and the perspective which is never normally heard, and starts to emerge into our world thanks to the crucified and risen Lord, the perspective which tells the truth and which reveals the official perspective to be a lie. The survivors needed to believe the lie because they thought it would bring them together. But in fact it won’t. In fact they’ll soon be at each other’s throats about something else, and will need to go through this all over again and get someone else in the neck.

I hope you now see why I [refer] to the Emmaus story as not just a story but a paradigm, or model, of interpretation. The structure of how the New Testament operates is that it brings alive the same old story, but told from underneath, and it is this that is the fulfilment of Scripture.

[…]

I want to suggest to you why the Hebrew Scriptures, even a passage like [Joshua 7], are an enormous advance on the world of mythology. I’m going to do so by describing what I call two equal and opposite mistakes regarding the reading of Scripture. One I’m going to label the Marcionite error, in honour of an early Christian interpreter of the Scriptures called Marcion. In a nutshell, Marcion, faced with texts like the one we’ve just seen from the Hebrew Scriptures, said something to the effect of “These are awful stories – it cannot be the same god as the God of Jesus that is at work in them. It’s got to be another god altogether. ” So he proposed ditching the Hebrew Scriptures, as something to do with another god, and in fact he found himself pruning much of the New Testament as well, and ended up making a sort of compendium of the Gospels based on Luke, which he found to be nicer than the rest, making other things fit into it. Church authority, on the other hand, said ‘No! The Scriptures are one, and we receive both Testaments as making sense of each other.’ So Marcion’s view was rejected. Nevertheless, typically, in the modern world, it is Catholics who are tempted to his mistake.

The reverse of this, which is the mistake to which Protestants are more tempted in the modern world, is a fundamentalistic reading of Scripture. The fundamentalist position would be to say that, far from it being the case that there are two different gods in the different Testaments, there is in fact one God, and this God is the same at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. So where the Old Testament says ‘God’ or ‘the Lord’ it means exactly the same as the God of Jesus Christ. Well, if you think like this, then when you are faced with a text like our Joshua text, you are going to have to come up with a complicated account of how God did in fact organize the sacrifice of Achan, but only so as to show in advance by what means he planned to undo the whole sacrificial system later, through the sacrifice of his Son. You can imagine the sort of rigorous mental gymnastics by which people seek to justify the word ‘God’ in the Joshua text, where it manifestly refers to the organizer of a lottery. How do you disentangle the sort of God who does that from doing nasty things to his Son in the crucifixion? You can see why a certain reading of Jesus’ death as being demanded by his Father, with the Father punishing the Son for the sins of others, is so popular. It fits in exactly with the need to say ‘It’s the same God.’

What is difficult for both parties to understand is quite how the New Testament works as interpretative key opening up the Hebrew Scriptures. What the New Testament does is allow us to see how, slowly and inexorably, the one true God, who was always making Godself known in and through the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures, was always coming into the world. And in the degree to which God comes into the world, in the degree to which the revelation of Godself as simultaneously God and Victim comes into clearer and clearer focus, so what is being done by us in the human world of victimizing gets clearer and clearer, harder not to see as obvious, before our eyes. It is the growing clarity from the self-revealing victim coming into the world that leads to the stories surrounding victimary happenings getting nastier and nastier, since they are ever less successful in ‘covering up’ and ‘making things nice’.

The Joshua text we’ve looked at is a particularly good example of this just because it seems so nasty. It would be easy for us to say ‘But this text is the exact opposite of the New Testament. Marcion could scarcely have asked for a better example of what he’s talking about.’ And that, as I see it, is the mistake. If the Emmaus living interpretative principle I have suggested to you is true, than what you would expect is that as it gets closer and closer to becoming clear that it is the victim who is telling the true story, what you can also expect is that it will become clearer and clearer in the texts what is really going on in the movement towards the lynching. Therefore the texts will look nastier.

You can imagine earlier texts, and we have plenty of such texts in mythic literature, in which it is gods who organize things, gather people together, and produce expulsions or sacrifices, and the people take no responsibility at all. Whereas in the text we listened to, from Joshua, the word ‘God’ is very easily switched on or off, but what remains absolutely clear whether it’s on or off is the anthropological dimension of what’s going on. Everything is set out in anthropological terms, without responsibility being displaced onto the gods. You can tell exactly what’s going on here. The text is teetering on the brink of giving itself away. So when we read it, our Gospel-inspired skepticism takes us over the brink. Our skepticism which is provided for us by the gift of faith. If you believe that Jesus, the crucified victim, is God, you stop believing in the gods, you stop believing in weird forces revealing who is ‘really’ to blame, and you get closer and closer to seeing things as they really, humanly, are.

What I’m bringing out here is an understanding of progressive revelation. How it is that as the truth emerges more and more richly in our midst we cannot expect the textual effects of that emergence to get nicer and nicer. You would expect them to get nastier and nastier, but clearer and clearer. And finally you see exactly the same story being told from exactly the inverse perspective, so that there are no longer even the remains of any mythical bits at work. It requires no great imagination to think either ‘The Old Testament is bad and the New Testament is good’ or ‘All word values are the same in both Testaments.’ It requires rather more subtlety to imagine a process in which, as the self-manifestation of the innocent victim becomes clearer and clearer, so the understanding of how humans typically are inclined to behave becomes darker and darker, but more and more realistic.

Compare this with, say, the story of Oedipus, which is essentially the same story as the one we saw in Joshua. There is a plague and social problems in Thebes, and a conveniently slightly deformed outsider, who has provoked jealousy by marrying a prominent heiress, is forced to agree that he was really responsible for certain things that he almost certainly didn’t do, and even if he had done them, they wouldn’t have caused a plague. He is accused of killing his father and sleeping with his mother, while not knowing that this was what he was doing. He succumbs to confessing to this. And then he is expelled, sent off to exile so that the city can return to peace. Now this story is much nicer than the Hebrew story. The townsfolk were not responsible for a violent expulsion, they were victims of a horrible plague, and were confirmed in their horrible suspicions regarding their interloper, and the guilty one got his just reward. The Greek version remains mired in self-delusion. However, the Hebrew version of the same dynamic is radically more truthful, because it is on the point of giving away what was really going on.

Even the editor of the text in the Book of Joshua clearly has doubts about this story – the little hints of skepticism about what’s going on are one of the wonders of the Hebrew Scriptures. The editor starts by saying ‘But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things.’ So, it starts with a plural and then moves to a singular: ‘For Achan, son of Cami…’ and so on. And then you have the oddity of God’s behaviour. Although he might be expected to know everything, he appears to need a lottery to help find out ‘who did it’. And in fact, God tells Joshua that it is the people of Israel, in the plural, who have disobeyed him, before giving the instructions for the lottery that will find a singular victim. As you can imagine, an ancient rabbinical storyteller telling this story in a liturgical context, using this text as his Expositor’s Notes – which is very probably how such texts were handled in the ancient world – would have a good deal of fun wondering aloud about these things with his audience.”

There is much more to discover from authors like Anthony Bartlett and James Alison. I hope readers already enjoyed the above mentioned challenging and inspirational ideas.

Happy discovery!

P.S. The RavenCast did a series on Seven Stories that can be watched on YouTube. Here is one of the episodes – Adam Ericksen and Lindsey Paris-Lopez are joined by Linda and Tony Bartlett:

FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”

READ Leaving Neverland Exposed: The Devil is in the Details by Damien Shields by clicking here (pdf) or here (link). It is one of the best articles on that HBO production.

READ THE MICHAEL JACKSON’S ESTATE’S RESPONSE TO THE HBO DOCUMENTARY HERE (PDF) – THE 10 PAGES WON’T TAKE FOUR HOURS!

This is a shortcut for people who don’t have the time to read everything below:

INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY? MEDIA VS THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

After seeing Leaving Neverland, I thought Michael Jackson lucked out during his lifetime for not having been convicted of child sexual abuse. I wanted to know how he lucked out, so I started reading. Gradually, I came across one surprise after another, and now I find it very hard to believe the allegations. The following article is a result of those surprises.

Two cases of child sexual abuse were brought against Michael Jackson during his lifetime (the 1993 Chandler case and the 2005 Arvizo case). These cases turned out to be not credible, to say the least. When asked about those who doubted the “not guilty” verdicts of the 2005 criminal trial, the jury replied, “They didn’t see what we saw.” Click here for a Huffington Post article by Charles Thomson on the 2005 trial and media coverage.

Suddenly, in the years after Michael Jackson’s death, two other cases of child sexual abuse are brought against the late Michael Jackson. Already these cases contain blatant and proven lies. The question is whether these cases are credible enough on other counts. They better be, because it is one thing to bring charges of child molestation against a living person that, among other things, contain proven false plots to secure monetary compensations; it is another thing to bring those horrible charges against someone who can no longer defend himself.

The fact that the case of Robson/Safechuck is partly built on the previous two cases (including some of its “witnesses”) is but one element that raises credibility issues.

Wade Robson's lawsuit quote about being relatable and relevant

According to the voices of the mass media CROWD, Michael Jackson was a sexual predator who ran a sophisticated cover-up organization for pedophile activities, as he was protected by his fortune and fame. According to the voice of REASON, emerging from years of judicial investigations, Michael Jackson wasn’t a pedophile at all, and the “conspiracy theory” about his so-called “pederasty organization” is a myth.

The testimony of the late “Dave Dave” (1976-2018) who befriended Michael Jackson as a child, and never needed his money (although Larry King first thought he did), is true testimony to how and why Michael Jackson got in touch with deprived or sick children:

Michael Jackson’s fortune and fame didn’t protect him at all. On the contrary, they attracted vultures who continuously sought to take advantage of him. When he caught them stealing and he fired them, or when they no longer could take advantage of him, they sold false stories to the tabloids for big money. He was haunted like a wounded animal. Michael Jackson ended up being in huge debt near the end of his life after going through a gruesome trial in 2005, and he had to make one final series of concerts to counter his financial troubles. The series was called This Is It. Weakened by years of prescription drug abuse, his body finally collapsed on June 25, 2009. He died at the age of 50. Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley’s daughter and ex-wife of Michael Jackson, pointed out that Jackson’s life ended much in the same vein as her father’s life. 

Michael Jacobshagen is one of the vultures. He was exposed on German national television as the con man he is:

Award-winning investigative journalist Charles Thomson and Ryan Michaels tell the sad tragedy of Michael Jackson’s life. They paint “the bigger picture of Michael Jackson” that emerges from police and FBI investigations, as well as from the criminal justice system. It debunks the so-called “bigger picture” that emerges from the (tabloid) media. None of the salacious “stories of pederasty” surrounding Jackson survive the criminal justice system.

The testimony of three people who knew Michael Jackson very intimately, is also very revealing. Costume designers Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush, and makeup artist Karen Faye talk about the allegations and the criminal trial against Michael Jackson, as well as about his final days. It is a heartbreaking story at times:

Overview of the article below:

I. THE VÍCTOR GUTIÉRREZ NARRATIVE AND ITS INFLUENCE

II. MOTIVES OF EVAN CHANDLER’S CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUIT AGAINST MICHAEL JACKSON (THE EXTORTION TAPE)

III. SOME NOTES ON THE ORIGINS OF THE ARVIZO TRIAL AND THE ARVIZO FAMILY

IV. EXCERPTS FROM AN ARTICLE BY RAVEN WOODS (JULY 8, 2016)

V. ON THE CASES OF WADE ROBSON AND JAMES SAFECHUCK

VI. SHORT GENERAL CONCLUSION

[DOWNLOAD PDF DOCUMENT BY CLICKING HERE]

Leaving Neverland is a 2019 film directed and produced by the British filmmaker Dan Reed. It contains the story of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accuse the late pop star Michael Jackson (1958-2009) of sexually molesting them as children. The film also portrays the reaction of family members. All in all, the film takes four hours to watch. It is a co-production between the UK broadcaster Channel 4 and the US broadcaster HBO.

At first sight the film is very convincing and seems to leave no doubt about Michael Jackson being a child molester. However, if one takes four hours to watch the gruesome yet one-sided stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, it seems only fair to consider the following facts regarding Michael Jackson and the history of child abuse allegations against him. Some might reconsider their assessment of Leaving Neverland in light of these facts, others might not. In any case, the following article wants to sustain maybe more balanced and well-informed opinions about the film. It also wants to encourage further reading and research.

In light of the following facts, there are some important questions to ponder upon regarding the history of child sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson:

  • Who is the manipulator in these cases? Is it someone like Víctor Gutiérrez, Evan Chandler (father of Jordan Chandler) and Janet Arvizo (mother of Gavin Arvizo)? And can this be known for a fact? Or is it Michael Jackson?
  • Is there a pattern on the side of the accused (Michael Jackson) or on the side of the accusers (people like Víctor Gutiérrez, Evan Chandler and Janet Arvizo)? And to what extent do the actions and testimonies of Wade Robson and James Safechuck fit either pattern?
  • Who is “grooming” who? Is Michael Jackson grooming little boys and their families, or are some reporters and media “grooming” public opinion into believing that Michael Jackson is a pedophile? Can it be known for a fact that many media reports regarding Michael Jackson and child sexual abuse are false? Can it be known for a fact that these reports very often rehash stories that are proven false and that they are mostly launched anew right before new allegations of child sexual abuse are brought against Michael Jackson?
  • At the end of the day, after considering all the specific cases against Michael Jackson, is there any unsuspected reason to doubt the officially established fact, after many years of extremely thorough police and FBI investigations containing interviews with loads of “relevant” children and other witnesses, that he is not guilty of child sexual abuse? A trial by media should not obliterate the “innocent until proven guilty” principle.

On a personal note, I would like to say that I was seriously doubting Michael Jackson after watching Leaving Neverland. However, after doing extensive research on all the cases of child sexual abuse brought against Jackson (the Chandler case, the Arvizo case and the post mortem cases of Robson and Safechuck), I am convinced that Michael Jackson is innocent of all the charges brought against him.

I. THE VÍCTOR GUTIÉRREZ NARRATIVE AND ITS INFLUENCE

Michael Jackson Was My Lover - The Secret Diary of Jordie ChandlerIn 1996, Víctor M. Gutiérrez finally gets his book published on Michael Jackson and Jordan (Jordie) Chandler, Michael Jackson Was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler (Alamo Square Distributors, 1996). In 1993, Jordan’s father Evan Chandler had accused Michael Jackson of child sexual abuse against his son.

Gutiérrez presents the relationship between the adult pop star and the young Jordie as a love tale. The author even puts words in Chandler’s mouth to tell his story. In reality, Chandler never said any of the quotes attributed to him, like the one on page 124 of the book:

“Why is it so difficult for the people to understand that I like Michael. If one is in love with a school girl or a friend, everyone is happy and says it’s so wonderful, but when I say I like Michael, people don’t want to listen. I am sixteen years old and I know what has happened. I think people are bothered by homosexual relationships but I’m not a homosexual. I just feel an attraction towards Michael and I had sex with him. My friends and professors have told me that it’s normal for a boy to be attracted to other children or adults. It happened to me. But if people don’t want to listen it is another thing.”

On page 208 Gutiérrez comments on sexual relations between adults and minors in the following way, using the main story of his book as an example:

“The cliché of pedophiles as old men who kidnap children in sacks is as erroneous as thinking that all homosexual men attack other male pedestrians on the street. Psychiatrists report that there are pedophile rapists and murderers, just as there are homosexuals and heterosexuals who commit these crimes. These same experts indicate that sexual relations between adults and minors are sometimes loving and do not have a negative effect on the youngster’s life. What better example than Jordie? He was more harshly affected by the legal procedures associated with his case than by his relationship with Jackson.”

The Author’s Notes of the book reveal some of the (alleged) sources of Gutiérrez:

Author's Notes Víctor Gutiérrez“Many people helped me make this book possible. To them I owe my respect and admiration for wanting to collaborate through conversations and interviews on a theme as delicate as this one. In some cases, these people even risked their lives and their professions so that the truth would be made public. Orietta Murdock, Blanca Francia, Adrian MacManus, Kassim Abdul, Melanie Bagnall, Ralph Chacon, Estela Rodriguez, detectives of the Sheriff’s Department of Santa Barbara, officials and detectives of the Child Abuse Unit of the LAPD, Jack Gonterman, the FBI, NAMBLA, Terry Cannon, Kris Kallman, Larry Feldman, Sandra Sutherland, Patricia Phillips, Bob Michaelson, Jonathan Spence, Wayne Safechuck, Joy Robson, Wade Robson, June Schwartz, Dave Schwartz, Timothy Whitehead, Hugo Alvarez Perez. To all of you, thank you for your trust and courage.”

These thank you notes mention the “Child Abuse Unit of the LAPD” almost right next to “NAMBLA,” which is the “North American Man/Boy Love Association.” In an April 2005 interview with German newspaper Die Tageszeitung (“Es war Liebe!”) Víctor Gutiérrez recounts the first time he heard about Michael Jackson being a pedophile. It was in 1986, when Gutiérrez attended a NAMBLA conference. As the name suggests, NAMBLA is a pedophilia and pederasty advocacy organization. It works to abolish age-of-consent laws criminalizing adult sexual involvement with minors and campaigns for the release of men who have been imprisoned for non-coercive sexual acts with minors. Gutiérrez claims that Jackson was hailed as a hero by the members of NAMBLA, as someone who could make man/boy relationships more acceptable.

It is not clear how Gutiérrez gained access to the NAMBLA conference. Former FBI agent Bob Hamer went undercover to infiltrate NAMBLA. Not until he had been a member for three years and not until he had found a sponsor (another active member) was Hamer allowed to attend a conference. So Gutiérrez himself was either a genuine member of NAMBLA or he also played the undercover card like Hamer. In any case, the thank you note to NAMBLA in his book at least shows some sympathy by Gutiérrez for the pedophilia and pederasty advocacy organization.

Gutiérrez claims that his book is based on Jordan Chandler’s diary about Chandler’s sexual affair with Jackson. It is now a well-established fact that no such diary ever existed. If it had, Evan Chandler would have used it in his 1993 civil case against Jackson. Moreover, in August 1997 Jordan Chandler submits an official declaration that completely denies Jackson’s acts of misconduct as described by Gutiérrez and his alleged sources. Jordan Chandler also distances himself from the quotes attributed to him and from alleged conversations in the book. This is his declaration:

Jordan Chandler Declaration“I know absolutely nothing about either the making of these quotations, or their content. I have never discussed the subject matter contained in any of these quotations with Mr. Gutiérrez or anyone else, and I have no information on these subject matters whatsoever. Further, I do not know, and have no recollection of ever speaking to, Kassim Abdool or Melanie Bagnall, the persons to whom some of these quotes are attributed. As for Ms. McManus, I may have met her, but I only remember exchanging pleasantries.

I understand that this lawsuit involves Mr. Gutiérrez’s statements concerning the existence of a videotape allegedly showing Michael Jackson and a child. I know nothing about whether Mr. Gutiérrez saw this tape, or whether the tape ever existed.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the forgoing is true and correct.

Executed this 19 day of August, 1997.

Signed Jordan Chandler.”

Among other things, Jordan Chandler refers to a story that is launched to the wider public on January 9, 1995. That day Diane Dimond, reporter for the American tabloid news television show Hard Copy, announces on KABC-AM radio’s popular morning show that the police has reopened its investigation against Jackson because of an alleged 27 minute video tape, captured by a security camera. Dimond describes the acts of molestation on the alleged tape, although she has not seen the material herself. She attributes the story to one of her “best sources.” Later that day, Víctor Gutiérrez appears on Hard Copy as that source:

The whole story turns out to be a total fabrication. The alleged tape does not exist. The only person who claims to have seen it is Gutiérrez. According to him, it shows how Michael molests his nephew, Jeremy Jackson. Apart from Jeremy himself, his mother Margaret Maldonado also vehemently denies Michael ever molested Jeremy. She recalls the whole story in her 1995 book Jackson Family Values: Memories of Madness (Newstar Press, 1995) and concludes:

“Dimond’s claims were based on the word of a freelance writer named Víctor Gutiérrez. The story was an outrageous lie. Not one part of it was true. I’d never met the man. There was no tape. Michael never paid me for my silence. He had never molested Jeremy. Period.”

Besides being unable to produce the alleged tape, Gutiérrez makes matters worse for himself with the publication of his book on Chandler and Jackson, which contains more claims that are proven false.

