An Introduction to Mimetic Theory

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WATCH ALSO: GIRARD ON THE ORIGIN OF RELIGION (CLICK HERE)

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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)

KLIK HIER VOOR EEN VERTALING (PDF)

KLIK HIER VOOR EEN OVERZICHT (PDF)

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

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

 

FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WATCHING “LEAVING NEVERLAND”

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

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. 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.

Strangely enough 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!).

– 

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:

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

 

 

Environmentalist Paul Kingsnorth and his Pagan-Christian Spirituality

Paul Kingsnorth is a former green activist who believes that the environmental movement has gone wrong. An interview with him appeared on Dutch television channel VPRO (tegenlicht series). Watch it here (or click here for PDF with background information in Dutch; or read the article by Frank Mulder on his website here):

 

Kingsnorth’s analysis of many current sociological attitudes towards the environmental crisis is similar to an analysis from a viewpoint inspired by René Girard or Slavoj Zizek, although the latter two wouldn’t fully embrace the conclusion proposed by Kingsnorth. All quotes by Kingsnorth in the discussion below are from the interview in tegenlicht.

First, Kingsnorth describes the myth of progress as the religious story we use in a secular society (oh, the paradox!) to make sense of the way we should behave and act in the face of the current crisis:

It seemed to me for years that the notion of progress is the religious story that we tell ourselves in western civilization. It’s the story that everything will keep getting better, because it just has to. And the more I look around me, the more I think that we don’t really know how to deal with the possibility that that might not be true.

According to René Girard, myths are stories that societies tell themselves to make a distinction between (violent) acts that are taboo (in order to avoid a crisis) and (violent) acts that are allowed to present a solution to crisis situations. The latter acts are often directed at people who are perceived as bringing about the crisis. Not surprisingly, punishing those people or removing them is believed to offer a solution to the crisis. As a myth, the story of progress identifies the so-called ‘monsters’ responsible for the crisis. At the same time, the story of progress justifies a noble ‘fight’ against those monsters: activism. Paul Kingsnorth says:

Activism is predicated on finding an enemy. So you find the bad guys, and then you go out and you campaign against the bad guys in any number of different ways.

Following René Girard, Slavoj Zizek argues that Judeo-Christian tradition gradually dismantled the sacred myths of archaic religion. The story of Christ’s Passion takes the universal pattern of mythology and criticizes it from within. The Gospel reveals that the myths of archaic religion are based on an ever recurring lie: the ones who are presented as ‘monstrous people’ in the religious stories that societies tell themselves to justify the sacrifice of those people, are really innocent or no more guilty for the crisis than other members of the society. In other words, the ‘monstrous people’ are actually scapegoats, which means that their sacrifice can no longer be justified.

The revelation of the scapegoat mechanism as the cornerstone of archaic religion also implies that a crisis situation can no longer be interpreted as ‘the wrath of gods who need sacrifices to be appeased.’ If the violent force of disruptive crisis situations can no longer be transmitted to a so-called sacred realm that would be responsible for those situations, then there are mainly two possible outcomes: or people will take responsibility for their own share in a crisis situation and refrain from further (activist) fighting, or they will become part of an ever more intense ‘endless fight’ that occasionally comes to a temporary halt with the creation of scapegoats. Paul Kingsnorth also points to the disappearance of the realm of the sacred. His ideas on the consequences of this disappearance are similar to the ideas of Zizek and Girard:

We don’t have a religion in the broad sense of the word. But more than that: we don’t have a sense of anything that’s greater than us, that we have to bow our knee to, that we have to humble ourselves before – whether it’s a god or a goddess, or the divinity of nature itself. We don’t recognize those terms really. We see them as antiquated. We see them as old-fashioned and backward and reactionary. Part of the myth of progress that we believe in is the notion that we’re evolving beyond religion. […] It’s been a long journey for me to realize that if we don’t have anything that we believe is above us, then we become destroyers.