Michael Jackson eventually sues both Dimond and Gutiérrez. Dimond escapes the slander suit against her and Gutiérrez, but in April 1998 Gutiérrez is ordered to pay Jackson $2.7 million in damages. Unable to pay, Gutiérrez flees the US and files bankruptcy.

A telling revelation about Víctor Gutiérrez comes from Eric Mason, a private investigator. In an official declaration, Mason reports information he gained from Ken Wells, a journalist who met Gutiérrez and his lawyer during the time of Jackson’s case against Gutiérrez:

“Mr. Wells told me that on July 2, 1997, Mr. Gutiérrez and his attorney, Mr. Goldman came to Mr. Wells’s home unannounced to discuss production of the supposed photographs. During their discussions on July 2, 1997, Mr. Gutiérrez told Wells about all of Mr. Gutiérrez’s connections in the tabloid business, and that he had sold many stories, some of which had been ‘B.S.’ and simply made up. According to Mr. Wells, Gutiérrez said that money in the tabloid business was easy, even for false stories. Mr. Wells told me that he asked Mr. Gutiérrez about the videotape issue in this case. According to Mr. Wells, Mr. Gutiérrez said that ‘The judge told me to produce the tape and I couldn’t produce it.’ Wells asked Gutiérrez whether he ever had or saw the tape and, according to Wells, Gutiérrez smiled and said ‘Well, you know how that is. You know how these things are.’ Wells told me that he believed Gutiérrez was telling him, without saying so explicitly, that he had lied about the existence of the tape.”

The above quote comes from the Declaration of Eric Mason (Michael Jackson vs. Diane Dimond, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court No. BC119778, October 16, 1997).

Michael Jackson is not the only victim of the lies and stories fabricated by Gutiérrez. In late 2003, Gutiérrez publishes an article in his home country Chile with a detailed description of what allegedly went on in the house of businessman Claudio Spiniak. A few days before the publication of the article, Spiniak was arrested for operating a pedophile ring. Gutiérrez claims that a senator of the Alliance for Chile (a coalition of right-wing political parties) participated in the pedophile orgies described by Gutiérrez. After that, Gutiérrez conducts an interview for a television program in which a street child claims to have seen a well-known right-wing politician at Spiniak’s orgies (La prensa y el caso Spiniak – El Periodista, August 27, 2004). The boy eventually retracts his claim and it is revealed that Gutiérrez paid him 10,000 to 20,000 Chilean pesos (Víctor Gutiérrez reconoce que pasó su billetito a menor del caso Spiniak – La Cuarta, February 12, 2004). The payment is acknowledged by Gutiérrez’s lawyer in February 2004, but he presents it as merely a “humanitarian gesture” and not as a sum given in exchange for false accusations (Abogado confirma que Víctor Gutiérrez entregó dinero a L.Z. – Emol.com, February 11, 2004). Authorities don’t find any link between the pedophile ring and the right-wing coalition, but the accusations and rumors launched by Gutiérrez are enough to tarnish the public image of the coalition and some of its members.

In 2008 Gutiérrez is sentenced to 61 days in jail and is ordered to pay 30 million Chilean pesos (about $60,000) to Cecilia Bolocco. Bolocco is a former Miss Universe and the ex-wife of Carlos Menem (president of Argentina from 1989 to 1999). She sued Gutiérrez for slanderous claims he made about her private life. The payment resulting from the lawsuit is the highest amount of compensation ever awarded in this type of case in Chile (Millonaria sentencia a favor de Cecilia Bolocco remece a la farándula local – El Mercurio, October 30, 2008).

Two years before his conviction in 2008, Víctor Gutiérrez brags about striking up friendships with some of Michael Jackson’s employees in an article by Robert Sandall for British GQ Magazine (September 2006 – the article’s headline is the title of Gutiérrez’s book, Michael Jackson Was My Lover). Gutiérrez claims he started contacting people from Jackson’s staff after visiting the NAMBLA conference in 1986. The 2006 GQ article puts it this way:

“For the next five years [after the 1986 NAMBLA conference] Gutiérrez tracked down as many of Jackson’s current and former associates as he could. Being Latino himself helped – it was relatively easy for him to strike up friendships with Jackson’s El Salvadorean maid, Blanca Francia, who left Jackson’s employment in 1991, and the star’s Costa Rican PA (personal assistant), Orietta Murdock, who sued him for unfair dismissal in 1992.”

Orietta Murdock’s first name is also mentioned twice on a drawing Jordan Chandler allegedly made of Michael Jackson’s private parts in October 1993. The Chandlers cannot know Orietta from being around Michael, since she no longer works for the pop star when the Chandler family gets to know him. It is possible that Evan Chandler, Jordan’s father, knows Víctor Gutierrez at the time and some of his contacts, among whom Orietta Murdock. In any case, a secretly taped phone conversation between Evan Chandler and David Schwartz (Jordan’s stepfather) on July 8, 1993 has Evan Chandler claim that it are other people who convinced him of a harmful friendship between his son Jordan and Jackson. One of those other people may very well be Víctor Gutiérrez.

In his book, Gutiérrez presents legal correspondence, private photographs of Jordan, his room and the family home, as well as letters belonging to the Chandlers. Gutiérrez is friends with Norma Salinas at the time, the maid of the Chandlers. Apart from providing Gutiérrez with the photographs for his book on Jordan Chandler and Michael Jackson, Salinas may also be his first gateway to further contact with Evan Chandler. Moreover, a 2004 book by Evan’s brother Raymond (Ray) on his nephew’s case, All That Glitters: The Crime and the Cover-Up (Windsong Press Ltd, 2004), contains a pack of stories identical to the stories of Gutiérrez in Michael Jackson Was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler (Alamo Square Distributors, 1996). This all suggests at least some indirect contact between Gutiérrez and the Chandlers, although Ray Chandler calls Gutiérrez a “sleazebag” (Fox News, September 8, 2004) while promoting his own book and making his rounds in the media. Ray even states that he does not endorse Gutiérrez’s book. Apparently, whatever relationship there may have been, it had turned sour.

It is probably no coincidence that Ray Chandler gets his book published in 2004. From January 16, 2004 to June 13, 2005 a criminal trial involving child abuse is held in Santa Barbara County Superior Court against Michael Jackson, so there is a renewed interest in the one and only previous allegation of abuse from 1993. In 2004, Jackson is charged with molesting Gavin Arvizo, a 13-year-old boy. He pleads not guilty to all counts. The jury eventually delivers a verdict of not guilty on all charges, including four lesser misdemeanor counts.

At the time, besides Ray Chandler also Víctor Gutiérrez is very active in the media circus surrounding the Michael Jackson case. He assists in the making of slanderous television reports about Jackson. The already mentioned 2006 GQ article even claims that Gutiérrez was also engaged to work on Martin Bashir’s 2003 documentary Living with Michael Jackson, which triggered a new investigation (led by District Attorney Thomas W. Sneddon Jr.) on possible child abuse by Michael Jackson.

Not only certain journalists take Gutiérrez seriously. A Los Angeles Times article dated August 28, 1993 (Jackson Back on Stage; Inquiry Continues by Charles P. Wallace and Jim Newton) claims that Víctor Gutiérrez is among the first people interviewed by the police regarding the Chandler case against Jackson (the allegations by Evan Chandler are formally made on August 17, 1993):

“One of those interviewed was Víctor Gutiérrez, a Southern California free-lance journalist who has been working on a book about Jackson for several years. Gutiérrez spoke to LAPD officers for two hours Thursday and was interviewed again Friday. He would not disclose what transpired during those sessions, but he told The Times that he has interviewed for his book some of the same youngsters being sought for questioning by the LAPD.”

The already mentioned article on Gutiérrez’s work for German newspaper Die Tageszeitung (“Es war Liebe!,” April 5, 2005) also refers to “youngsters being sought for questioning,” this time regarding the Arvizo case against Jackson. The article reflects Gutiérrez’s sentiment that the testimonies of those young men, many of whom are the same as in the 1993 case, will be devastating for Jackson (translation by Erik Buys):

“Monday [March 28, 2005] last week was the turning point in the trial of Michael Jackson. Judge Rodney Melville decided that the prosecution was allowed to report to the jury about Jackson’s earlier friendships in the 1990s. So there will be names like Emmanuel Lewis, Jonathan Spence, Sean Lennon, Wade Robson, Albert von Thurn and Taxis, Jimmy Safechuck, Macaulay Culkin, Brett Barnes, Cory Feldman, Edward and Frank Cascio – and Jordie Chandler. They were all little boys, 10 to 13 years old. They were very pretty. They were close to Michael Jackson. And are dangerous to him now. Melville’s decision will significantly delay the process, perhaps until the fall. And with each passing day, Jackson’s chances for an acquittal will dwindle dramatically.”

As it turns out, like in 1993 the testimonies of the youngsters don’t cause any problems for Jackson in 2005. However, many of the adult witnesses who testify for the prosecution at Jackson’s 2005 trial are people who are tied to Víctor Gutiérrez one way or the other. Former security guard Ralph Chacon testifies that he and four other ex-employees of Jackson (the so-called “Neverland Five”) spoke to Gutiérrez before selling their stories to The Star magazine (see Ralph Chacon’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial – April 7, 2005). Kassim Abdool, another one of that group and also a former security guard, testifies that he met Gutiérrez once and that they had a two, three hours conversation (see Kassim Abdool’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial – April 25, 2005). A third person of the Neverland Five, former maid Adrian McManus testifies that Gutiérrez “was going to try to help us in our lawsuit” (see Adrian McManus’ testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial – April 8, 2005). Yet another prosecution witness who has ties to Gutiérrez is former maid Blanca Francia. Gutiérrez befriended her after his visit to the 1986 NAMBLA conference (see above, the 2006 British GQ article). Other people befriended by Gutiérrez, like Norma Salinas (the already mentioned maid of the Chandler family) and Jackson’s ex-employee Orietta Murdock do not testify. They make their rounds in the media, however, and sell salacious lies about Jackson in the tabloids. Perhaps not surprisingly, the defense at Michael Jackson’s trial exposes that the above mentioned testimonies, made under the obvious influence of Víctor Gutiérrez, are built on quicksand.

To conclude, the following disturbing facts regarding Víctor Gutiérrez should be considered: 

  • Víctor Gutiérrez is one of the major influences on the allegations against Michael Jackson regarding child sexual abuse, in both the Jordan Chandler case of 1993 and the Gavin Arvizo case of 2004-2005. He is one of the first people interviewed by the police in 1993, and many of his contacts are witnesses for the prosecution in 2004.
  • Víctor Gutiérrez has befriended ex-employees of Michael Jackson who clearly hold grudges against Jackson and whose testimonies against Jackson have been proven false. However, many of their stories still circulate in the (tabloid) media.
  • Víctor Gutiérrez befriends Norma Salinas when she is working as a maid for the Chandler family; in 1993 Evan Chandler accuses Michael Jackson of child sexual abuse against his son Jordan Chandler.
  • Being the author of Michael Jackson Was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler (Alamo Square Distributors, 1996), Víctor Gutiérrez is the creator of a graphically sexual work that is proven to be fiction, replete with pedophiliac fantasies about an alleged mutual sexual relationship between a man and a child.
  • In August 1997 Jordan Chandler officially and completely distances himself from everything in the book about him and Michael Jackson by Víctor Gutiérrez.
  • Víctor Gutiérrez’s book on Jordan Chandler and Michael Jackson also contains graphic sexual descriptions of alleged sexual acts between Jackson and other boys – boys, who have always stated during Jackson’s lifetime, in no uncertain terms, that the pop artist never molested or touched them in any sexually inappropriate way.
  • By thanking NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) in the Author’s Notes of his book on Jordie Chandler and Michael Jackson, Víctor Gutiérrez brings a pedophilia and pederasty advocacy organization to the attention of his readers. Moreover, by his own account Gutiérrez attributes the idea of his book to his visit of a NAMBLA conference in 1986. In other words, the NAMBLA conference is the trigger for creating his false allegations against Michael Jackson. It is important to stress that Michael Jackson himself in no way has any connections with NAMBLA.
  • In 2003-2004 Víctor Gutiérrez creates another graphic story of pedophile sexual activity in Chile, his home country. Part of his story consists of an interview with a street child who claims to have seen a well-known right-wing politician at a pedophile orgy. The boy eventually retracts his claim and it is revealed that Gutiérrez paid him 10,000 to 20,000 Chilean pesos. Although Gutiérrez’s lawyer acknowledges the payment, he does not admit that the sum is given in exchange of false allegations. Instead, the lawyer presents the act of Gutiérrez as merely a “humanitarian gesture.” In any case, concerning the matter of child abuse by high ranking politicians the allegations of Gutiérrez have been proven false.
  • In April 1998 Víctor Gutiérrez is court ordered to pay Michael Jackson $2.7 million in damages for lying about Jackson. Unable to pay, Gutiérrez flees the US and files bankruptcy.
  • In 2008 Víctor Gutiérrez is sentenced to 61 days in jail and is ordered to pay 30 million Chilean pesos (about $60,000) to Cecilia Bolocco. Bolocco is a former Miss Universe and the ex-wife of Carlos Menem (president of Argentina from 1989 to 1999). She sued Gutiérrez for slanderous claims he made about her private life. The payment resulting from the lawsuit is the highest amount of compensation ever awarded in this type of case in Chile.
  • In short, Víctor Gutiérrez has been convicted twice as a liar in a court of law, in two different countries.

After 2005 the haunting ghost of Víctor Gutiérrez and his false stories seems to fade away. After all, on June 13, 2005, Michael Jackson is irrefutably acquitted on all charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo. When Michael Jackson dies on June 25, 2009, the world remembers him as a great artist.

Ten years after Michael Jackson’s death, however, the ghosts from the pop artist’s past seem back to haunt him from beyond the grave. To put the new allegations of child sexual abuse in perspective, one not only has to consider the role of Víctor Gutiérrez on Michael Jackson’s image but also the role of Evan Chandler. Before looking into the most recent allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the next paragraph will consider some facts regarding the origin of Evan Chandler’s allegations against Michael Jackson.

II. MOTIVES OF EVAN CHANDLER’S CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUIT AGAINST MICHAEL JACKSON (THE EXTORTION TAPE)

On September 14, 1993, Evan Chandler is the first person to file a civil lawsuit against Michael Jackson for child molestation. The case concerns Evan’s son Jordan Chandler. Three more cases will follow: the trial concerning Gavin Arvizo in 2004-2005 and the new allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck after Michael Jackson’s death.

On July 8, 1993, Jordan Chandler’s stepfather David Schwartz secretly tapes a phone conversation between Jordan’s father Evan, a dentist to celebrities and an aspiring screenwriter, and himself. A day later, Schwartz hands the tape over to Anthony Pellicano, Michael Jackson’s private investigator. A few months later the tape is also submitted to a court in a civil lawsuit between Schwartz and Evan Chandler.

It is important to note that the taped conversation between David Schwartz and Evan Chandler takes place before Jordan Chandler finally alleges, in one of the conversations about the subject with his father, that Michael Jackson molested him.

The publicly available transcripts of the tape repeatedly reveal the main motives and goals of Evan Chandler’s eventual case against Michael Jackson. What follows is a small selection of the transcripts, structured according to Chandler’s repeatedly revealed motives.

EVAN CHANDLER EXPRESSES FRUSTRATION ABOUT EX-WIFE JUNE, SON JORDAN CHANDLER AND MICHAEL JACKSON NOT COMMUNICATING WITH HIM

CHANDLER: I don’t know where it’ll go, but I’m saying is that when people – when you – when people cut off communication totally, you only have two choices: to forget about them, or you get frustrated by their action. I can’t forget about them. I love them. That’s it. I don’t like them. I still love Jordie.

[…]

CHANDLER: There’s no reason why they would have to cut me out unless they – unless they need me to be away so they can do certain things which I don’t think are good to be doing.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: And I – and not only that, but I don’t even have anything to say about it, okay? [tape irregularity] I think what they’re doing and it isn’t bad, and so maybe I’m wrong

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – but I’m not even getting a chance to express that.

[…]

CHANDLER: I had a good communication with Michael.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: We were friends, you know. I liked him.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: I respected him and everything else for what he is, you know. There was no reason why he had to stop calling me. He could have called me.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: In fact, Dave, I – you ask Jordie. I sat in the room one day, and I talked to Michael and told him exactly what I want out of this whole relationship, what I want [tape irregularity], okay, so he wouldn’t have to figure me out.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: And one of the things I said is we always have to be able to talk to each other.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: That’s the rule, okay, because I know that as soon as you stop talking weird things start going on and people [tape irregularity] –

SCHWARTZ: Imaginations take over.

CHANDLER: Imagination will just kill you.

SCHWARTZ: Right.

[…]

CHANDLER: I mean, I don’t mean to be devious. I just can’t be –

SCHWARTZ: You can’t tell me.

CHANDLER: – specific about it, but I tell you that, again, it all comes down to one thing. They don’t want to talk to me.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: Jordie – yeah, he’s 13 years old. He’s only [tape irregularity], hoping that the problem will go away by itself, but June’s old enough to know better. June’s the one that’s frustrated me.

SCHWARTZ: Well, you know, this is the deal: I talked to Jordie about it today, about, you know, his not contacting you and not calling you on Father’s Day and not sending you anything. He’s confused June – and this is the truth and from him. June did everything to get him to send you a card, to call and everything. He’s just frustrated, you know, and I don’t know about what or – you know, it’s just like he’s scared or doesn’t know what to do or –  

[Jordan Chandler is afraid of his father; this will become clear later on in the conversation – Evan Chandler left an aggressive message on the answering machine some time before the present conversation. Moreover, in 2006 court documents filed in the state of New Jersey reveal that Evan Chandler is sued by his son Jordan after he nearly killed Jordan with a barbell and mace in August 2005. Jordan obtains a permanent restraining order against his father as a result.]

CHANDLER: (Inaudible).

SCHWARTZ: Pardon me?

CHANDLER: June didn’t do a thing to have him call me or send me a card by her own admission to me last time. She didn’t give a shit, is what she told me.

SCHWARTZ: Well, but I don’t believe that because, I mean –

CHANDLER: (Simultaneous, inaudible) told me.

SCHWARTZ: Because, I mean –

CHANDLER: I –

SCHWARTZ: With June and – I talked to them today.

CHANDLER: Well, then, she’s lying to you, Dave.

SCHWARTZ: Well, but would Jordie lie?

CHANDLER: Now they’re scared shit.

SCHWARTZ: No. Would Jordie – no, because they don’t know anything about it. I didn’t even tell them that I had talked to you this morning, okay?

EVAN CHANDLER DESCRIBES HIS EX-WIFE JUNE AS A BAD MOTHER AND THREATENS TO TAKE JORDIE AWAY FROM HER IN AN ACT OF REVENGE

[Evan Chandler claims that he has some people under his command who can bring massive damage to his ex-wife June and to Michael Jackson.]

CHANDLER: I know that after tomorrow — in fact, not even after tomorrow. It’s already happened. I don’t ever want anything to do with June anymore because June is not part of my family. In my mind, she’s died. I don’t ever want to talk to her again. [tape irregularity] sitting on the stand being totally humiliated or at the end of a shotgun. That’s the only way I want to see June now. She’s gotta [tape irregularity] do this to kid. Again, it’s not right. Can’t do it to me. Can’t do it to my kid. It’s not right.

[…]

CHANDLER: My instructions were to kill and destroy [tape irregularity], I’m telling you. I mean, and by killing and destroying, I’m going to torture them, Dave.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: Because that’s what June has done to me. She has tortured me

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – and she’s gonna know that you can’t [tape irregularity]. I’ll tell you one thing that Jordie has no idea about, and that’s what love means. He doesn’t even have the remotest idea. He can’t learn it from June. She doesn’t know what it means. She has no conception of what it means.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: So maybe, you know, I can get (inaudible) teach him that. I don’t know.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah [tape irregularity].

CHANDLER: Part of it [tape irregularity] other people and communicating, and those are three things that must be in place in order for a loving relationship to exist, because all of those things show that you care about that other person. Not one thing [tape irregularity].

CHANDLER: – look at her behavior, I’m just saying that June is a brilliant and pathologic personality.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: What you see on the surface ain’t even remotely related to what’s really going on underneath.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: And I believe that that will come out in lie detector [tape irregularity] psychological evaluations –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – which they’re all gonna have to do.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: So –

SCHWARTZ: And you think that’s good for Jordie?

CHANDLER: I think that in the long run would – of course it’s not the best thing for Jordie.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: The best thing for Jordie would be for everybody to sit there and peaceably resolve amongst themselves [tape irregularity], but because they’re not willing to do that, I’m not allowed to have a say in what the best [tape irregularity]. I’m not even allowed to [tape irregularity] Jordie is. I’m not allowed to have a say in anything about Jordie. So when you ask me that question [tape irregularity] I would welcome them to do that, but they don’t care. They don’t care about what I think, so they don’t ask me that question. Do I think — I mean, just to answer your question, I think that [tape irregularity] for Jordie either way in the short [tape irregularity], in the short term.

EVAN CHANDLER REVEALS PLANS TO BLACKMAIL AND “DESTROY” HIS EX-WIFE JUNE AND MICHAEL JACKSON WITH SO-CALLED “HARMFUL EVIDENCE” IF THEY KEEP ON REFUSING COMMUNICATION

[In the beginning and throughout the next segments of the conversation, Evan Chandler repeatedly talks about his lawyer, Barry K. Rothmann, and how his lawyer is “willing to meet with” his ex-wife June and Michael Jackson.]

CHANDLER: He [lawyer Barry K. Rothmann] is willing to meet with them. Right now he’d like to kill them all. I picked the nastiest mother-fucker I could find.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: The only reason that I’m meeting with them tomorrow is, the real fact of the matter is –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – because of Monique. [A pseudonym used for Evan’s then-wife in the transcript.]

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: Monique begged me to do it.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: She said, “You’re out of control” –

[…]

CHANDLER: – (simultaneous, inaudible) I’m only going there because of Monique, because, to tell you the truth, Dave, it would be a lot easier for me and a lot more satisfying –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – to see everybody get destroyed –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – like they’ve destroyed me, but it would be a lot easier. And Monique just kept telling me, “You don’t want to really do this,” and she finally [tape irregularity] for the sake of everything that we’ve all had in the past –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – to give it one more try, and that’s the only reason, because this attorney [Barry K. Rothmann] I found – I mean, I interviewed several, and I picked the nastiest son of a bitch

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – I could find, and all he wants to do is get this out in the public as fast as he can, as big as he can –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – and humiliate as many people as he can, and he’s got a bad [tape irregularity] –

SCHWARTZ: Do you think that’s good?

CHANDLER: — (simultaneous, inaudible) he’s costing me a lot of money.

SCHWARTZ: Do you think that’s good?

CHANDLER: I think that’s great. I think it’s terrific. The best. Because when somebody – when somebody tells you that they don’t want to talk to you –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – you have to talk to them –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – you have to get their attention. It’s a matter of life and death. That’s how I’m taking it. I have to talk to them.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: This is life and death for my son. I have to get their attention. If I don’t get it, if I haven’t gotten it on the phone and I don’t get it tomorrow –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – this guy will certainly get it. That’s the next step. And you want to know something? I even have somebody after him if he doesn’t [tape irregularity]. But I don’t want [tape malfunctioned]. I’m not kidding. I mean what I told you before.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: It’s true. I mean, it could be a massacre if I don’t get what I want. But I do believe this person will get what he wants.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: So he [Barry K. Rothmann]  would just really love [tape irregularity] nothing better than to have this go forward. He is nasty, he is mean –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – he is very smart [tape irregularity], and he’s hungry for the publicity [tape irregularity] better for him.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: And that’s where it’ll go –

SCHWARTZ: You don’t think everyone loses?

CHANDLER: (Simultaneous, inaudible) totally humiliate him in every way –

SCHWARTZ: That – everyone doesn’t lose in that?

CHANDLER: That’s not the issue. See, the issue is that if I have to go that far –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – I can’t stop and think “Who wins and who loses?”

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: All I can think about is I only have one goal, and the goal is to get their attention –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: — so that [tape irregularity] concerns are, and as long as they don’t want to talk to me, I can’t tell them what my concerns are, so I have to go step by step, each time escalating the attention-getting mechanism, and that’s all I regard him [Barry K. Rothmann] as, as an attention-getting mechanism. Unfortunately, after that, it’s totally out of [tape irregularity]. It’ll take on so much momentum of its own that it’s going to be out of all our control. It’s going to be monumentally huge, and I’m not going to have any way to stop it. No one else is either at that point. I mean, once I make that phone call, this guy’s just going to destroy everybody in site in any devious, nasty, cruel way that he can do it. And I’ve given him full authority to do that. To go beyond tomorrow, that would mean I have done every possible thing in my individual power to tell them to sit down and talk to me; and if they still [tape irregularity], I got to escalate the attention-getting mechanism. He’s the next one. I can’t go to somebody nice [tape  irregularity]. It doesn’t work with them. I already found that out. Get some niceness and just go fuck yourself.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: Basically, what they have to know, ultimately, is that their lives are over, if they don’t sit down. One way or the other, it’ll either go to the next step or the [tape irregularity]. I’m not stopping until I get their attention.

[…]

CHANDLER: I don’t know where it’ll go, but I’m saying is that when people – when you — when people cut off communication totally, you only have two choices: to forget about them, or you get frustrated by their action. I can’t forget about them. I love them. That’s it. I don’t like them. I still love Jordie, but I do not like them because I do not like the people that they’ve become, but I do love them, and because I love them I don’t want to see them [tape irregularity]. That’s why I was willing to talk. I have nothing to gain by talking. If I go through with this, I win big time. There’s no way that I lose. I’ve checked that out inside out.

SCHWARTZ: But when you say “winning,” what are you talking about, “winning”?

CHANDLER: I will get everything I want, and they will be totally – they will be destroyed forever. They will be destroyed. June is gonna lose Jordie. She will have no right to ever see him again.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: That’s a fact, Dave. That’s what –

SCHWARTZ: Does that help –

CHANDLER: – Michael the career will be over.

SCHWARTZ: Does that help Jordie?

CHANDLER: Michael’s career will be over.

SCHWARTZ: And does that help Jordie?

CHANDLER: It’s irrelevant to me.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah, but I mean the bottom line is –

CHANDLER: The bottom line to me is, yes, June is harming him, and Michael is harming him. I can prove that, and I will prove that.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: — and if they force me to go to court about it, I will [tape irregularity], and I will be granted custody. She will have no rights whatsoever.

[…]

CHANDLER: Those two are not going to have any defense against it whatsoever. They’re just going to be [tape irregularity] violently destroyed.

SCHWARTZ: Do you think that it helps Jordie?

CHANDLER: Yeah, it’ll help Jordie because he won’t – he’ll never see Michael again. That’s –

SCHWARTZ: I mean, do you think that –

CHANDLER: And he’s probably never gonna see June again if I have to go through with this.

SCHWARTZ: Do you think –

CHANDLER: Unless I’d let him.

SCHWARTZ: Do you think that would affect him?

CHANDLER: Well, I am gonna force him not to see –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah, but do you think that’s the right way to do it?

CHANDLER: Yeah. I’ve been led to believe that it’s the right thing to do. In fact, it’s the right thing to do because how do you know? You don’t know what –

SCHWARTZ: I don’t have a clue.

CHANDLER: Suppose you were to find out what they’re doing and you were to agree with me that these things that they’re doing are harmful to Jordie or –

SCHWARTZ: I’d like to know.

CHANDLER: – be harmful.

SCHWARTZ: I mean, in my wildest imagination I can’t figure out what it is.

CHANDLER: Okay. But suppose –

SCHWARTZ: Unless it’s sex, and I don’t know, you know.

CHANDLER: Suppose that you were to find out that there were things going on that you believed were harmful to him? Would you say to me, “Hey, look. You know, I got things to do here [tape irregularity], but, you know, time will go by and everything will be okay?” I mean, that’s –

[…]

CHANDLER: Okay. Well, they won’t talk to me about those things. They won’t talk to me about anything.

SCHWARTZ: Even about what you think they’re doing or about what you know they’re doing?

CHANDLER: What I know they’re doing.

CHANDLER: I mean, I’ve tried to talk to Jordie. Jordie – Jordie does not talk to me. This stopped long before I told him he couldn’t [tape irregularity]. He just does not talk to me anymore. In fact, when he talks to Michael on the telephone, he goes in another room because I’m not allowed to hear what they’re talking about except I taped [tape irregularity] they’re talking about. Ha-ha-ha. 

[Note that Evan Chandler enviously seems to consider Michael as a rival here.]

CHANDLER: Anyway, all I’m saying is that [tape irregularity] that I would be negligent to continue to do nothing [tape irregularity] gonna be because nobody really knows how Jordie will be affected one way or the other. I know for a fact that he’s going to be affected adversely if I do nothing.

[Note that no incriminating tape has ever been produced by Evan Chandler of the phone conversations between his son Jordan and Michael Jackson. In actuality, in his brother’s book All That Glitters (see above) Evan himself says that he was wary of going to the police because the case would have been just Jordan’s word against Jackson’s word (page 109). That means either Evan bluffs here about taping the phone conversations between Jordan and Jackson, or if he indeed did then it did not produce the evidence he hoped for.]

SCHWARTZ: Would you do me a big favor?

CHANDLER: What?

SCHWARTZ: Could you and I go to one of these shrinks and talk it over?

CHANDLER: No.

SCHWARTZ: Why not?

CHANDLER: Because it’s too late, after 8:30 tomorrow.

SCHWARTZ: But why not? Why couldn’t we go talk it over –

CHANDLER: Because the thing’s already – the thing has already been set in motion.

[“The thing” Evan is talking about is the so-called plan with harmful evidence, which had to be executed by Evan Chandler’s so-called team to “destroy” both his ex-wife June and Michael Jackson. In reality nothing happened the next day and no harmful evidence was produced.]

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: It’s happening at 8:30. 8:36 tomorrow –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – it’s out of my hands. I do nothing else again –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – after 8:36 tomorrow. It’s all been automatically set in motion.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: I’m not even in contact anymore –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – with this person. This thing is –

CHANDLER: The evidence is already locked up in a safe place –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – and it’s gonna come out only [tape irregularity] let it come out, and that’s it. If they don’t talk to me tomorrow, out it comes.

SCHWARTZ: Okay. Well, but let me ask you this –

CHANDLER: (Simultaneous, inaudible) Michael Jackson – Michael Jackson’s career, Dave. This man is gonna be humiliated beyond belief. You’ll not believe it. He will not believe what’s going to happen to him.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: Beyond his worst nightmares. [tape irregularity] not sell one more record.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: That’s for sure. And I mean I’m [tape irregularity] it just has to happen in order to get – to keep [tape irregularity] and it doesn’t have to happen if they show up tomorrow.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: But if they don’t show up – and I’ve made it very clear – I’ve tried to make it really clear on that answering machine, “This is the last chance to talk. If you talk, we have a chance. If we don’t talk, it’s all over.” It’s out of my hands. I mean, what else can I do?

[…]

CHANDLER: What’s the disadvantage to you if Michael Jackson’s destroyed and out of the family? What good is he doing you?

SCHWARTZ: What harms it – well,  it has nothing to – I’m only thinking of Jordie.

CHANDLER: (Simultaneous, inaudible) come over to talk to you, you seemed pretty damned upset that everybody was telling you that Michael Jackson has taken your family away from you. You even went so far as to tell me you couldn’t get bank loans because of that [tape irregularity] turn around completely 180 degrees.

SCHWARTZ: I would do anything for Jordie. I would lose everything. I would die for Jordie. That’s the bottom line.

CHANDLER: Then why don’t you just back me up right now and let’s get rid of Michael Jackson.

SCHWARTZ: Because I don’t know the facts.

CHANDLER: Okay. Well, when you know –

SCHWARTZ: I mean, I don’t –

CHANDLER: Okay. When you know the facts, when you see the facts come out, then you’ll make a decision at that point.

SCHWARTZ: Right. That’s fair.

CHANDLER: Okay.

SCHWARTZ: I mean, that’s more than fair, but this – let me –

CHANDLER: It’s unfortunately gonna be too late, then, and nothing’s gonna matter at that point.

SCHWARTZ: Why?

CHANDLER: Because the fact is so fucking overwhelming –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah?

CHANDLER: – that everybody’s going to be destroyed in the process. The facts themselves are gonna – once this thing starts rolling –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: the facts themselves are gonna overwhelm. It’s gonna be bigger than all of us put together, and the whole thing’s just gonna crash down on everybody and destroy everybody in its sight. That’s [tape irregularity] humiliating, believe me. 

[Note that there were no “facts” known up to this point and that Evan Chandler never produced the evidence he was bragging about throughout this conversation.]

SCHWARTZ: Yeah. And is that good?

CHANDLER: Yeah. It’s great.

SCHWARTZ: Why?

CHANDLER: Great, because –

SCHWARTZ: I mean, is that how you’re –

CHANDLER: Because June and Jordie and Michael –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – have forced me to take it to the extreme –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – to get their attention. How pitiful, pitifuckingful they are to have done that. I’ve tried to get their attention –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – I have begged on the phone, and all I get back is, “Go fuck yourself” on the phone, and so now I’m still trying to get their attention until 8:30 tomorrow for their [tape irregularity], and I will know that even having gone this far they won’t talk to me, then I know that I’m absolutely right in doing what I’m doing because they have left me no other [tape irregularity]. I am not allowed to talk to [tape irregularity], and so since they’re sending me that message and telling me that –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – they leave me no choice. They will not let me say to them, “This is what’s bothering me, and this is what I’d like to do about it. What do you think?” They’re saying, “We don’t care what you have to think – say about [tape irregularity].”

SCHWARTZ: You mean by no communication?

CHANDLER: Am I supposed to just bury my head? No. Not when my kid’s involved.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: I can’t. So it’s their fault. Everything’s their fault, one hundred percent, and the reason it’s their fault [tape irregularity] try to communicate, and they have time after time frustrated my attempts to talk by telling me, “Go fuck yourself.” And when you do that to somebody, consistently, you drive them to do something [tape irregularity]. I’m not an evil person. I don’t want to do this.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: It’s their fault because they won’t talk. They have one more chance. I’ve told them this. That’s why I left that message. The message was very harsh [tape irregularity] and  it was very true, and it was to let them know that I am not kidding around. 

[Note that Evan Chandler is taking no responsibility for his own actions. He puts the blame on the victims of his stalking behavior and thus reduces them to scapegoats. It allows Evan Chandler to narcissistically keep up a “pure and stainless” self-image.] 

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: I’m begging them. That message was begging, one more time –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – to sit down and talk and saying basically, “I don’t want to hurt you, but you’re not leaving me any choice.”

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: And, you know, if they choose to ignore it, for whatever their motives – June doesn’t ignore things for the same – she doesn’t bury her head in the sand and make believe it’s gonna go away.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: June usually will call you up and say, “Go fuck yourself and drop dead” –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – and she’ll get violent and all that, maybe even punch you in the face.

SCHWARTZ: Well, that’s not so bad.

CHANDLER: That’s right, and yet she’s not calling me –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – she’s not doing anything. She’s not talking either. So Michael’s not talking either. The three of them, completely different personalities –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – handle situations in three completely different ways, and yet none of the three of them is calling me.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: You can tell me that Jordie’s burying his head in the sand and that’s his reaction [tape irregularity]. What’s the other two’s excuses? I don’t know. They won’t even tell me what their excuse for not talking to me is. I don’t even – I can’t make an excuse for –

SCHWARTZ: Michael, I can’t tell you. June, she doesn’t know what’s going on.

CHANDLER: Well, of course she doesn’t know what’s going on. She wouldn’t let me tell her.

SCHWARTZ: But she doesn’t going on – know what’s going on –

CHANDLER: I did tell her once.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: I did tell her once what my thoughts were about it.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: And she said, “Go fuck yourself,” basically.

CHANDLER: I have nothing to gain by talking to them tomorrow. All that can happen tomorrow is that I’m gonna look at their faces and I’m gonna feel bad –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – and I’m gonna mitigate my position. I’m gonna give in somewhat [tape irregularity] I just went ahead and did what I was gonna do, I don’t ever have to see them again –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – they’re automatically gonna be destroyed and I’m gonna get what I want. That’s a given [tape irregularity], so –

SCHWARTZ: But, I mean, is that the way to get Jordie?

CHANDLER: – talk to them – I’m talking to them for their sake –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – mine. This is my fourth, fifth and last attempt to communicate.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: So when I leave a threatening message, I am threatening them –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – because nothing else works. Crying didn’t work. Begging didn’t work. Intelligence didn’t work.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: Appealing to the motherly [tape irregularity] nothing worked. So what else is left? You threaten. If that doesn’t work, you’ve basically tried everything there is that you could possibly try.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: I didn’t threaten him physically. I didn’t say I was going to kill them. Michael can show up with all his bodyguards with guns and surround me if he wants to.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: I’m not killing anybody tomorrow. It’s not the next step. His death is not the next (inaudible), so I mean I will talk to them tomorrow, but that’s for their – they can’t possibly feel threatened.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: That’s bullshit. I didn’t threaten them physically in any way, and certainly Michael’s got enough [tape irregularity] lawyers (inaudible). He has Burt Fields [sic], who’s a big hotshot, if he wants to, sit right there. I don’t give a shit.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: Whatever, you know, is going to make them protected from my great threat. I’m showing up all by my little self, and they can show up with an entire army if they need to protect themselves from me, but there’s nothing that they can do to convince me that they’re not showing up because they’re afraid for their lives.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: They could show up [tape irregularity] surrounded by bodyguards. He could certainly have them come over to June’s house, so [tape irregularity] threat was obviously the last (inaudible). I’ve never punched anybody. I’ve never shot anybody. I’ve never done anything violent in my life. There’s no reason why they should feel physically threatened. Never ever given them any indication that I [tape irregularity] Jordie, so, you know, they know that that threat’s [tape irregularity] to be fearful of that. They know that that [tape irregularity] and they know that I left it because there’s no other way to get ahold of them.

[…]

CHANDLER: There are other people involved that are waiting for my phone call that are intentionally going to be in certain positions –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

CHANDLER: – [tape irregularity]. I paid them to do it. They’re doing their job. I gotta just go ahead and follow through on the time zone.

SCHWARTZ: Um-hmm.

CHANDLER: I mean the time set out. Everything is going according to a certain plan that isn’t just mine. There’s other people involved –

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

[Note that Evan Chandler once again does not take responsibility for his own actions. This time he hides behind a so-called “inescapable plan.” This sort of “inescapable logic” according to which things seemingly necessarily proceed yet again functions as a scapegoat. It allows Evan Chandler to narcissistically keep up a “pure” self-image.] 

CONCLUSION 

Evan Chandler could never provide any factual evidence of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson, although he bragged about it several times in the secretly taped phone conversation with David Schwartz. In the book All That Glitters (see above) by Evan’s brother Ray, Ray describes how Evan even lied to Jordan about having bugged his room, in order to get a “confession” out of Jordan. The bluff did not work on the boy.

On the website The Michael Jackson Allegations (with tons of information) the blackmail tactics of Evan Chandler to get a “confession” of his son are described as follows:

“According to the Chandlers’ story, as presented in Ray Chandler’s 2004 book All That Glitters, after Jordan emerged from the sedation Evan pressured him to ‘confess’ and corroborate his ‘suspicions’ that Michael Jackson had sexually molested him. The boy refused. Then Evan started to blackmail him with lies and threats against his friend, Michael Jackson.

First Evan claimed he had bugged Jordan’s bedroom (admittedly a lie).

 

‘When Jordie came strolling back from the kitchen, Evan went on the attack. ‘Have a seat, and listen very carefully to what I’m about to say. Do you remember when you came over to the house I told you that if you lie to me I was going to destroy Michael?’ Jordie nodded that he did. ‘Good. Keep that in mind, because I’m going to ask you a question. Do you care about Michael?’ 

‘Yes,’ the boy answered.

‘You could say you love him, right?’

‘Yes.’ 

‘And you wouldn’t want to hurt him?’

‘No.’ 

‘Okay then, let me remind you of something. Remember I told you I bugged your bedroom?’ Jordie nodded. ‘Well, I know everything you guys did, so you might as well admit it.’ [page 90]

But Jordan remained ‘silent, seemingly unimpressed’ [page 90] and ‘sensing this, Evan quickly changed tack’ [page 90]. Then he tried to cajole Jordan by telling him that being bisexual was not only OK but was ‘sorta cool, in a way’ [page 91]. That didn’t work either, Jordan still would not say that Jackson molested him.