Paul Kingsnorth, as many of us, clearly is a child of a culture that is affected by the revelation of the scapegoat mechanism. Kingsnorth criticizes the secular religion of progress that, not unlike the myths of archaic religion, tries to identify so-called ‘monsters’ we should fight against in order to save ourselves. We are ourselves part of ‘the bad guys’, Kingsnorth says:

But what if you’re the bad guy? What if you are the one on the airplane, you are the one driving the car, you are the one using the central heating, you are the one doing the things that are destroying the planet? Which you are! And I am, and everybody watching this is, right? And that’s not a blame game. That’s not anyone’s fault. We’re just born. We’re just living our lives. But by being born into this world, we are part of the problem that we are creating.

confessions of a recovering environmentalist (paul kingsnorth)

Apart from the similarities, maybe the biggest difference between archaic religion and the current secular religion of progress, which is often reduced to ‘economic growth’, lies in their assessment of human desire. Archaic religion tried to keep human desire in check by a system of prohibitions and rituals, often resulting in a structure of society that is hierarchical in principle: as a subject, you couldn’t just desire what belonged to the king, or your parents, or your neighbor. Mimetic (i.e. imitative) desire was strictly regulated. Today, however, society is not hierarchical in principle. We can imitate each other’s ambitions and desires because we are all ‘equal’. In principle, everyone can run for president.

In economic terms, the myth of progress turns into a system that generates ‘scarcity’ by creating ever new demands in order to ensure ‘economic growth’. From an economic viewpoint, human beings have to keep on desiring, which of course leads to a culture of consumerism. This, in turn, has a devastating effect on the environment. Like René Girard, Paul Kingsnorth argues in favor of a kind of spiritual control over greed (which can be understood as a variation of mimetic desire):

What do you think the problem is with this society that we’ve got to this point? I don’t think it’s a technological problem. I think it’s a cultural problem, even a spiritual problem that we’ve got in our relationship with the rest of life, in our relationship with our own desire and our own greed, and our notion of what we mean by progress – which is usually very narrowly defined. To me, there’s a kind of spiritual emptiness at the heart of it. We don’t really know what relationship we want to have with the earth. Okay, maybe you can fuel your capitalist growth society on solar power instead of oil. But you’ve still got the same problems in terms of the world that you’re eating, the amount that you’re consuming, the values that you have, the individualism, the kind of digital narcissism that we have as a culture. It’s not a healthy culture we live in.

In the end, Paul Kingsnorth believes that a type of revived archaic religion, some sort of animism or neo-paganism, might provide the means to regain control over those desires of ours that are destructive and violent:

And the conclusion – if there is a conclusion, maybe it’s just a step on the road –, is: if there’s going to be any future for the kind of culture we’re in or whatever it turns into, it’s got to be in finding some sense of the sacred in nature itself. It’s got to be going back to or going forward to some almost pagan or animist sense of the divinity in everything: the gods in the sea, the gods in the stones, the spirits of the air. I don’t know how you would put it. But if you can’t recognize this web of life that we are part of is anything more than just a resource that you think you can understand and harvest, then you’re doomed.

René Girard would agree with the call to humility and with a greater realization of our possibilities and limitations as ‘human animals’. However, he would not argue in favor of a restoration of archaic religion. At the most, from a Girardian point of view one could argue in favor of a transformation rather than restoration of archaic religion. In any case, also Kingsnorth interprets the violent consequences of the disappearance of a respect for ‘the sacred’ as ‘human violence’ (see higher: “It’s been a long journey for me to realize that if we don’t have anything that we believe is above us, then we become destroyers.”). The ancients would see the violence as a consequence of a lack of respect for ‘the sacred’ as ‘the wrath of the gods’. The Gospel reveals that violence as human violence.

Human beings not only have to come to terms with their own violence, apart from their ability to love. They also have to deal with the cruelty of nature, apart from its beauty. Moreover, apart from being children of nature, human beings are also children of a vocation that is not merely defined by nature. Some people call that vocation ‘grace’.

Paul Kingsnorth formulates the reality of grace in his own way:

Once you drop from your shoulders the self-imposed burden of having to save the world from everything, you can kind of breathe a sigh of relief and say, ‘Ah, okay, now what can I actually still do?’ For me it comes down to the work you have to do on yourself. What values have you got? What sort of person do you want to be? How can you use the few skills you have got to do what you need to do? […] Whatever it is that you have the skills and the ability to do.