Then Evan’s threats against Jackson became more direct and more aggressive: 

‘I’m going to give you one last chance to save Michael. If you lie to me, then I’m going to take him down in front of the whole world, and it’ll be all your fault because you’re the one person who could have saved him. [page 91]’

and 

‘I know about the kissing and the jerking off, so you’re not telling me anything I don’t already know,’ Evan lied. ‘This isn’t about me finding anything out. It’s about lying. And you know what’s going to happen if you lie. So I’m going to make it very easy for you. I’m going to ask you one question. All you have to do is say yes, or no. That’s it. Lie and Michael goes down. Tell me the truth and you save him. [page 91]’ 

Jordan by this time, of course, knew what his father would consider ‘the truth’ and what would he consider a ‘lie,’ since Evan made that very clear. Ray Chandler writes in his book: ‘In his heart, Evan already knew the truth; he didn’t need Jordie to confirm it.’ [page 91]  

 

In other words Evan had a fixed, preconceived idea that Jackson had molested his son and he would only accept confirmation from Jordan as ‘the truth.’ Everything else would be considered a ‘lie’ and would result in Evan acting to ‘taking down’ the entertainer. And this is when Jordan, after pleading his father not to hurt Jackson, allegedly, gave in:

 

‘Okay. What’s the question?’  

‘Did Michael touch your penis?’

Jordie hesitated. Then, almost inaudibly, he whispered ‘Yes.’ 

Evan would press no further. He had heard all he needed to hear. He reached out and hugged his son, and Jordie hugged back, tight.

‘We never talked about it again,’ Evan later told the L.A. district attorney. To Evan, the details didn’t matter. ‘The prison walls had cracked and I was confident the rest would take care of itself.’ [pages 91-92]

After all these threats and blackmailing Jordan ‘confesses’ with an almost inaudible ‘yes’ and we are to believe that Evan doesn’t have any further questions? Supposedly his son has just confessed he has been molested but his father is not interested in details, such as when, where, how, how many times and exactly what happened, under what circumstances was his son’s penis touched by another man? In actuality, Evan later tells the Los Angeles DA that ‘we never talked about it again.’  It would only make sense if Evan knew there were no details to be told. It also seems to be an attempt on Evan’s part to distance himself from the allegations, so that he could not be accused of coaching his son.

All the ‘details’ would later coalesce when we hear about the masturbation, mutual masturbation and oral sex claims but these ‘details’ only surface after Jordan spends more time in his father’s care and in the office of Evan’s attorney, Barry Rothman, a person that Evan himself described in his taped phone conversation with David Schwartz as the ‘nastiest son of a bitch.’

The taped phone conversation with David Schwartz reveals Evan Chandler as a very troubled man in the midst of a custody battle for his son with his ex-wife. Chandler feels rejected by his ex-wife June, his son Jordan and pop star Michael Jackson. This literally, in his own words, frustrates him. To get their attention, Evan threatens to expose so-called damaging evidence (as it turned out, this evidence never existed) about his son Jordan and Michael Jackson. He aggressively makes clear that if they start talking to him again, he won’t go through with all his plan to destroy both his ex-wife June and Michael Jackson. At some point, when asked about the possible damage this can bring to his son Jordan, Evan simply answers, “That’s irrelevant to me.”

The fact that Evan Chandler seems more narcissistically concerned about preserving “a pure sense of self” and getting attention than about his son is tragically illustrated in 2006. Court documents filed in the state of New Jersey reveal that Evan Chandler is sued by his son Jordan after he nearly killed Jordan with a barbell and mace in August 2005. Jordan obtains a permanent restraining order against his father as a result. Before that, Jordan already had filed for legal emancipation from his parents and had had no contact with his mother since 1994. This is revealed by June Chandler-Schwartz during Jackson’s 2005 trial.

In 1993, Evan Chandler claims that his son started talking about being abused by Michael Jackson when his son was under the influence of sodium amytal (a drug that can be used to create false memories) during a dental procedure. On July 14, Evan and his attorney Barry Rothman contact psychiatrist Dr. Mathis Abrams and present him with their side of the story. Asked to give his opinion, Abrams sends Rothman a letter two days later. Abrams has not yet met the child nor the accused, yet writes that “reasonable suspicion would exist that sexual abuse may have occurred.” Evan uses this letter as a so-called “negotiation” tool with his ex-wife June and with Michael Jackson. It is a fact that Evan Chandler promises not to go public with the allegations of child sexual abuse if Michael Jackson pays him $20 million. It is also a fact that Michael Jackson refuses to pay, thus willingly running the risk that Chandler goes public with the allegations.  

Jackson does agree to meet with Evan but only in the presence of a lawyer, Bert Fields or Anthony Pellicano. The telephone conversation between Evan Chandler and Michael Jackson about that meeting is described as follows in Ray Chandler’s book All That Glitters (page 100): 

“‘I just want to find out what’s going on between you two,’ Evan explained. ‘You don’t need a lawyer. We can work this out ourselves.’

Michael wouldn’t budge: Pellicano or Fields had to attend.

‘We may talk about some embarrassing things for both of you,’ Evan cautioned.

‘Anything you say to me, you can say to Bert,’ Michael insisted.

‘But I don’t think anyone else should hear these things. I don’t want you to get in trouble. I just…’ Click.

This phone call was a turning point for Evan. ‘I understood that a man in Michael’s position needed lawyers for everything, but this was not business, not to me. I really thought we could work it out if we could get all the lawyers out of the picture, and I thought Michael would want that too. If I wasn’t bringing a lawyer, why did he need one?'”

The meeting takes place on August 4 at the Westwood Marquis Hotel. Present are Michael Jackson, Anthony Pellicano and Evan and Jordan Chandler. According to an October 1994 GQ article by Mary A. Fischer – Was Michael Jackson Framed? – the following happens:

“‘On seeing Jackson,’ says Pellicano, [Evan] Chandler gave the singer an affectionate hug (a gesture, some say, that would seem to belie the dentist’s suspicions that Jackson had molested his son), then reached into his pocket, pulled out [psychiatrist] Abrams’s letter and began reading passages from it.

When Chandler got to the parts about child molestation, the boy, says Pellicano, put his head down and then looked up at Jackson with a surprised expression, as if to say ‘I didn’t say that.’

As the meeting broke up, Chandler pointed his finger at Jackson, says Pellicano, and warned ‘I’m going to ruin you.'”

The affectionate hug Evan Chandler gives Michael Jackson is also described by Evan’s brother Ray in the latter’s book All That Glitters. Ray develops a whole theory as to why Evan greets the alleged abuser of his son so cordially. Nevertheless, it remains a very strange gesture to most people.

Evan Chandler eventually goes public with his allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson and his accuser, Jordan Chandler, reach an out of court settlement on January 25, 1994. The settlement is illegally leaked to Court TV’s Diane Dimond in 2003, which reveals that the amount paid into a trust for Jordan Chandler is $15,331,250. The document emphasizes that it is in no way an admission of guilt by Michael Jackson. On page 4 it states:

This Confidential Settlement shall not be considered as an admission by Jackson that he has acted wrongfully with respect to the Minor, [blocked] or [blocked], or any other person or at all, or that the Minor, [blocked] or [blocked] have any rights whatsoever against Jackson. Jackson specifically disclaims any liability to, and denies any wrongful act against, the Minor, [blocked] or [blocked] or any other persons. The Parties acknowledge that Jackson is a public figure and that his name, image and likeness have commercial value and are an important element of his earning capacity. The Parties acknowledge that Jackson claims that he has elected to settle the claims in the Action in view of the impact the Action has had and could have in the future on his earnings and potential income.”

The settlement in no way buys Michael Jackson his way out of a criminal indictment. The settlement resolves the civil proceedings, not the criminal. Michael’s legal team advises to agree to the settlement, because the singer is depressed and exhausted by that point and further civil proceedings would affect his ability to perform too much. Michael will later consider his eventual agreement to settle the case out of court one of the major mistakes of his life.

Anyway, under American law one is not allowed to settle a criminal case. So it is no surprise that in this case the criminal proceedings go on after the settlement. Nothing prevents the Chandlers from testifying against Jackson in a criminal court and yet they are unwilling to co-operate with the authorities investigating the criminal proceedings. They are also unwilling to testify in a criminal court. Before the criminal proceedings are ended, however, the Chandlers file another civil lawsuit against Jackson, accusing him of sexual battery, battery, seduction, willful misconduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and negligence. This time they demand a recovery of $30 million.

Usually, civil complaints are filed after criminal proceedings are completed and justice has been served. Evan Chandler, however, seems more interested in pursuing money than in pursuing justice for his allegedly molested child. Indeed, at the end of a civil trial the only restitution available is monetary. The second settlement is not paid by Jackson.

As for the criminal proceedings, the criminal case is convened before two Grand Juries (one in Los Angeles and one in Santa Barbara) in February-April of 1994. After seven months of investigation, multiple house searches, interviews of dozens of children and other witnesses, police officers traveling all around the world to find corroborating victims and evidence, strip searching Jackson’s body, both Grand Juries determine that they have not seen sufficient evidence to indict Jackson. So two Grand Juries find that the prosecution has not discovered incriminating evidence during the investigations sufficient to secure an indictment. Hence there is no criminal trial in 1994.

III. SOME NOTES ON THE ORIGINS OF THE ARVIZO TRIAL AND THE ARVIZO FAMILY

Despite all the above indications that the Chandler case is an extortion case based on never proven allegations, it forever tarnishes the public image of Michael Jackson. It allows people like Víctor Gutiérrez to launch ever new insinuations time and again. Ten years later, Jackson will once again find himself confronted with allegations by yet another family, the Arvizos. Once again Jackson is subject to extremely thorough investigations, only to be acquitted on all charges in a criminal trial.

During the summer and autumn of 2002 British television host Martin Bashir works on a documentary in cooperation with Michael Jackson. The piece eventually airs as Living with Michael Jackson. During the creation of the documentary Bashir suggests to Jackson that he can show the public how Jackson helps children with serious illnesses.

Asked for concrete examples, Jackson thinks of David Rothenberg (“Dave Dave”) and Gavin Arvizo. David is badly burned by his father as a child in the 1980s. Jackson supports him throughout his life. Rothenberg talks about this on CNN’s Larry King Live in September 2009. The other option Jackson thinks of is cancer survivor Gavin Arvizo. Both Rothenberg and Arvizo end up on the set of Bashir’s documentary, but since Rothenberg is already an adult in 2002, Bashir chooses to go with the then 13-year-old Gavin instead.

The shooting of a scene with Gavin, two siblings of his and Michael Jackson takes place in September 2002. Jackson allows himself to be filmed showing affection to Gavin. He holds Gavin’s hand while the boy leans his head on Jackson’s shoulder.

This segment causes a storm of suspicions and insinuations about Jackson when Bashir’s documentary airs in February 2003. Old tabloid stories from people like Víctor Gutiérrez are also rehashed (see above; a 2006 GQ article claims that Gutiérrez was engaged to work on Martin Bashir’s 2003 documentary).

In any case, Bashir’s presentation of Jackson’s relationship with children is highly suggestive, even to the point that Gavin Arvizo himself eventually admits that Bashir’s portrayal of Jackson is false (in Arvizo’s publicly available 2005 testimony). After the shooting of the scene the Arvizo children stay at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch for one night, but Jackson immediately leaves after the scene and has no further contact with the children. In reality, Michael Jackson and Gavin Arvizo have no close relationship and they have hardly even seen each other since 2000.

Nevertheless, public opinion seems ready for another series of allegations and the Arvizos eventually jump on the bandwagon. They pin 10 (plus 4 minor) charges on Michael Jackson regarding his relationship with Gavin Arvizo: four counts of molesting a minor, four counts of intoxicating a minor to molest him, one count of attempted child molestation, one count of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive, and conspiring to commit extortion and child abduction.

The case is so ridiculous that it couldn’t have been made up. It actually happened.

Rolling Stone, April 7, 2005 (Inside the Strangest Trial on Earth, p. 36),  summarizes the case of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson in 2005 as follows:

“The prosecution’s case, seldom satisfactorily explained in the mainstream media, goes as follows. On February 6th, 2003, the Bashir documentary, in which Jackson is seen admitting that he sleeps in his bedroom with young boys, is shown on British TV. Among the children who appear in the video is his accuser in this case, a thirteen-year-old cancer survivor who had been introduced to Jackson during his chemotherapy treatments several years before.

According to the prosecution, Jackson had not molested the boy at the time the Bashir documentary aired, but he was sufficiently concerned that the boy might make such allegations that he and a band of Neverland courtiers entered into an elaborate conspiracy to “falsely imprison” the boy and his family for nearly five weeks (in luxury hotels, at Neverland ranch and other places), during which time they coerced the family into denying, on camera, that anything untoward had ever happened between Jackson and the boy.

[…]

At any rate, it was only after the filming of this so-called rebuttal video – which, incidentally, Jackson then sold to the Fox Network for $3 million – and after authorities had begun an investigation into Jackson’s relationship with the boy, that Jackson allegedly molested the child, in early March.

The prosecution’s case therefore boils down to this: In a panic over negative publicity, Jackson conspires to kidnap a boy and force him to deny acts of molestation that in fact never happened, and then he gets over his panic just long enough to actually molest the child at the very moment when the whole world is watching.

It is a fantastic argument, a bilious exercise in circular prosecutorial logic: conspiracy to commit conspiracy, false imprisonment for the sake of it, followed by a sudden act of utter self-destructive madness. And none of it makes sense…”

No wonder the prosecution’s case didn’t stand a chance, and no wonder Michael Jackson is acquitted on all counts in 2005. And rightly so – justice is served.

Michael Jackson’s defense team catches the Arvizos lying, contradicting themselves and each other and changing their stories in significant ways.

Moreover, the Arvizos are not only caught lying in their case against Michael Jackson, they are also caught lying in other cases. On August 27, 1998, when he is only eight years old, Gavin steals two school uniforms and two school uniform pants from a J.C. Penney department store. Strangely enough, the incident ends with a settlement between the Arvizo family and J.C. Penney in which the store pays the family $152,200.

The Michael Jackson Allegations website describes what happened:

“According to an interview that the Arvizo kids’ father David Arvizo gave to Michael Jackson’s private investigator Scott Ross on October 27, 2004, on the day of the incident the mother Janet Arvizo applied for a job at the loss prevention unit of Oshman’s Sporting Goods Store. While she went to that store to fill out paperwork for her job application David Arvizo and their two sons, Gavin and Star, went into the neighboring J.C. Penney store. While they were shopping Gavin grabbed two school uniforms and two school uniform pants and ran out of the store with them. David ran after him, according to him to stop him, but before they reached their van they were surrounded by J.C. Penney security guards.

Janet Arvizo was exiting Oshman’s just in time to witness this and jumped in to protect her husband and two sons. There was a scuffle between Janet and the guards but David was ultimately escorted back to J.C. Penney. According to Janet Arvizo’s testimony in 2005 both Janet and David were arrested and taken to jail where their mugshots were taken and they were charged with burglary, assault and battery, and petty theft, but then they were released later that day and the charges were eventually dropped by the store.

According to David, upon arriving home Janet ordered him and the boys to write out their version of what happened. When they were done she took their papers and changed their stories to a version that she wanted to represent. The changed versions were returned to the children and they were required to read and study it on a daily basis. This went on for almost a year then almost a year later on July 22, 1999 the Arvizos filed a civil lawsuit against J.C. Penney for battery, false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress. At the time no sexual assault was alleged by them. One more year later in a June 29, 2000 amendment of their complaint, however, they added sexual assault allegations as well. Janet Arvizo now claimed that a security guard fondled her breasts, squeezed her nipples 10-20 times, punched her with a closed fist, molested her in her vaginal area and she was called racial slurs.

According to David Arvizo eventually Janet never worked a day at Oshman’s claiming that she was unable to work due to the injuries she allegedly got in the J.C. Penney altercation. This ‘loss of earnings’ claim became a part of the lawsuit. David also said that Janet exploited Gavin’s illness in raising sympathy and putting J.C. Penney under pressure to settle. Eventually the case was settled on September 24, 2001 with J.C. Penney paying the family $152,500.

[…]

In her testimony in 2005 Janet Arvizo admitted that she lied in the J.C. Penney case about how she got her bruises. In fact, after she received the settlement money from J.C. Penney in 2001 she filed for divorce from David and during that divorce battle she changed her story about the bruises, now claiming that they were not caused by the J.C. Penney guards but by her husband. She blamed her lying in the J.C. Penney case on being intimidated by David.”

Apart from the Michael Jackson and the J.C. Penney case, the Arvizos get also caught being involved in fraudulent and manipulative activities against actor and comedian Chris Tucker, comedian George Lopez, television host Jay Leno and editor Connie Keenan. Mother Janet Arvizo also committed welfare fraud.

A very important fact is the changing of the timeline of Michael Jackson’s alleged abuse by the Arvizos. The Michael Jackson Allegations website points out the consequences of this:

“Initially the Arvizos claimed that the molestation started as soon as they returned from Miami with Jackson, on February 7, 2003. This version of the story is also represented in the prosecution’s initial felony complaint, filed on December 18, 2003.

However, later they changed this story and said that Jackson started molesting Gavin after February 20. As you will see, this timeline change was not just a minor correction. It significantly changed the narrative of the Arvizos’ initial story.

[…]

According to the story that the Arvizos ended up with due to the timeline change, Jackson started molesting Gavin while the CPS and the police investigated, while there was a huge public attention on him and Gavin because of the Bashir documentary, and while his PR team was working overtime on damage control because of the public relations backlash resulting from the Bashir documentary. To believe the Arvizos’ story you have to believe that all the while this was happening (including a police and a CPS investigation), Jackson suddenly started molesting Gavin Arvizo, even though for three years he had not touched him and not even trusted him and his family. This is exactly the story that the Arvizo family ended up with after they were forced to change their initial timeline because of the discovery of the ‘rebuttal tape’ raw footage.”

And about the scene in the Bashir documentary that caused massive uproar, the The Michael Jackson Allegations website sets the record straight, once again:

“On that first visit Gavin and Star slept in Jackson’s bedroom. This is the night that is referenced in the 2003 Martin Bashir documentary Living with Michael Jackson that caused big public uproar, even though both Gavin and Jackson made it clear that while the kids slept on the bed, Jackson slept on the floor.

[…]

What is not mentioned in the documentary is the fact that not only Jackson did not sleep in the same bed as Gavin and Star, but he also insisted on his personal assistant Frank Cascio to sleep in the room as well. Jackson’s own children, 3-year-old Prince and 2-year-old Paris (his youngest child, Bigi was not yet born) were there as well and slept on the bed with the Arvizo kids, while the two adult men, Jackson and Cascio, slept on the floor.”

Not surprisingly perhaps, Martin Bashir reacted in the following way upon hearing the death of Michael Jackson:

IV. EXCERPTS FROM AN ARTICLE BY RAVEN WOODS (JULY 8, 2016)

On July 8, 2016, Raven Woods writes a very good summary about the investigations in the cases of child molestation against Michael Jackson, as well as of the aftermath of those cases regarding (tabloid) news about Michael Jackson and his image in public opinion. The following are excerpts from the article, The Truth About What Michael Jackson Had (And Didn’t Have) In His Bedroom. The article busts some myths regarding (tabloid) media reports at the time about adult erotic material found at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Raven Woods traces the most noticeable of those reports back to ties between the Radar Online tabloid web magazine and (the attorneys of, and people around)… Wade Robson and James Safechuck!

Raven Woods points to the official proof that an 88-page report by Radar Online on Michael Jackson tampers with an official police report from the Arvizo case, even adding (tampered) images that Michael Jackson did not have in his possession. The forged report also includes added notes to further incriminate Michael Jackson. A revealing fact is also that many of the added pages bear the date 1/10/16, which is five months prior to the orchestrated timing of their public release on June 20th, 2016. Eventually, twenty-seven pages disappear from Radar Online’s original 88-page report, and the report is reduced to a mere 61-page-report!

“THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT MICHAEL JACKSON HAD (AND DIDN’T HAVE) IN HIS BEDROOM

Last week, as the world geared up to remember Michael Jackson on his seventh death anniversary, a deluge of negative publicity hit regarding allegations of ‘disturbing’ child porn that was supposedly uncovered during the 2003 raid of Neverland, conducted prior to Jackson’s 2004 indictment on charges of molesting a minor. The highly publicized trial in 2005 resulted in Jackson’s acquittal on all fourteen counts. The problem is that the police documents in question and the list of items seized from Neverland are not ‘new’ or ‘recently unearthed’ documents, as some media outlets have mistakenly claimed in an effort to bolster salacious headlines.

These were all items that were entered in court back in 2005 – items that were well known to both the prosecution and defense and were presented before both Judge Melville and the jury. None of the items seized from Neverland fit the legal definition of child pornography, and in fact many of the items that are currently creating the most media hysteria were not pornographic at all. They were legal art books; a few of them containing some examples of adult erotica, but again, these were not titles that could be in any way deemed as pornographic or even obscene. This isn’t to say that Jackson didn’t own any pornography at all. The truth was that a sizable amount of adult heterosexual pornography had been confiscated in the raid, but Jackson was a grown man and this type of pornography is not illegal to own. In the absence of any hardcore ‘smoking gun’ evidence against Jackson, the prosecution tried desperately to make a case for several legal art books which Jackson owned as part of an extensive library, one that contained over ten thousand titles on art and photography (subjects that were of interest to him as inspiration for his own lyrics and films). These art books, as they were written up and described in the original police reports, were clearly stated as not being pornographic in nature but as items that could ‘possibly’ be used as part of a ‘grooming’ process (however, it is important to note that this was not a claim the prosecution was able to successfully prove in court). Secondly, it has been confirmed via a statement issued by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department that several pages of the document – which originated with the publication Radar Online – appeared to have been falsified, with images that were never part of the original documents, claiming those images ‘appeared to have been taken from internet sources.’ Since this story spread like proverbial wildfire through the tabloid media – and even to legit mainstream media who apparently never bothered to fact check either the origin or contents of these documents – we really must pause to consider how the media operates in spreading such hoax stories on celebrities. We also must ask some hard questions about why better laws are not in place to protect deceased persons-famous or not-from this kind of libel.

But first, let’s start by busting some of the distorted myths and outright lies that are circulating currently. I have been a dedicated Michael Jackson researcher for seven years. I have thoroughly studied the ins and outs of the 2005 case brought against him as well as the 1993 Jordan Chandler settlement.

The first thing we must address is that the information and descriptions in these reports are NOT new or ‘recently unearthed’ reports – this is all information that both the prosecution and defense were well aware of in 2004 when the indictment and grand jury process began. In fact, a lot of the current information being touted now was leaked then and circulated in the press after the grand jury hearings, prompting a statement to the media from Jackson’s attorney, which was signed off not only by Mesereau but also the prosecution and Judge Melville, fully acknowledging that no child pornography had been found. This was followed up by an official statement from Jackson himself, in which he specifically addressed the information that had been leaked to the media from the grand jury proceedings. It is worth keeping in mind that the grand jury hearings are a process in which the prosecution is able to present their case in its entirety without the benefit of cross examination, and includes the process of discovery whereby all potential evidentiary itemsare presented and discussed.

Both Thomas Mesereau’s sworn statement and Jackson’s 2004 press statement were in reaction to items leaked to the media from the grand jury hearings, in which the prosecution enters allconfiscated and potentially evidentiary items. These ‘items’ included the same art books that have become the source of the current media frenzy.

Eventually, many of these books were discarded as inadmissible evidence because they were commercially available art books that anyone can purchase legally. Of the titles that wereentered as admissible evidence, it was not because they were pornographic but, rather, because the prosecution felt that they might potentially bolster an argument that Jackson ‘could have’ used the books as grooming material and in an attempt to prove some sort of predilection on Jackson’s part for males (since a few of the titles featured artsy photographs of nude males; however, these were generally titles that featured adult erotica of both sexes). The ‘sadomasochism’ books were adult books featuring adult subjects (Madonna’s ‘Sex,’ for example, was a book that he was known to have shopped for in the early 1990s) and because none of these materials fit the legal definition of child pornography. This left the prosecution in the rather embarrassing situation of having to build a case on Jackson’s adult legal porn collection, which was – let’s just say – healthy, but not that unusual for a single guy. Let’s remember, these people invaded his private quarters, after all. The full list of Jackson’s adult porn that was confiscated in the Neverland raid has been widely available for many years, and consisted of over 1800 images of nude adult women. But essentially, this left the prosecution in the rather embarrassing position of trying to build a case of child molestation against a man for whom the only ‘evidence’ they had was issues of…

HustlerPlayboyPenthouseBarely Legal, and the like – along with, well, a lot of art books. The thing you have to keep in mind is that the prosecution never had one shred of what we might call ‘smoking gun’ evidence – the kind that usually leads to an easy, ‘case closed’ conviction in cases like this. There were no explicit love letters written to any child, no photos of himself or children engaged in sexual acts, no video tapes of himself with children in lewd acts, no taped phone conversations, no online ‘sex chats’ – in other words, none of the things that can usually lead to an easy conviction in such cases. You have to remember that Jackson was under constant FBI surveillance for over ten years. The reports eventually concluded nothing to be found. A search of over sixteen computer hard drives seized in the 2003 raid revealed nothing except that he occasionally visited a few adult legal porn sites where he liked to log in as ‘Dr. Black’ and ‘Marcel Jackson.’ Juicy gossip fodder, yes. Illegal, no.

In the lack of any such hard evidence, the case essentially boiled down to accuser Gavin Arvizo’s word against Jackson’s. From that point forward, the only hope that district attorneys Tom Sneddon and Ron Zonen had was to construct their prosecution as a character assassination. In their desperate attempt to make ‘evidence’ out of no evidence, the art books were argued (unsuccessfully) as books that ‘could’ fit the definition of what a casebook pedophile would own, and the legal porn was argued to be ‘grooming material’ (an argument that likewise did not persuade the jury, especially after Star Arvizo, brother of Gavin Arvizo, admitted under cross examination that a magazine he had earlier claimed to have been shown by Jackson was an issue that, in fact, wasn’t even published until five months after the date of the alleged incident!).

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The problem is that, in the absence of any truly hardcore evidence, it becomes increasingly difficult to try to convince a jury of what someone’s ‘intentions’ are with a particular photo or art book. You can’t second guess what is in someone’s head, or if they are using certain materials –  legal or otherwise – for sexual gratification. That is getting into the realm of ‘reasonable doubt’ and is not something that can be proven. The only thing a judge and jury can do is to look at a certain piece of exhibited evidence and ask: Is this pornography or is it not? And if it is pornographic, is it legal? Keep in mind that anything that isn’t, strictly speaking, child pornography cannot be held as admissible evidence because it is not criminal – at least certainly not in the United States – to own art books or adult legal sex books, no matter how ‘graphic’ the imagery (much of which, also, is being grossly exaggerated in the media reports, but one thing at a time).

The original Radar Online story that ran on June 20th did, in fact, acknowledge that these reports were from 2003 and are not new information, but they slanted their story in such a way that made it seem as though this was somehow ‘newly leaked’ information or as if this was ‘newly discovered’ evidence that somehow – for whatever unearthly reason – was never brought to light during the trial. This is simply not true, as all official court documents related to the 2005 case clearly show that these items were well known to both the prosecution and defense. Many of these items were discussed and exhibited before the jury in what came to be known as the infamous ‘Porn Day’ at trial (a day for which Jackson’s very religious mother Katherine chose to sit out). What was left out was simply because it was deemed not pornographic in nature and therefore, inadmissible evidence. Let’s not forget, Michael Jackson was subjected to one of the most overzealous cases of prosecution that an individual could be put through. He had a district attorney who had made it his personal life’s ambition to put him behind bars – or drive him permanently from Santa Barbara County, which he eventually succeeded in doing. This was a prosecution effort that combed the globe in search of ‘victims,’ evidence, and any witnesses willing to come forth, regardless of credibility, and that spent millions in taxpayer dollars in the process. Granted, Sneddon and Zonen may have had their moments of ineptitude, but one thing they could never be accused of was being unthorough or of committing a half-assed investigation that would have left evidence of actual child pornography overlooked. Indeed, nothing in these reports was overlooked, nor was it withheld. It simply wasn’t child pornography, then or now.

This is an important fact to establish because I think the impression many are getting, from the slanted media reports, is that these items being discussed are some ‘shocking new bombshell’ revelation that has just come to light. That simply isn’t true. This is all old news from a decade ago, and there is absolutely nothing in those reports that hasn’t already had its day in court – that is, of the items that even made it past the discovery stage. The media is trying to slant the story that way because it makes for more salacious headlines and click bait, but if you read the fine print, most have to own up at some point that these are, in fact, old documents dating to 2003 when the discovery process for the trial was underway. So, nothing new here and nothing that the attorneys, as well as the judge and jury, were not well aware of when Jackson was tried and acquitted in 2005. So the salacious and ‘creepy kiddy porn’ of Michael Jackson’s that is currently being touted all over the media actually consists of nothing more than a few art photography books (all of which can be legally purchased through Amazon). Some of them do fall into the category of adult erotica; however, they are not pornographic and certainly not illegal for an adult to own. They include titles by award winning photographers and authors like Anne Rice, who even wrote the introduction for one of the books (Underworld) that is currently the subject of much of the media fodder.

So the next question… why now? Well, that goes back to the close ties between Radar Online (formerly headed up by The National Enquirer’s Dylan Howard) and the attorneys of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, as well as a certain traitorous ‘friend’ to the Jackson family, Stacy Brown, who has made a career off of peddling smut to the tabloids. Robson and Safechuck both have civil cases pending against the Michael Jackson estate, and Radar Online has become their ally and willing mouthpiece. We know from the statement released by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department that the documents Radar Online obtained did not come from an official source. Here is the statement as it was released to Vanity Fair and reported in various news outlets, yet everyone who reported on this story seemed to ignore what was most damning in this statement:

Some of the documents appear to be copies of reports that were authored by Sheriff’s Office personnel as well as evidentiary photographs taken by Sheriff’s Office personnel interspersed with content that appears to be obtained off the Internet or through unknown sources. The Sheriff’s Office did not release any of the documents and/or photographs to the media. The Sheriff’s Office released all of its reports and the photographs as part of the required discovery process to the prosecution and the defense.

Many of the media outlets who copied the original story have now updated their information to include this statement. That is at least a step in the right direction, I suppose, but still doesn’t take into account their apparent willingness to run a story that has been blatantly identified by the very authorities who investigated the case as false information.

Let’s look again at that official statement released by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department with the most crucial passages emphasized:

… interspersed with content that appears to be obtained off the Internet or through unknown sources The Sheriff’s Office released all of its reports and the photographs as part of the required discovery process to the prosecution and the defense.

The statement also makes it clear that someone other than an official source is responsible for feeding this information to Radar Online – someone (or someones) who timed this malicious smear campaign just in time to coincide with the remembrances and celebrations of Jackson’s death anniversary – a time when the emotions of his family, friends, and fans are most vulnerable.

Most damaging to the hoax perpetrators has been the statement issued from Ron Zonen himself, one of the prosecuting attorneys who certainly would have moved heaven and earth to have the ‘evidence’ against Michael Jackson he so desperately craved. Yet even Zonen released an official statement citing the lack of child pornography found in the investigation.

Let’s go back to the most important statements given in Zonen’s statement:

‘There was no child pornography. There were no videos involving children.’

So what, then, is all the hoopla about? You might be shocked and surprised to know! If one truly examines and dissects the materials and images being discussed, it turns out that not only are all of them from legal sources (art books and such) but that most of the more erotic images are of adults! So… what’s the deal here? It actually seems that a huge media storm is being created over Michael Jackson’s tastes in art and adult erotica. Like I said before: Gossip fodder? Yes, maybe. Evidence of criminal behavior? No.

And Radar Online (or maybe we should say whoever was responsible for ‘leaking’ those documents to them) also purposely tampered with many of those images to make them ‘appear’ more explicit than they actually are, as per this example. On the right is the image as Radar online posted it. On the left is the original image from the book Bidgood by James Bidgood, which is a legal book of adult male photography. On the left is the original image in Bidgood’s book. On the right is the image as it was then ‘doctored’ in the falsified documents. As you can see, Radar Online (or someone) purposely blocked out the crotches so as to make it appear as if the young men in Bidgood’s photo were naked, when in fact they were actually clothed in shorts. [So this is one of the many ‘doctored’ images (in this case from a book by James Bidgood) Radar Online ran in their original 88 page Jackson report before deleting them:]

Tampered Evidence 1

But it gets even better!

A few days later, Canadian artist Jonathan Hobin, author of In The Playroom, spoke out to both the Canadian press and social media about how his work had been similarly used by Radar Online to help falsify the Jackson documents. Hobin’s ‘American Idol’ photo, featured as part of his In The Playroom collection, was a photo featuring a JonBenét Ramsey lookalike dressed in beauty pageant regalia with a noose tied around her neck.

Tampered Evidence 2

It was a photo that Radar Online – as well as every other media outlet who picked up the story –  had a virtual field day with as ‘evidence’ of Jackson’s ‘stockpile of ‘creepy’ and ‘gory kiddie porn pictures featuring torture of children.’ As it turned out, there were three major problems with this screaming headline: 1: The image is part of a legit art collection – one that has been featured in many of the same media outlets that are now mocking Jackson, including The Huffington Post who ran a very positive feature on Hobin’s work in 2013.

But it gets even better (or worse, depending on whether you are a ‘glass is half-full or half-empty’ kind of person). 2: In The Playroom was a book published in 2008, which means even if it is legitimate art (and it is!) it is not a book that Jackson could have possibly owned in 2003 at the time Neverland was raided. Which leads us to 3: This image, then, was never part of the original 2003 police reports, and the fact that it was at first included within the original 88-page document released by Radar Online is evidence of the kind of tampering that the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department was referring to.

But the forgery doesn’t end there. The original police reports contained no images at all but only verbal descriptions of the books’ contents.

[…]

This means that those images placed into the original 88-page report that Radar Online ran were either planted there by Radar Online or by the persons who submitted those documents. It appears that many of the images inserted, like Hobin’s photo among others, were not even from the titles being claimed in the report but, rather, from related titles of books Jackson did not even own. This would indicate that whoever submitted those reports conducted a sloppy Google search to acquire those images, without bothering to check if the images legitimately came from the titles in question. For example, it has since come to light that several of the more graphic photos that Radar Online claimed to have come from The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes(an art book Jackson did own) were, in fact, from a list of favorite books by art photographer and ‘Dazed’ editor Isabella Burley, who included the book on a list of her five favorite books (the images, it turns out, were taken from those other titles on her list, none of which were books that Jackson owned). You can read more about how that forgery was framed […]. This would indicate that  whoever was responsible for ‘leaking’ these decade old documents to Radar Online not only were aware that no such images existed in the original documents but that, also, they were either extremely inept with use of the Google search engine or else were on a deliberate and malicious campaign to falsify those documents with purposely chosen salacious images that would then appear even more salacious when taken out of context.

Interestingly, the persons responsible for this ‘leak’ left an intriguing clue to their identity, which many sharp-eyed Jackson fans were quick to note: cryptic notes left on page 25 (which also were not part of the original police report documents) stating that ‘Zonen is retired and will talk’ and listing a current phone number for Gordon Auchincloss (Ron Zonen and Gordon Auchincloss were both prosecuting attorneys for the 2005 Jackson case). These are current notes that have obviously been recently added (Zonen is retired now, but obviously was not back in 2003-04 when these documents were first drawn up). For many Jackson fans, this lends credibility to the idea that this latest smear campaign must have originated with the attorneys of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, two young men who both have civil cases pending against the Michael Jackson estate.

– 

It is also worth noting that as soon as Jonathan Hobin spoke out to the media, Radar Online’s original 88-page report shrunk by twenty-seven pages to a mere 61-page-report! Clearly, haste was made to scrub the documents clean of those faked photos. And it was only within days of the mysterious vanishing act of those twenty-seven missing pages that a new ‘distraction’ story was planted by long time Jackson family ‘frenemy’ Stacy Brown regarding false and slanderous allegations about Jackson’s nephews. That was an allegation first raised by the prosecution when some ‘questionable’ photos were seized of Jackson and three of his nephews – Taj, Terryl, and TJ Jackson of the pop group 3T.

– 

However, as it turned out, those ‘photos’ in question were actually part of a professional album shoot for 3T’s debut album, Brotherhood, an album Michael Jackson produced. More specifically, as stated, the photos in question were part of the photo shoot for the single ‘Why’ which featured Michael Jackson in a ‘guest vocalist’ capacity. This was a professional photo shoot that was conducted by celebrity photographer Jonathan Exley, and according to Jackson’s makeup artist Karen Faye, who was present for the shoot, was carried out in the full company of hundreds of witnesses who were also present for the shoot. The photos in question are sexy, and undeniably, the intent was to play up the ‘beefcake’ appeal to the group’s mostly young female fanbase. In any case, the concept for the album photo shoot was not Jackson’s. And the fact that the prosecution tried so desperately to even construe an album photo shoot as ‘evidence’ against Jackson should tell you something. It also should tell you a lot about what is happening now, with many of these same items that were so obviously twisted out of context a decade ago now being recycled to provide fresh media fodder.

This was not the only incident in which the prosecution had attempted to misconstrue and misappropriate elements of Jackson’s art as ‘evidence.’ On page 73 of the original Radar Online documents, a Polaroid photo depicting two boys from a Hollywood movie set is described as having the inscription ‘Are You Scared Yet?’ and ‘Ha Ha!’ across the bottom. A handwritten note scribbled between the lines of the official report (not present in the original report, and interestingly in what appears to be the same handwriting as the added note on Page 25 above) states that this is a ‘Code message equating safety to sex-frighten child and get them in bed.’ Except there is a huge problem with this theory: As any diehard Jackson fan knows,  ‘Are you scared yet?’ is the famous tagline from Jackson’s 1997 film Ghosts. To attempt to construe this as being anything ‘other’ than a harmless reference to Ghosts is pure speculation. But it is typical of the manner in which the prosecution attempted to build its case against Jackson.

However, these additional notes were obviously added to the original reports before they were handed over to Radar Online, as were the inserted internet images and several pages of inserted articles relating the drug Percocet to sex addiction. Percocet, a prescription painkiller that gained notoriety following the recent investigation into Prince’s death, was found on the premises during the 2003 raid; however, the original documents make no such claim as attempting to link the drug to sex addiction. Curiously, many of the added pages all bear one thing in common – the date 1/10/16 – which would appear to date the time of the forgery to approximately five months prior to the orchestrated timing of their ‘release’ on June 20th. 

Unfortunately, the media has become an all too willing participant, creating a skewered picture in which tabloid sensationalism and spotty fact checking are allowed to stand. What’s more, it seems even the words of the actual authorities involved in the 2003-2005 case against Jackson are being ignored beneath an onslaught of ‘click bait’ headlines and grossly exaggerated reporting. Some unscrupulous reporters have even gone so far as to suggest Jackson could have molested his own children – an utterly absurd and ridiculous claim that has no basis in actual fact, and what’s more, is a particularly cruel and malicious slander against a man for whom his children have never expressed anything other than loving adoration. It is also an inexcusable exercise in emotional cruelty towards Jackson’s children, one of whom is still a minor child and one who has already attempted suicide due to her emotionally fragile state since her father’s passing. I find it even more disturbing that no one has thought to raise the question of ethical media or moral responsibility in all of this. To accuse someone of the possession of child pornography is to accuse someone of a criminal offense – one that, if the accused person were alive, would be an accusation worthy of a criminal conviction and the permanent label of a sex offender. But a living person can at least take action against such media libel. They can sue for defamation. They can refute the claims. They can defend themselves. The dead have no such redress, and there is something inherently wrong with the idea of bringing such serious accusations against a man who is not here to defend himself – one who had his day in court eleven years ago –, and what’s worse, to attempt to retry him in the court of public opinion based on the same circumstantial ‘evidence’ with which the prosecution tried-and failed-to convict him back in 2005.

Where does the insanity end? 

Seven years ago, we lost an amazing artist, man, and humanitarian. Recently, in the wake of the tragic shooting in Orlando, people gathered en masse for a candlelight vigil and sang Jackson’s ‘Heal The World.’ From Ferguson, Missouri and Black Lives Matter to recent events in Paris and Orlando, Jackson’s music remains our call to awakening, reminding us of the need to be brought together as a global family. No doubt, with even more recent tragic events that have ignited our nation’s racial divide this week, people will once again turn to Jackson’s music, as they always have, for its power to heal and unite.