28-33,46,47.indd

P.S. ON ACTIVISM

injustice quote martin luther kingOn social media (especially in certain Facebook groups) several people pointed out that not every form of activism can be reduced to scapegoating. Rebecca Adams, for instance, commented that “telling the truth about oppression and resisting it is not automatically scapegoating.” And she added, “it’s ridiculous for instance to name Dr. Martin Luther King’s very real nonviolent activism as merely looking for an enemy.”

I fully agree with the statement of Rebecca Adams and I believe Paul Kingsnorth would as well. However, the context wherein Kingsnorth makes his claim on activism is quite particular: it is about an activism that does not question the status quo as such. It is not about an activism that wants to change or transform “the system” but about an activism that wants to “repair” the system. As such, this type of activism is a fight amongst “oppressors” themselves; it is not a struggle by “victims” against “oppressors”. In short, it is a fight over victimhood, in the sense that people are saying of themselves, “Well, we are not guilty of this crisis, we’re really the victims of the people that control the system…” The reality in this context, of course, is that we are all more or less responsible for maintaining “the system”.

 

 

Rome, René Girard and the Sixteen-Year-Old Researcher

Linde Van den Eede, one of my high school students for almost two years now, wrote a very interesting paper on the end of the Roman Republic from the perspective of René Girard’s “mimetic theory”. She chose it as an assignment for her English class (English, mind you, is a third language here in Belgium).

Linde is one of those people who likes to reflect on our cultural history and on the ideas of what it means to be human. Her paper is a precious little pearl, well-researched and opening up perspectives for further reading and writing. Today, Linde celebrates her 17th birthday, which means that she was only 16 when she wrote her paper. I am convinced that whoever reads her paper will be quite astonished, as I was, about the academic level of her writing.

I am very happy and grateful to be able to share this piece of hard work on the occasion of Linde’s birthday – click here: PDF NON MOS, NON IUS.

vincenzo_camuccini_-_la_morte_di_cesare

AN AFTERTHOUGHT (A REFLECTION AFTER READING LINDE’S PAPER) 

Dictatorial regimes like the creativity of artists, novelists, philosophers and scientists insofar as that creativity proves useful for the maintenance of the totalitarian system. In extreme right wing and extreme left wing regimes, art becomes propaganda, novels serve as censured forms of escapism, philosophers turn into political ideologues, and scientists become technicians who are no longer interested in knowledge of reality as a whole.

In a totalitarian system governed by money, creativity is allowed insofar as it serves the goals of capitalism, which is to yield ever more money. Art becomes propaganda at the service of “supply and demand”, only now it is called “publicity”. If there are any novels left, they are supposed to be “entertaining”, thinking is reduced to “management”, and science only serves technological innovation.

What dictatorial regimes don’t like is freedom. They don’t like the true creativity of artists, novelists, philosophers and scientists, which is the creativity “to move beyond the system”. True creativity allows us to reflect on the system that we are part of, which is also a way of distancing ourselves from that very same system. Being able to reflect on a system means that we are not totally defined by that system. This kind of freedom makes us human.

True artists and novelists imagine “new worlds” that enable us to question the world we are living in. They don’t just offer forms of escapism. True philosophers and scientists ask new questions or ask age-old questions anew, and open up unprecedented perspectives. If humanity has found ever new ways of “being in the world”, it is not because people burned books that were deemed “not useful” or “a threat to the existing system”. No, it is precisely because there were people who rescued and revisited ideas that were supposed to be burned.

We give up our own humanity if we just ask ourselves how to function in a given system. Of course that is an important question, and we are always at the same time part of the systems that we are able to question. But to safeguard our humanity we should cultivate our ability to ask what it means to be human (and asking the question is more important than answering it). This liberating ability is quite unique to us, human beings, and therefore contains our humanity.

Let’s hope we never lose it.

cicero denounces catiline (cesare maccari, 1889)