Frankly, if the world spent a lot more time listening to the words Michael Jackson wrote, rather than obsessing over what he had in his bedroom, we would be the better off. Jackson’s personal life has already been well dissected. He was put through a grueling and publicly humiliating trial that left nothing to the imagination – his inner sanctity completely ransacked, his most private possessions put up for public inspection; even his own body violated.

Charles Thomson’s excellent 2013 article One Of The Most Shameful Episodes In Journalistic History, is a harrowing account of that trial’s media coverage and the toll it took on Jackson. Sadly, nothing has changed. My point is that there is nothing new here to see. All of this ‘evidence’ was hashed out in court a decade ago. So why is Radar Online so gleefully jumping on this fabricated smear campaign, regurgitating decades old information for which Michael Jackson has long been tried for, and acquitted? Why the need to bait a gullible public into believing that a list of items that was reviewed and dismissed as ‘evidence’ twelve years ago is somehow front page burning news in 2016?

[Listen to Charles Thomson on the allegations against Michael Jackson in Leaving Neverland:]

Strangely, perhaps, the first thing I thought of when this story hit was the recently renewed controversy over the Confederate flag. President Obama said that the Confederate flag needs to be retired permanently to a museum, where it can be remembered and viewed as a part of history, but should not be flown as an act of defiance for an ideal that no longer exists. I feel the same way about all of this regurgitated information from Michael Jackson’s trial. Those documents (the real ones, that is) have resided in the Santa Barbara County records’ department for over a decade. They are a part of history, but no longer relevant. The trial ended in acquittal on all fourteen counts on June 13th, 2005, and Michael Jackson died on June 25th, 2009.

But just as there are some individuals who will never accept that the Civil War ended in 1865, so, too, is a faction who will never accept that Michael Jackson was fully exonerated by a court of law in 2005. To this end, they will continue to lie, to rehash and sensationalize old stories, to distort truth and yes, even to fabricate new ‘evidence’ where none exists. I can only see this as a thinly veiled attempt to keep an old battle going that has already long been fought – and won.

If you read this and agree that we need better laws to protect the deceased against this kind of slander, please sign the petition for the Anti-Defamation Legacy Law Advocates. It is an initiative that, if passed into law, will enable the heirs of deceased persons the same laws and protection against libel in the media as living persons currently have.”

V. ON THE CASES OF WADE ROBSON AND JAMES SAFECHUCK

After passing away in 2009, it seems Michael Jackson is finally able to R.I.P. Only five months after the pop star’s death, Evan Chandler follows him by committing suicide (November 5, 2009).

Ten years after his death, however, Michael Jackson’s rest in the public eye is over once again. This time the late pop singer is charged with allegations of child sexual abuse by James Safechuck and Wade Robson.

In 2016, Radar Online launches a forged report about Michael Jackson’s adult erotica collection, which once again leads to unchecked reports in the (tabloid) media. The report is proven false and Radar Online deletes 27 pages of its original 88-page report (see the above excerpts from the article by Raven Woods for more detailed information). However, the damage to Jackson’s public image is done, for the umpteenth time. The forged document points in the direction of (sources around) Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Whatever the case, both men’s stories tap into the widely held idea of public opinion that Michael Jackson could have been a pedophile and child molester.

In an article for Forbes (What You Should Know About the New Michael Jackson Documentary, January 29, 2019), Joe Vogel summarizes some defining facts regarding the history of the new allegations:

“When Michael Jackson died in 2009, Wade Robson – the former choreographer whose allegations of abuse are at the center of a controversial new documentary, Leaving Neverland – wrote in tribute to his friend:

‘Michael Jackson changed the world and, more personally, my life forever. He is the reason I dance, the reason I make music, and one of the main reasons I believe in the pure goodness of humankind. He has been a close friend of mine for 20 years. His music, his movement, his personal words of inspiration and encouragement and his unconditional love will live inside of me forever. I will miss him immeasurably, but I know that he is now at peace and enchanting the heavens with a melody and a moonwalk.’

Robson was twenty-seven years old at the time. Four years earlier, he testified at Jackson’s 2005 trial (as an adult) that nothing sexual ever happened between them. Prior to the trial Robson hadn’t seen Jackson for years and was under no obligation to be a witness for the defense. He faced a withering cross-examination, understanding the penalty of perjury for lying under oath. But Robson adamantly, confidently, and credibly asserted that nothing sexual ever happened.

What changed between then and now? A few things:

In 2011, Robson approached John Branca, co-executor of the Michael Jackson Estate, about directing the new Michael Jackson/Cirque du Soleil production, ONE. Robson admitted he wanted the job ‘badly,’ but the Estate ultimately chose someone else for the position.

In 2012, Robson had a nervous breakdown, triggered, he said, by an obsessive quest for success. His career, in his own words, began to ‘crumble.’

That same year, with Robson’s career, finances, and marriage in peril, he began shopping a book that claimed he was sexually abused by Michael Jackson. No publisher picked it up.

In 2013, Robson filed a $1.5 billion dollar civil lawsuit/creditor’s claim, along with James Safechuck, who also spent time with Jackson in the late ’80s. Safechuck claimed he only realized he may have been abused when Robson filed his lawsuit. That lawsuit was dismissed by a probate court in 2017.

In 2019, the Sundance Film Festival premiered a documentary based entirely on Robson and Safechuck’s allegations. While the documentary is obviously emotionally disturbing given the content, it presents no new evidence or witnesses. The film’s director, Dan Reed, acknowledged not wanting to interview other key figures because it might complicate or compromise the story he wanted to tell.”

STRIKING SIMILARITIES BETWEEN JAMES SAFECHUCK’S STORY ESPECIALLY AND THE GUTIÉRREZ NARRATIVE

At this point it is good to remember some facts about Víctor Gutiérrez and some other people who like to tell salacious stories about Michael Jackson.

On January 9, 1995, Diane Dimond, reporter for the American tabloid news television show Hard Copy, announces on KABC-AM radio’s popular morning show that the police has reopened its investigation against Jackson (following the Chandler case) because of an alleged 27 minute video tape, captured by a security camera. Dimond describes the acts of molestation on the alleged tape, although she has not seen the material herself. She attributes the story to one of her “best sources.” Later that day, Víctor Gutiérrez appears on Hard Copy as that source.

The whole story turns out to be a total fabrication. The alleged tape does not exist. The only person who claims to have seen it is Gutiérrez. According to him, it shows how Michael molests his nephew, Jeremy Jackson. Apart from Jeremy himself, his mother Margaret Maldonado also vehemently denies Michael ever molested Jeremy. She recalls the whole story in her 1995 book Jackson Family Values: Memories of Madness (Newstar Press, 1995) and concludes:

“Dimond’s claims were based on the word of a freelance writer named Víctor Gutiérrez. The story was an outrageous lie. Not one part of it was true. I’d never met the man. There was no tape. Michael never paid me for my silence. He had never molested Jeremy. Period.”

Besides being unable to produce the alleged tape, Gutiérrez makes matters worse for himself with the publication of his book on Chandler and Jackson, which contains more claims that are proven false.

The fake Jeremy Jackson tape story is just one of many Gutiérrez comes up with. At some point he also claims that Michael Jackson is investigated by the FBI for molesting two Mexican boys. Jackson’s FBI files however show no such investigation ever happened.

Michael Jackson eventually sues both Dimond and Gutiérrez. Dimond escapes the slander suit against her and Gutiérrez, but in April 1998 Gutiérrez is ordered to pay Jackson $2.7 million in damages. Unable to pay, Gutiérrez flees the US and files bankruptcy.

Besides people like Víctor Gutiérrez and Diane Dimond, Stacy Brown also has a history of reporting false stories about Michael Jackson to the tabloids. In 2016, for instance, Brown rehashes an old allegation about Michael and three of his nephews – Taj, Terryl, and TJ Jackson of the pop group 3T. Taj himself is a victim of child sexual abuse and is now among the most outspoken defenders of his uncle against the allegations made by Robson and Safechuck. The allegation concerning “3T” has long been proven completely false, and yet Brown relaunches it in 2016 (see above, the excerpts from the Huffington Post article by Raven Woods).

Watch Taj defend his uncle Michael Jackson against the allegations in Leaving Neverland:

The names of Diane Dimond and Stacy Brown resurface already at the beginning of the new allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck against Michael Jackson. Just a day after Robson goes public with his accusations, Stacy Brown tweets that he knows about another accuser ready to come forward. Yet another day later a user on a Jackson forum reports that this other accuser (James Safechuck, as we now know) is looking for someone to write his story, based on a statement from a website where the Brown tweet is posted.

In May 2014 James Safechuck files a creditor’s claim, demanding monetary damages for child sexual abuse. Diane Dimond is the first to report this news and claims to receive her information from “sources close to the case.”

Both Stacy Brown and Diane Dimond are familiar with Víctor Gutiérrez’s book Michael Jackson Was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler (Alamo Square Distributors, 1996). It is a book replete with pedophiliac fantasies about an alleged mutual sexual relationship between a man (Michael Jackson) and a child (Jordan Chandler). It is by now a well-established and proven fact that the allegations in the book, made by Gutiérrez against Michael Jackson regarding Jordan Chandler, are completely false (see above). The book is full of events and statements which are demonstrably false, even according to Jackson’s accusers. Nevertheless, in 1995 Diane Dimond calls Gutiérrez one of her “best sources” (see above).

In the publicly available second amended complaint of James Safechuck’s lawsuit, Safechuck gives a detailed description about Michael Jackson’s alleged abuse. It turns out to be a collection of sexual acts that are also described in the book on Jordan Chandler and Michael Jackson by Gutiérrez. Safechuck’s story is very similar to the one recounted in Gutiérrez’s book of fiction. The book may have had an indirect influence on the way the story of Safechuck is presented, through people like Stacy Brown and Diane Dimond. But Gutiérrez’s book may also have had a direct influence. After all, Safechuck is thanked in the book’s Author’s Notes by Gutiérrez.

Whatever the case, the following notes describe the striking similarities between Safechuck’s story in his second amended complaint and the book by Víctor Gutiérrez. All references below to Safechuck’s lawsuit are from this document.

On page 79 of his book, Gutiérrez describes a disgusting scene where Michael Jackson, Brett Barnes, and Jordan Chandler are together in Jackson’s private suite in Neverland, and Jackson puts his finger in Brett Barnes’s and Jordan Chandler’s anus. The scene in Gutiérrez’s book is nothing but Gutiérrez’s perverted vision. But the exact same act is described in Safechuck’s lawsuit, right down there to him asking Jackson not to do it again, which is exactly the same as in Gutiérrez’s book.

On page 135 of his book, Gutiérrez mentions a medallion. Exactly the same medallion is mentioned in Safechuck’s lawsuit. In the book Michael Jackson gives the medallion to Wade Robson. In Safechuck’s lawsuit Jackson gives it to Safechuck.

On pages 57-58 of his book, Gutiérrez writes that Jackson rents “historic and foreign themes” movies wherein kids are masturbating. Gutiérrez turns out to be the only one who ever claimed that Jackson rented such movies. It is a proven lie. In his lawsuit, Safechuck claims that Jackson showed him “foreign books.”

On page 40 of his book, Gutiérrez puts words in Jordan’s mouth and has Jordan describe how Jackson is jealous of a girl Jordan likes. According to the book, Jackson tries to prevent any type of relationship between Jordan and the girl, and he sends her away. The girl in question is Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis. In reality, however, Jackson is known to play with her like he plays with her brother Albert and with Jordan. There is no difference, so the story of Jackson’s alleged jealousy is once again a piece of fiction by Gutiérrez. Safechuck describes the same phenomenon in his lawsuit, claiming that Jackson is jealous of the girls Safechuck likes. He also claims that Jackson tries to make him dislike Sheryl Crow, whom Safechuck has a crush on. In his book, Gutiérrez also claims that Jackson teaches Jordan Chandler to hate women. In his lawsuit, Safechuck claims that Jackson teaches him how “mean women are.” Furthermore, Gutiérrez claims in his book that Jackson consistently talks about women in a negative manner, pointing to their physical flaws. Once again, this is an allegation only found in Gutiérrez’s book.

On pages 37-38 of his book, Gutiérrez writes about Jackson’s nose and band aid in a humiliating manner. In his lawsuit, Safechuck refers to Jackson’s nose and band aid in a humiliating manner.

On page 191 of his book, Gutiérrez claims that Jackson married only so he could pass for a man. In Safechuck’s lawsuit, Safechuck claims that Jackson married to protect his public perception.

On page 78 of his book, Gutiérrez quotes employees talking about Jackson’s alleged molestation disturbingly nonchalantly. He also writes that these employees know about the molestation but do nothing to prevent it. Moreover, he claims that they talk about the boys as if they are in a legitimate relationship with Michael Jackson (an “affair”). In the book Melanie Bangall, a security guard says “all of us knew Jackson had sexual relations with boys and at times we would see them conversing like a couple.” In another part Estella Lemarque is allegedly quoted saying that she “was not supposed to speak about any of the relationships between Jackson and the boys. But everyone at the ranch knew. We would all joke about it including the guards. It’s a big joke.” In Safechuck’s lawsuit it’s Mariano Quindoy who is quoted saying that “there was gossip among the staff.” Quindoy is also quoted saying that the staff thought they were “having an affair.”

On page 50 of his book, Gutiérrez once again puts words in Jordan Chandler’s mouth about a trip with Jackson and lets Chandler say: “It was fun. I felt very special waiting for the moment of the honeymoon as we called it, when we could be alone.” Quindoy also once describes a situation between Jackson and a boy “like they were having a honeymoon.”

Throughout his book, Gutiérrez’s fantasies include recurring elements: the discovery of boy’s underwear on the floor or in the jacuzzi; Jackson molesting boys in the car, in the shower, the bath or the jacuzzi; scenes of oral sex; Norma Staikos warning people not to leave their children alone with Jackson.

In the 1994 PBS Frontline documentary Tabloid Truth: The Michael Jackson Scandal, Safechuck’s so-called witness Mariano Quindoy claims: “I seen the undergarment of the child lying on the bed or on the floor.”

Mariano Quindoy and his wife Faye are both ex-employees of Michael Jackson. After the Chandler case, they come up with a diary in which they allegedly documented the sexual acts committed by Jackson. Perhaps unsurprisingly by now, the Quindoy diary bears all the marks of the forged Gutiérrez diary. Gutiérrez even has a picture full of boy underwear in his book and claims that the underwear belongs to Jordan Chandler (one of the many things in Gutiérrez’s book that is proven false).

The aforementioned 1994 Frontline documentary Tabloid Truth already exposes the Quindoys for being opportunist liars, selling salacious “boy stories” about Michael Jackson to tabloid media for big money. Not even reporters of The Sun – a notorious tabloid paper – believe them. Nevertheless, in his lawsuit James Safechuck refers to Mariano Quindoy as a witness.

Watch the 1994 Frontline documentary Tabloid Truth: The Michael Jackson Scandal here:

By the way, in his lawsuit against Michael Jackson, Wade Robson also refers to another dubious witness, namely Jackson’s former maid Blanca Francia. Francia is yet another of Gutiérrez’s contacts (see above). The publicly available court documents of Robson reveal that he told two contradictory versions of a story that has him shower with Michael Jackson, allegedly witnessed by Blanca Francia. Although the versions of the story contradict each other, there is one feature that remains: underwear on the floor.

According to the prosecution “prior acts” motion of the 2004-2005 trial against Jackson following the allegations of the Arvizo family, Blanca Francia already sees underwear on the floor while working in Jackson’s former home in Encino. She specifically mentions having seen Jonathan Spence’s underwear. Jonathan Spence has never accused Jackson of anything. Moreover, when Wade Robson tries to get Spence’s cooperation for the lawsuit in which he attacks Jackson, Spence files a motion wherein he accuses Robson of “abominable” conduct instead of joining him. It is also strange that Blanca Francia calls Michael Jackson “My Michael” while working for him, and that she brings her own son to Neverland to meet Jackson long after Jackson has left Encino. In a 2016 deposition she admits that she would not have called Jackson “My Michael” if she would have believed he was molesting kids (so even after allegedly seeing boy’s underwear on the floor!).

It is important to note that Blanca Francia repeatedly claims that she never saw Michael Jackson shower with anyone in her sworn depositions following the Chandler case. However, in a Diane Dimond interview for tabloid television show Hard Copy, on December 15, 1993, Francia claims to have witnessed Jackson showering in the nude with Wade Robson. When she takes the witness stand in the Arvizo case against Michael Jackson, on April 5, 2005, Francia officially admits that she received $20,000 from Hard Copy for the interview, which is more than the amount of money she annually earned at the time. It is but one element in the stories of Francia that makes her an unreliable witness. Nevertheless, Wade Robson refers to her as a witness in his lawsuit.

Let’s get back to Safechuck’s story. On page 146 of Gutiérrez’s book on Jordan Chandler and Michael Jackson, Estella Lemarque says that Norma Staikos warns her to be friendly with the Safechuck family, because, allegedly according to Staikos, they are the ones who could hurt Michael. In Safechuck’s lawsuit, it is Staikos who warns Mr. Quindoy and Ms. Orietta Murdock (another ex-employee of Jackson who is mentioned in Gutiérrez’s book) not to leave their children alone with Michael Jackson. Gutiérrez claims that he first contacts Orietta Murdock following the 1986 NAMBLA conference he participated in. It is known that Murdock sued Jackson’s company for wrongful termination.

On pages 78-79 of his book, Gutiérrez claims that Michael Jackson is careful whenever others are around while Jackson is together with Jordan Chandler. In Safechuck’s lawsuit, Michael Jackson is stated to be careful when others are around while being with Safechuck.

On page 80 of his book, Gutiérrez claims that Jackson makes boys drink alcohol on Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. In Safechuck’s lawsuit, Jackson makes Safechuck drink alcohol in Jackson’s condo.

The Arvizos also make the allegation about Michael Jackson having them drink alcohol in the 2005 trial against Jackson. This allegation is completely debunked during that trial. Numerous testimonies confirm that the Arvizos did not get alcohol from Jackson. On the contrary, the testimonies all confirm that the Arvizos stole alcohol from Jackson and drank it behind his back. Even Chris Carter, a witness for the prosecution, contradicts the Arvizos and testifies that Jackson did not share an alcoholic beverage with Gavin Arvizo on an airplane (although the Arvizos claimed the opposite).

In this context, it is important to note how Wade Robson in the 2019 film Leaving Neverland expresses surprise about Michael Jackson asking for alcohol at a BBQ in 2008.

On pages 21-22 of his book, Gutiérrez claims that Jordan Chandler is jealous of Brett Barnes. In Safechuck’s lawsuit, Safechuck is jealous of Brett Barnes.

Both Gutiérrez and Safechuck (and Robson) suggest that Brett Barnes is a victim of “Michael Jackson, the pedophile” and that Jackson switches to him once Safechuck becomes too old. The fact is that Brett Barnes has always and consistently defended Michael Jackson, even more vehemently in the wake of the Leaving Neverland film.

On pages 50, 56, 64, 77 and 85 of his book, Gutiérrez writes that Jordan Chandler and Michael Jackson are a couple who are having a “honeymoon.” In Safechuck’s lawsuit, Safechuck and Jackson are stated to have had a “faux committed relationship” wherein Jackson “married” Safechuck.

On page 23 and page 80 of his book, Gutiérrez claims that Michael Jackson is cruel and sadistic. In Safechuck’s lawsuit, Michael Jackson is stated to have been cruel and sadistic. Regarding these allegations, it is helpful to re-read the excerpts from the Huffington Post article by Raven Woods (see above).

SOME MORE PRELIMINARY FACTS REGARDING WADE ROBSON’S STORY

On May 1, 2013, Wade Robson files a creditor’s claim against Michael Jackson’s Estate in the Probate Court. It is the first type of legal action against Jackson’s entities. Together with the creditor’s claim, Robson also takes another type of legal action in the Civil Court. He files a civil lawsuit against two of Michael Jackson’s companies, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures.

In both cases Wade Robson demands huge monetary compensations for alleged child sexual abuse.

Under US law it is possible to file any sort of creditor’s claim against a deceased person’s Estate. However, there are certain statutes of limitations. In order to be able to receive monetary compensations, a claimant has to file the creditor’s claim no later than 60 days from the date when the claimant first has knowledge of the facts reasonably giving rise to the existence of the claim. Furthermore, the claimant has to file the claim no later than 60 days from the date the claimant has knowledge of the administration of the deceased person’s Estate.

TWO LIES OF WADE ROBSON, APPARENTLY TO DEFEND HIS RIGHT TO MONETARY COMPENSATIONS

THE FIRST LIE

In his creditor’s claim, Robson asserts that he did not know about the administration of Michael Jackson’s Estate until March 4, 2013, when he first meets with his lawyers Henry Gradstein and Maryann Marzano. This is a blatant lie, which is shown during the Probate Court proceedings. Here is an overview of some facts about the matter:

  • Already in 2009, Wade Robson makes an entry in The Official Michael Jackson Opus, a book that is approved and endorsed by Jackson’s Estate.
  • In 2011, Wade Robson is very eager to work on Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson show, which is a co-operation between Cirque du Soleil and Jackson’s Estate. Robson even makes a visit to the office of John Branca, one of the Michael Jackson Estate’s executors.
  • In late 2012, early 2013, Wade Robson is shopping a book about his allegations. The negotiations with publishers are assisted by his longtime lawyer and family acquaintance, Helen Yu. On November 25, 2009, the website of Yu’s law firm publishes an interview with Yu, entitled Musical Artists: Worth More Dead Than Alive? Michael Jackson and Elvis Generate Millions for their Estates. Among other things, the article mentions the following:

“Since Michael Jackson’s death, the world can now see the true light of Michael’s legacy. Posthumous homages have been done by Helen Yu representing Michael Jackson protégé Wade Robson and his friend Charles Klapow.

[…]

Helen says, ‘I’ve known Wade Robson and Charles Klapow since they were both little kids. They have both been disciples of Michael all their lives, and it’s great to see them honoring him in this way.’

[…]

Yu, who once attended a pre-auction viewing of the possessions of the still living King of Pop, notes the unprecedented earning power of the now deceased Jackson. ‘He was certainly an amazing songwriter, performer and dancer, but he sometimes let the wrong people in. Now that his estate’s advisors are John Branca and John McClain, music industry veterans who know how to monetize the business, unfortunately, he will most likely earn more dead than alive.”

It is not at all credible that Yu would not share the information about Jackson’s Estate with her client Wade Robson when she is shopping a book deal (that eventually never materializes) on his behalf.

It is important to note that the information about Robson’s and his lawyer’s book shopping does not come out until after the closing of the Probate Court case. Michael Jackson’s defense comes across this information only in 2016, while doing investigations for the civil lawsuit. Robson claims to have “forgotten” to share this information, so it played no role in the Probate Court’s negative decision on the creditor’s claim, although it could have been yet one more factor to dismiss the claim. Anyway, the evidence about Robson’s encounters with Jackson’s Estate in 2011 are enough to show that he lied about not knowing the Estate.

If Robson’s claim about not knowing the Estate would have been true, the filing of his lawsuit indeed fell within the required time frame of 60 days, as he filed his creditor’s claim on May 1, 2013. The above mentioned facts indeed show that he lied. Moreover, Wade Robson also lied about the other important part of the creditor’s claim, namely about the time when he first realized he had a course of action.

THE SECOND LIE

Wade Robson claims that he had no understanding of being sexually abused as a child by Michael Jackson until May 8, 2012, when he first discloses the alleged acts of child sexual abuse to his therapist. He claims that, until then, he interpreted the alleged acts as loving and consensual. Once again trying to get around statutes of limitations, Wade Robson claims that Michael Jackson’s alleged threats to him (such as Jackson allegedly saying that they were both going to jail and that both their careers would be over if anyone found out about their “relationship”) prevented him to file a claim before May 1, 2013.

The Probate Court dismisses Robson’s arguments. The Court’s ruling states that at least by the time of Jackson’s death, Robson is well aware that a sexual relationship between an adult and a minor is a crime, and that a victim does not go to jail for such alleged acts. The following quotes are from the Ruling on Submitted Matter – Motion for Summary Judgement – Wade Robson’s Late Claim Petition (BP117321, May 26, 2015), 3; page 15:

“[Robson] knew at the time of [Jackson’s] death in June 2009 that it was a crime for an adult to engage in sexual conduct with a minor.

[…]

[Robson] understood in June 2009 that minors are not criminally prosecuted when an adult engages in sexual conduct with them.”

Apart from the Probate Court’s ruling, it is also quite unlikely that Wade Robson did not understand the nature of Jackson’s alleged sexual conduct with him already earlier than 2009. After all, in the Arvizo case of 2005 regarding alleged child sexual abuse by Michael Jackson, an already adult Robson is a key witness for the defense. Also note that it would have been extremely risky on Michael Jackson’s part to allow Robson as a defense witness if the alleged sexual acts between him and Robson during Robson’s childhood were true.

In any case, it seems Wade Robson wanted to secure his right to the monetary compensations of his creditor’s claim by blatantly lying. This alleged plan of his did not come true in this case. Nevertheless, in Leaving Neverland Robson repeats the above mentioned stories without blinking an eye, which raises serious issues regarding director Dan Reed’s responsibility as a reporter.

OTHER ISSUES REGARDING WADE ROBSON’S STORY 

It is clear by now that a long series of first contacts between Michael Jackson and the Robson family were not instigated by Michael Jackson, although Leaving Neverland suggests the opposite. On the contrary, Wade Robson’s mother Joy went to great lengths to make her family part of Jackson’s life to push her son’s career opportunities. Moreover, most of the times that the Robson family visited Michael Jackson’s home Neverland Ranch, Jackson wasn’t even there. More information and facts about this issue can be found at the The Michael Jackson Allegations website. Many other issues and problems regarding Wade Robson’s and James Safechuck’s allegations are described there, like them meeting each other as adults way before the Leaving Neverland film.

In the beginning of his “realization process,” Wade Robson e-mails tabloid stories about himself and Michael Jackson to his own e-mail address and to his mother, asking his mother questions about the veracity of those stories. He also e-mails false tabloid reports about Michael Jackson’s alleged child sexual abuse to himself. Maybe he is trying to get his own story straight (whether true or not), so it looks like other stories regarding Michael Jackson; the same seems to go for James Safechuck, whose story is practically copy/paste from Gutiérrez’s fictional story on Jordan Chandler and Michael Jackson.

In the final credits of Leaving Neverland, Wade Robson can be seen burning a sequin glove and a jacket from the music video for Michael Jackson’s song Thriller. Director Dan Reed claims in an interview with VICE that photographic evidence “suggests those were the real deal.”

In 2011, Julien’s Auctions handle an auction of Jackson memorabilia. Not sure of the validity of the items burned by Wade Robson in the documentary Leaving Neverland, a few fans ask the auction house for help to determine whether the items burned by Robson are the real deal. The auction house responds by saying:

“Wade consigned his collection to us directly. He was the person who we paid when we sold his collection. He needed the money.”

The auction house adds:

“Wade asked to remain anonymous and said that he did not want anyone to know that it was him selling the items in 2011. But we did not agree to that and listed it as the Wade Robson collection. He consigned multiple items and wanted us to sell all items of his that had value.”

Julien’s website mentions two sold items from the Wade Robson collection: a pair of black spandex, fingerless forearm gloves from the music video for Bad and a fedora from the music video for Smooth Criminal.

The fedora sold for $49,920 and the gloves fetched $31,250.

Apparently, Robson follows the observation of his lawyer Helen Yu, who around that time notices the “unprecedented earning power of the now deceased Jackson” (see above).

To conclude this segment, readers are invited to ponder upon the following psychological issues:

  • Wade Robson claims that the alleged abuse takes place while Michael Jackson is under FBI investigation for child sexual abuse following the Chandler case. Moreover, Michael Jackson is noticeably exhausted by the Chandler case, both mentally and physically. How likely is it that Jackson would have abused yet another child under those circumstances?
  • How likely is it that an alleged perpetrator of child sexual abuse would allow his defense team to call one of his alleged former victims to the stand as an adult in his defense (as a key witness!)?
  • Wade Robson dates Michael Jackson’s niece Brandi Jackson during the time of the alleged abuse. The relationship between the two lasts about 8 years. Nowadays, Brandi Jackson vehemently defends her uncle:
  • According to the Probate Court’s ruling, Wade Robson must have understood by the time of Michael Jackson’s passing, that the sexual acts he accuses the late Michael Jackson of, are acts of child sexual abuse. Would you write the following about your abuser (without anyone forcing you to write anything)? This is what Wade Robson writes about Michael Jackson in the 2009 book The Official Michael Jackson Opus, published after Jackson’s death:

“My Mentor by Wade Robson

I used to talk to Michael for three hours a day. I never really worked out how he came to find so much time because he seemed so busy, but he would ring me and we would talk and talk and talk. When he got a cell phone he would call and text all the time. It was part of an amazing friendship that lasted for 20 years.

I had first met Michael when he was kicking off his Bad tour in 1987. I was five, but Michael’s company were holding a dance competition in every country and I entered the one in Brisbane. I remember being a kid and dancing to his video – the first ever I saw was “Thriller” when I was two. It was my mum’s tape and I just went nuts over it. I used to run into the kitchen scared every time the werewolf came on. By the time I was three I had pretty much learned its entire choreography.

I ended up winning the dance competition. We went to see Michael in Brisbane and at a meet and greet I was introduced to him. I remember wearing a custom made outfit from “Bad” – my mum’s belt was wrapped around me, like five times. Michael was impressed and asked me if I had danced. I told him that I did and he said “Do you want to perform with me in the show tomorrow night?”

I couldn’t believe it. He was due to play Brisbane the next night. His idea was for me to come out for the last song of the show which was “Bad.” He was bringing on some orphaned children so he figured it would be cool to bring me out in the full “Bad” outfit. At the end of the song we were all onstage- Stevie Wonder was there too and Michael came on and said “Come on.” I took it as him meaning “Get into it!” I moved downstage and threw my hat into the crowd and started going crazy. When I turned around Michael was saying goodbye to the crowd, the other kids were gone and Stevie Wonder was being escorted off. What he meant was “Come on lets go, It’s over.”

When I realized, I ran off. After, my mum and I spent two hours with Michael into his hotel and we became friends. He showed us clips from the new Moonwalker he was working on and we talked and talked. We didn’t really stay in contact but I joined a dance company – literally the next day and two years later I was in America to play at Disneyland. I got in touch with Michael through his people, he remembered me. Me and my family went to Record One Studio where he was mixing the Dangerous Album. I showed him some of my dance videos and he said to me. “Do you and your family want to come to Neverland tonight?” We all agreed and ended up staying for two weeks.

Our friendship blossomed. For two weeks he’d take me into his dance studio, put some music on and we’d dance and jam for hours. We’d sit there and watch films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Other times we’d just leave Neverland and drive out in a car, blasting music really loud.

He even taught me how to do the moonwalk. We were in his dance studio. He taught me foot by foot. I couldn’t sleep that whole night. The thrill of pushing off the bar and sliding backwards in a moonwalk with the guy that made it famous was so exciting.

Later, me and my mum wanted to move to America to pursue my dreams of becoming a dancer and he helped us out. He gave me a big start by putting me in some of his videos like “Black or White.” The role he took on was one of a mentor.

He told me when I was seven that I’d be a film director and that’s what I became, he created a thirst for knowledge in me. Once, a mini recording studio turned up on my doorstep, but what was cool was that he stopped me from becoming a spoiled brat. He would say “This is for you, but I want to see you do something with it. Don’t take it for granted or I’ll take it back.”

The last time I saw him was in July 2008. I was in Vegas working on a show and he was living there. Me, my wife and him and his three kids had a barbecue. It was the most normal thing in the world. Me and my wife had been to Whole Foods and bought stuff to cook. But when we got there he’d provided loads of catering. I said, “Dude, Why did you bring loads of catering? We’ve got regular food here.” I remember cooking outside while Michael sat there under an umbrella.

We had great times because he was such a caring person. Most of all I’ll miss those phone conversations. I still have my mobile phone with his number on it. I just can’t bear the thoughts of deleting his messages.

Michael Jackson changed the world and, more personally, my life forever. He is the reason I dance, the reason I make music, and one of the main reasons I believe in the pure goodness of human kind. He was a close friend of mine for 20 years. His music, his movement, his personal words of inspiration and encouragement and his unconditional love will live inside of me forever. I will miss him immeasurably, but I know that he is now at peace and enchanting the heavens with a melody and a moonwalk.

 I love you Michael.

  – Wade Robson”

VI. SHORT GENERAL CONCLUSION

Considering all the above mentioned facts, there is indeed a pattern on the side of Michael Jackson’s accusers:

  • Right before all the cases of child sexual abuse that are brought against Michael Jackson, there is a buzz around Michael Jackson and his so-called questionable relationship to children, complete with stories or rehashed stories that are proven false.
  • All the stories of Michael Jackson’s accusers contain significant, proven lies.
  • Michael Jackson’s accusers always demand huge monetary compensations.

Other facts regarding the new allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson in Leaving Neverland should also be considered:

  • The late Michael Jackson sometimes receives children and their families in his two-story bedroom of his Neverland Ranch house. “Little boys” are of no special interest to him, if the amount of time is taken into account that Jackson spends with different family members. Often parents or other people continuously seek contact with Michael Jackson until some children and their families do become part of Jackson’s life, not the other way around.
  • Until now, defamation laws do not protect the reputation of deceased individuals. People cannot be sued for damages against a dead person.
  • Michael Jackson has been subject to many years of extremely thorough police and FBI investigations, the likes of which the world has rarely seen. The only ever officially and juridically established fact about the late Michael Jackson regarding child sexual abuse is that Michael Jackson is innocent of all charges brought against him.

A dramatic, one-sided film like Leaving Neverland, replete with false stories, shocking details and lies from lawsuits that have been declared inadmissible by Probate Court proceedings because of those lies, does not prove a deceased individual’s guilt. On the contrary, in light of the above mentioned facts, it seems the late Michael Jackson, whose life already tragically ended as he was haunted by some (tabloid) media, is the first dead person who is killed once more by people who seem to abuse the #MeToo movement. It is all too easy to read literature with “textbook” examples on child sexual abuse in order to tell a story that thrives on the sentiments of real victims. This way, those victims are abused twice.

The world of the media has much to account for in perpetuating lies, manipulations of facts and questionable suggestions.

The creators of Leaving Neverland suggest, for instance, that Brett Barnes potentially is one of Michael Jackson’s alleged victims. Barnes has always maintained Jackson’s innocence (like child actor Kevin Macaulay Culkin), however, and furiously reacts against the allegations made in Leaving Neverland. Already on May 8, 2013, after Wade Robson’s allegations against Michael Jackson become public, Brett Barnes tweets in Michael Jackson’s defense:

Brett Barnes Tweet on Wade Robson Lies“I wish people would realise, in your last moments on this earth, all the money in the world will be of no comfort. My clear conscience will.”

Enough said.

 

Listen to Kevin Macaulay Culkin’s testimony on Michael Jackson in January, 2019, here:

MJ INNOCENT

Watch Taj Jackson, himself a survivor of child sexual abuse, defend his uncle once again:

POST SCRIPTUM

As the weeks go by, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, questionable facts and blatant lies in Leaving Neverland keep popping up.

People who are following the case might come to the same conclusion as reporter John Ziegler, whose development regarding his ideas on Michael Jackson are summarized here (comparing an article of his after he first watched Leaving Neverland with statements he made after doing some research):

“I’m not a Michael Jackson fan. I presumed Michael Jackson was guilty before the 2005 trial. […] To these days I have suspicions. […] Frankly, the Leaving Neverland movie has done more to convince me that Michael Jackson is innocent than anything else that happened in the last 20-25 years.”

Journalist John Ziegler, 05/03/2019 (excerpts from the mediaite article Michael Jackson Could Be Guilty as Hell, and HBO’s Leaving Neverland Would Still Be Unfair):

“I have never been a fan of music legend Michael Jackson in any significant way. I have also long believed, even before I covered his criminal trial as a Los Angeles radio talk show host, that he was very likely a pedophile.

While I still have some questions about why there is not more compelling corroborating evidence against Jackson at this juncture (when he clearly has no power to keep people quiet), that is not the point of this column. For the purposes of this endeavor, I am presuming Michael Jackson to be guilty as hell, and Robson and Safechuck to be totally telling the truth.

Even factoring in that presupposition, however, what HBO did was very wrong. In the spirit of basic fairness and the avoidance of incredibly bad precedents, which create dangerous new rules, Leaving Neverland should never have been broadcast in its current form.”

Same John Ziegler 17/03/2019 (podcast excerpts):

“There are so many examples how this movie in the last week has been discredited, I hesitate to even go into any of it, because as soon as I do, a leaf stuck out – that’s how bad it is. I mean just yesterday Mark Geragos who is Michael Jackson’s original attorney with regard to the allegations way back then, he tweeted out that he had just been alerted that a quote of his, a clip of his in the movie is completely, totally, taken a hundred per cent out of context, where he is not talking about who and what Dan Reed is implying about.  He was talking about a ton of bricks to bring on these people basically saying “we are going to destroy them”– well, that’s all bullshit. He was not talking about the accusers.

This is one small example of how this movie was made. It’s propaganda. It’s not remotely a documentary. It didn’t remotely care about the truth.

And I’m not even a Michael Jackson fan. I presumed Michael Jackson was guilty before the 2005 trial. The trial made me question it because there was so little evidence and I thought the not guilty verdict was correct. To these days I have suspicions, but the more I learn about all this – almost everything people think about this case is bull crap.

Frankly, the Leaving Neverland movie has done more to convince me that Michael Jackson is innocent than anything else that happened in the last 20-25 years.”

Mike Smallcombe, a Michael Jackson biographer, points to a lie by James Safechuck that is corroborated by private investigator Scott Ross, among others. The following is an excerpt from Michael Jackson biographer hits out at Leaving Neverland accuser (James Brinsford, Mirror UK, March 22, 2019):

“Mike Smallcombe has accused James Safechuck of lying in Dan Reed’s documentary, namely about claiming he had refused to testify for Jackson in his 2005 trial.

At the time the judge ruled there was no evidence that Safechuck had been abused by Jackson, and therefore was not called to testify against the singer when he was eventually cleared of charges of child molestation.

Smallcombe told Mirror Online there were a number of inaccuracies in the alleged victim’s story.

‘In the documentary, Safechuck claims Jackson called him “near the end of the trial” and asked him to testify on his behalf again, as he had done in 1993,’ Smallcombe said.

‘Safechuck said he refused, and that Jackson then “got really angry” and threatened him. He repeated this claim under oath, in his ongoing lawsuit against the Jackson Estate.

However, it simply can’t be true. Very early on in the trial, the judge ruled that he would allow the jury to hear about five boys whom the prosecution claimed were sexually abused by Jackson.

They were Jordan Chandler, Brett Barnes, Jason Francia, Macaulay Culkin and Wade Robson. The judge ruled specifically, that “evidence as to Jimmy Safechuck will not be permitted.” Those were the judge’s exact words.

The judge came to this decision because nobody had ever claimed they had seen Safechuck being abused.

So Jackson could not have asked him to testify, and certainly not near the end of the trial, when the judge had ruled months earlier that evidence about Safechuck would not be permitted.'”

Watch what Scott Ross has to say about the matter here (from an interview for Nicole’s View – Livestream March 3, 2019):

In the aforementioned article, Smallcombe also raises other questionable issues regarding the financial motives behind the lawsuits of Wade Robson and James Safechuck:

“Smallcombe also noted the documentary all but ignores Safechuck’s lawsuits against the Jackson estate for hundreds of millions of dollars, which were dismissed and are currently under appeal.

This is also the case for the documentary’s other main accuser, Wade Robson.

The lawsuit is mentioned fleetingly and director Dan Reed said they both, “have no financial interest in the documentary whatsoever.”

But Smallcombe claims both are in debt to Jackson’s Estate by significant sums, after their lawsuits were thrown out.

He added that Safechuck first told a psychiatrist about the abuse six days after the Safechuck family business was sued for substantial sums of money.

‘Robson owes the Estate almost $70,000 dollars in court costs, and Safechuck owes the Estate several thousand dollars as well,’ Smallcombe said.

‘Safechuck, by his own admission, said he did not “realize” that he had been abused until he saw Robson being interviewed on television in May 16, 2013 about his claim of abuse.

Just two days before this Robson interview, an action to sue the Safechuck family business for hundreds of thousands of dollars was served.

On May 20, 2013, six days after the action to sue was served and four days after Robson’s TV interview, Safechuck said he met with a psychiatrist and discussed his alleged abuse by Jackson for the first time.

Read into that what you will. But both Robson and Safechuck should have been questioned about their motives for trying to get hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the Estate.

These things should have been put to them in the documentary, or by journalists in their television interviews.

We still need to challenge, especially when there are credibility issues.'”

At least the financial motives are also clear from Wade Robson’s lies in his attempts to move around statutes of limitations (see above).

More research by Mike Smallcombe is picked up by mainstream media, finally. NME posted an article, Michael Jackson biographer claims he’s uncovered evidence that could disprove child sex abuse allegations (March 31, 2019), which states the following:

“Speaking to the Mirror Online on Friday (March 29), Smallcombe made reference to the fact that Robson said the abuse started when his family went to the Grand Canyon and he stayed behind with Jackson at Neverland. But Smallcombe claims that Robson’s mother, Joy, told a court under oath in 1993 that Robson actually joined them on them trip.

[…]

Safechuck claimed in his 2014 lawsuit against Jackson’s Estate that he was abused from 1988 until 1992, when he was 14. The alleged victim, now 41, said that he was abused in an upstairs room in Neverland’s train station.

But Smallcombe has uncovered permits that show that the train station was approved for construction on September 2 1993. ‘The deficiency in Safechuck’s story is this,’ he said. ‘Construction on Neverland’s train station didn’t start until the latter part of 1993, and it didn’t open until the first part of 1994, when Safechuck was 16.

So abuse in the train station wasn’t possible if the abuse stopped in 1992, as he claims in his testimony, as it didn’t even exist then. There’s a two year difference.’

Speaking to NME today (March 31), Smallcombe added: ‘These are two extremely detailed and key stories in the documentary – especially in the case of Wade Robson – which have been provably fabricated.

And while this doesn’t categorically rule out that Jackson abused them, it does make you wonder, if they’ve fabricated these stories, what about the rest?'”

In any case, there are serious credibility issues overall, and it seems HBO has allowed to air a documentary on its behalf that is a journalistic disaster.

The issue of child abuse is too grave to allow it to be hijacked by a sensationalist movie about the late Michael Jackson. Because, let’s face it, despite the claims made by director Dan Reed and Oprah Winfrey, the documentary does not so much foster conversations about child abuse as it does foster conversations about journalism, post-truth, “fake news,” witch hunts in the wake of the #MeToo campaign, social media, trial by media, and the criminal justice system.

Tom Mesereau on the 2005 Michael Jackson trial (Harvard Law School, November 5, 2005):

Here is Michael Jackson’s close friend Mark Lester’s reaction to Leaving Neverland:

Watch this trailer from an upcoming testimony about Michael Jackson:

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Dan Reed seems to keep on destroying his own reputation as a “thorough investigator”:

Dan Reed Tweet Harrison FunkHarrison Funk @danreed1000 - 1.jpgHarrison Funk @danreed1000

To Jesus or Not To Jesus? (JECSE, January 22-25, 2019)

2019 started with a bang for some pastoral workers and teachers of Jesuit high schools from all over Europe. From Tuesday January 22nd until Friday January 25th, representatives of pastoral care groups assembled in Manresa, Spain, for a conference that was dubbed Can we talk about Jesus? About 100 participants from 17 countries gathered to learn from each other. The conference was organized by JECSE (Jesuit European Committee for Primary and Secondary Education).

The participants were divided into several “dynamic groups” to exchange experiences and reflections about their work and the speakers of the conference. This proved to be encouraging and inspiring at the same time. Encouraging, because the challenges a Christian pedagogy is faced with are similar across the European continent, and no Jesuit high school has to face these challenges all by itself (we indeed are part of “dynamic groups”). And inspiring, because people could hear new promising ways of dealing with those challenges from their international colleagues.

Manresa 1

Apart from the different workshops, key note speakers Fr. Adrian Porter sj and Fr. José María Rodríguez Olaizola sj gave food for thought and practice. Both these Jesuits mainly focused on the multi-convictional context in which today’s Jesuit high schools have to develop their pedagogical vision.

Adrian Porter went back to the sources of the Jesuit projects, namely the life and spiritual development of the order’s founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. Paradoxically, this “step back” presented a clearer picture of the current situation and of possible answers to that situation. José María presented some important features of the Christian faith and how these features might contribute to an emancipatory project in the face of some of today’s potentially suppressive psychosocial dynamics. The second part of his talk focused on how the emancipatory character of Christian faith could be transmitted. The following text is an attempt to summarize the content of both speeches in a reflective way. The speeches themselves can be found elsewhere.

Shifting Contexts

First of all, concerning the question about the characteristics of the situation in which Jesuit education takes place, it is clear that the context in which Ignatius developed his spiritual life and pedagogical vision is different from today’s context. Ignatius lived his life in countries whose culture was marked by Christian references. It is true that people can still encounter many of those references in contemporary Europe, but they often don’t understand them anymore. The cultural idiom has changed. Therefore, if we want to talk about Jesus at all in a sensible way and in a way that “sticks”, it is important to develop a “Jesus culture” in schools. This can be achieved through a conscious use of images, music, plays and other forms of cultural expression.ESP_Mundosi_500 The Jesuits can build on a long-lasting tradition in that respect. It is no coincidence that the pop band of the Jesuit project MUNDOSI performed at the conference one of the evenings. The group consists of lay people and Jesuits.

Jesuit education has always tried to reconcile human culture and religion. It does not consider “the world” as a place that we should liberate ourselves from to encounter God, but precisely as the place that we can co-develop in a responsible manner in order to find and even please God. This goes right back to the spiritual growth of Ignatius. At first he experienced his new life in the footsteps of great monks and saints in a military fashion (being the knight that he had been, but under different circumstances). Gradually however, he discovered that the spiritual life was not about “abandoning the world” or “conquering the life of a saint over the life of ordinary man,” but about “ordering the life of ordinary man in light of God’s vocation and grace.” Ignatius eventually no longer sought some sort of entitlement to God’s grace through his own efforts, but realized that God’s love had already been given to him apart from his efforts – which is in fact the experience of grace. In Manresa, Ignatius started writing his Spiritual Exercises. The Exercises consist of forty contemplative imaginations of the life of Jesus. Apparently, Ignatius himself developed a “Jesus culture” right from the start. It allowed him to actively accept what he saw as God’s love. Ignatius lived that love as a dynamic that allowed him to give back love and to do things for the good of the world.

One of the things that Ignatius and the first Jesuits developed for the good of the world was good education. An Irish Jesuit at the conference used to hear quite regularly that “the Jesuits know their Cicero better than their Scripture.” From the get-go, Jesuit institutions indeed focused on young people, from all kinds of social backgrounds, who were destined for a worldly career. As Ignatius perceived the world as God-given, a worldly career for the benefit of mankind could very well be a service to God. However, in today’s multi-convictional and also often secularized context, this creates a tension between the expectations of certain parents and the motivations of Jesuit pedagogy.

The Place of Ignatian Spirituality

Many parents are very much interested in the fruits of the Ignatian tradition, a good education for their children. They often are less interested in the sources of that tradition, the belief that it is God who desires human beings to be “fully alive”. Hence it comes as no surprise that a second point addressed by both speakers is the question why we should talk about Jesus if today’s context might not be interested in the so-called “good news” proclaimed by Christianity.

The answer from a merely cultural and pedagogical point of view is, essentially, that the Christian tradition played a major role in human history on several levels – for better or for worse – and that no emancipatory pedagogical project can leave its students in the dark about the way that the Christian tradition co-created the world we are living in. In order to understand and critically question today’s society, we need a basic insight into the worldviews that are still at work in that society. Since the Christian tradition is often no longer explicitly understood in today’s culture, a re-introduction into the Christian cultural idiom might be mandatory. From the sixteenth century onwards, Jesuit education has always given attention to inspiring and influential historical figures from the past, and made those figures known. One workshop in particular, Educating the Hero Within by David Tuohy sj, reclaimed that tradition. It is clear that Ignatius and Jesus are figures who could use a renaissance today.

From a spiritual point of view, the Christian tradition functions as a critical resource vis-à-vis several current and often dominant ideas on happiness, freedom, (religious) faith, the meaning of life and what it means to be human. As Friedrich Sperringer sj made clear in his workshop on his experiences in Kosovo, the focus on Jesus paradoxically might intensify an open and multi-religious conversation about those questions.

In this context, it is noteworthy that the Jesuit order does not take its name from its founder, as is the case with most other religious orders in Christianity. The Jesuits want to stress that, ultimately, Ignatian spirituality is relative to the goal of that spirituality: the challenging emancipatory yet “comforting” encounter with Jesus. Ignatian spirituality is not about Ignatius, it is about Jesus. And if it is about Jesus, then Christian spirituality should – imitating the example of Jesus – imply an openness and respect to people from other cultures and traditions.

Adrian Porter referred to a presentation by Michael R. Carey with the title If You Meet Ignatius on the Road, Kill Him! (for the Jesuits of the Oregon Province and their Collaborators in Ministry – Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington July 30, 1992). Carey explains this title as follows:

If you meet the Buddha on the road kill himThe title is an allusion to the story of the Zen Buddhist master who struggled to bring his disciples along the road to the achievement of satori, or enlightenment. His were good disciples, reflectively reading from the Buddhist scriptures, earnestly chanting their prayers, patiently sitting in zazen, or seated meditation, in front of a great statue of the Buddha. The master understood that the disciples’ focus on Siddhartha Guatama as the historical Buddha might stand in the way of their each individually becoming the Buddha (which means, simply, ‘one who is awake’), so he asked them, ‘What should one do if he should meet the Buddha on the road?’ A few of the disciples attempted answers while others sat in reflection over this new koan, or problem, of their master. Finally, the Zen master warned, ‘If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him!’ It was said that many of his disciples achieved satori on that day. Others, very possibly, became even more confused!

The analogy is clear. If, in our search for the reality of the type of love that is present in Jesus, we get stuck in the Ignatian tradition as such (and its mediators, teachers and pastoral care workers), we should reorient our attitude towards that tradition: it is a means to another end, not an end in itself.

On the other hand, mediators are necessary in spiritual growth. Ignatius followed the example of the saints and of Jesus, and he also acknowledged the importance of intellectual work not to fall in totalitarian forms of subjectivism and relativism – wherein “the other as other” is reduced to a highly personal interpretation or experience of the other. As one participant from the Netherlands expressed it, “spirituality without reason (theology) that is merely about ‘feeling (good)’ is ‘spiritual masturbation’ and is not spirituality at all.” Eventually, every true spirituality fosters love of oneself and of others. Hence it opposes both the tendencies of a totalitarian subjectivism and objectivism.

In a previous post, Left with Right Identity Politics? – A Jewish Challenge, I wrote about the Jewishness of Jesus and the Christian tradition to explain why a truly Christian spirituality takes cultural traditions seriously as it also relativizes them:

Contrary to traditional notions of identity, the Judeo-Christian influence on history instills us with the idea that we are also free individuals. In other words, our identity is not determined by any particular cultural group, history, sexual orientation or even gender we’re born into. As individuals we do not necessarily belong to any particular group except, paradoxically, to humanity. Thus Judaism indeed opens up the possibility to perceive the other as ‘other human being’, irreducible to the particular characteristics of any ‘group’. To be a cultural animal from a traditional viewpoint means that a human being is born into a given culture that he naturally tries to maintain and develop. (Anarchy in this context is the ability to exist without being dominated and determined by other cultures. This usually results in the exclusion or destruction of other cultures, understood as a ‘natural evolution’ in the cyclical order of things. There is no goal in this context but the goal to ‘preserve’ and ‘obey’ the endless laws governing human history.) To be a cultural animal from a Jewish or Judeo-Christian viewpoint means that a human being is born with natural gifts to adapt to and create any culture. (Anarchy in this context is the ability to exist without being dominated and determined by the physical order of things, and to consider the possibility of the beyond, the revolutionary and truly new ‘meta-physical’; it is a consideration of a non-cyclical, linear future.) It is clear that Judaism warns against the deification of any particular culture or history. Claiming the moral high ground by thinking that one’s culture is ‘superior’ might lead to the oppression of ‘others’ who are perceived as ‘less human’, and Judaism battles this inhumane outcome. In this sense, Judaism is directly opposed to many far right identity politics. On the other hand, Judaism also warns against the deification of individuality and human freedom. Claiming the moral high ground by thinking that one is ‘enlightened’ and free from particular cultural traditions and historical influences unlike ‘backward others’ leads to stores of rage and resentment from those others (who are merely ‘tolerated’ but not really engaged with in dialogue). In this sense, Judaism is directly opposed to far left-wing and all too liberal identity politics, which feed the resentment right-wing identity politics thrive upon. Jesus warns his fellow Jews against the illusion that they are not dependent on historical influences like their ancestors. To think that we would not have made the mistakes our ancestors made in their time, is to deny the inescapable historicity of our humanity, and again leads to a rejection of the other as ‘other human being’. Again we then show the tendency to reduce others to the particular characteristics of a ‘group’ different from ‘us’. In short, Judeo-Christian tradition acknowledges that there are physical forces and cultural laws which precede our existence, but they are merely starting points. They do not determine the goals and destiny of our lives. We are called to live an existence as individuals who ultimately belong to no particular group but humanity. Thus we are called ‘to love our neighbor as ourselves’. Therein lies the essence of ‘human nature’ in a Judeo-Christian sense.

Creating Opportunities for Spiritual Growth

An important third question both speakers addressed at the JECSE conference was how to share the life-giving experience of the encounter with Jesus. The present text already hinted at several ideas concerning this question: the creation of a conscious “Jesus culture”, using today’s cultural language to recount the story of Jesus (this world is not a place that should be avoided), and the creation of multi-religious communities (as is the case in Kosovo) around the figure of Jesus and figures from other traditions (“educating the hero within” by providing the experience of inspiring examples). It is also important to provide students with the intellectual means to counter both the temptations of religious fundamentalism and the so-called New Atheism. As José María Rodríguez Olaizola put it, “if you’re going to be an atheist, be an atheist in a truly critical manner.” If one thing became clear concerning the question how to transmit the idea that faith is a critical and inspiring option, it was that there is a lot of dynamic creativity in Jesuit high schools.

Ignatius by Gudiol

The JECSE conference in general proved to be a hotbed of inspiring ideas and of heartwarming international encounters. It was an opportunity for spiritual growth in itself. Mass was celebrated intensely at the place that was so important for the spiritual growth of Ignatius – the Cave in Manresa –, also because some of our colleagues had to cope with the sad news that some of their students had recently lost their lives. In the end, Ignatian spirituality is about empowering each other and about the encouragement to use all of our human faculties the best we can, for the good of ourselves and of the world, based on the faith that there is a loving God in whose hands we find shelter.

For sure the conference brought together the group of Flanders. Each of the seven high schools had sent one representative to the conference. Under the guidance of Peter Knapen and Tom De Bruyn, Wouter, Liesbet, Anne-Sophie, Heleen, Vera, Ruben and myself experienced four days of authentic, open, reflective and energizing encounters among our group. Just thinking about it makes me smile. I’m sure that I’m not the only one looking back with much gratitude, and with a great desire to develop some projects from within this group in the future.

Erik Buys

SJC Aalst, Belgium

 

Love the Enemy’s Side of the Story (Covington Kids vs Nathan Phillips)

I was ready alright. I saw a clip on YouTube where “white privileged teen boys of an all-male Catholic school (Covington)” were taunting and mocking Nathan Phillips, an Omaha Tribe member and Vietnam veteran. This happened after the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Moreover, some of the boys were wearing caps that said MAGA (“Make America Great Again”), especially also the boy with an apparent smirk on his face who seemed to block Nathan’s way.

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been fascinated by Native American culture, especially since the Kevin Costner movie Dances with Wolves (1990) came out. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of Donald Trump and the way he wants to “Make America Great Again”, to put it mildly.

So I was ready alright. Ready to defend the oppressed, ready to take up the underdog cause. Ready to go on a rant against “conceited racists”. I spontaneously identified and empathized with Nathan Phillips. In doing so, I equally spontaneously vilified especially that smirking boy with the MAGA cap. My primal conclusion run parallel with this kind of meme:

nathan phillips and the maga hat wearing teens

However, luckily some people pointed to other clips about the event and I had to radically alter my vision. Don’t get me wrong. I still sympathize with people like Nathan Phillips, but now I also no longer vilify the teens from Covington Catholic High School. And here is why (thanks for this video by Dinkleberry Crunch):

 

Surely this video adds more context to the whole situation, and prevents me from thinking of one side as “noble knights” and the other as “big monsters”. The truth is that the knights (the “Jedi”) aren’t that noble and the monsters (the “Sith”) aren’t that monstrous. Moreover, by choosing sides the way I did, I became somewhat a self-righteous monster myself.

Jesus demands (Matthew 5:44): “Love your enemies.” Father Robert Barron pointed out that this kind of “love is not a sentiment or feeling. It is actively willing the good of the other.” Indeed, if love were a mere feeling, we could never love our “enemies”, for we mostly associate them with negative, dark sentiments. The reality of the love Jesus is talking about cannot be reduced to feelings, though. It has to do with a conscious act of the will. Love demands us to look at a conflict from “the enemy’s side”. This leads to a kind of self-criticism that allows us to restore a healthy relationship with “the enemy”. Love as an act of will operates in the hope that the enemy will imitate this kind of behavior, be self-critical himself, and make a new healthy relationship a reality – in whatever form. In other words, that kind of love has the potential to create a space for mutually reinforcing “good mimesis”.

Anyway, Jesus warns against perversions of “defending victims”. He fully stands with the oppressed, but refuses “to persecute others in the name of victims”. After all, by persecuting others in the name of victims, we tend to become oppressors ourselves, and we become the monsters we wanted to destroy. That’s what kind of happened to me, I must admit, in the case described above. Sometimes we need the words of wise, spiritual people to be more aware of what happens to ourselves and the world. So, to conclude this post, two quotes by the wise voices of Gil Bailie and René Girard:

René Girard in Evolution and Conversion – Dialogues on the Origins of Culture, Continuum, London, New York, 2007, p. 236:

We have experienced various forms of totalitarianism that openly denied Christian principles. There has been the totalitarianism of the Left, which tried to outflank Christianity; and there has been totalitarianism of the Right, like Nazism, which found Christianity too soft on victims. This kind of totalitarianism is not only alive but it also has a great future. There will probably be some thinkers in the future who will reformulate this principle in a politically correct fashion, in more virulent forms, which will be more anti-Christian, albeit in an ultra-Christian caricature. When I say more Christian and more anti-Christian, I imply the figure of the Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ is nothing but that: it is the ideology that attempts to outchristianize Christianity, that imitates Christianity in a spirit of rivalry.

[…]

You can foresee the shape of what the Anti-Christ is going to be in the future: a super-victimary machine that will keep on sacrificing in the name of the victim.

rené girard quote on caricature of christianity

Gil Bailie in Violence Unveiled – Humanity at the Crossroads, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 1995, p. 20:

There’s plenty of truth in the revised picture of Western history that the young are now routinely taught, the picture of the West’s swashbuckling appetite for power, wealth, and dominion. What’s to be noted is that it is we, and not our cultural adversaries, who are teaching it to them. It is we, the spiritual beneficiaries of that less than always edifying history, who automatically empathize more with our ancestors’ victims than with our ancestors themselves. If we are tempted to think that this amazing shift is the product of our own moral achievement, all we have to do is look around at how shamelessly we exploit it for a little power, wealth, and dominion of our own.

The fact is that the concern for victims has gradually become the principal gyroscope in the Western world. Even the most vicious campaigns of victimization – including, astonishingly, even Hitler’s – have found it necessary to base their assertion of moral legitimacy on the claim that their goal was the protection or vindication of victims. However savagely we behave, and however wickedly and selectively we wield this moral gavel, protecting or rescuing innocent victims has become the cultural imperative everywhere the Biblical influence has been felt.

gil bailie quote on myths justifying violence