Okay, I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’ve thought long and hard about whether I should even broach this subject, but I feel it’s worth examining, not just in light of the event that’s currently dominating the news, but as a phenomenon in general that I’ve noticed over a long period of time.
When someone dies, especially someone rich and/or famous, it’s common practice to virtually ignore whatever bad things they may or may not have done in life, unless that’s pretty much all they’re famous for. Now let me say at the outset that I’m not here to bash Michael Jackson, or his memory. I understand that he was tremendously loved. I understand that he was a musical genius, and a brilliant showman. I get that. I never cared for the spectacle that was Michael Jackson, be it his songs, performances, or any of the bizarre behaviour that led to a London tabloid labelling him Waco Jacko, but to each his own. There are die-hard Abba fans too. Go figure. But the fact remains that there are question marks over his life that were never resolved.
Yes, he was never convicted of child molestation, but it has to noted that the prosecution failed to overcome reasonable doubt. That’s not the same as being found innocent. It must be noted that he was accused on numerous occasions, and that the first case didn’t reach trial because he paid out $22 million in hush money to the family of Jordy Chandler. The failure to prosecute in the second case was due to the inept testimony of the boy’s family. It should also be noted that the second boy described Michael Jackson’s genitals in minute detail, and he was subsequently proven to be telling the truth when Michael was forced to undergo an examination. Michael swore that the boy had never seen his genitals. He was lying.
Add to all that the fact that he is known to have frequently engaged in classic pedophile grooming techniques, and the evidence points very strongly to major wrongdoing. Now it has been argued that he was actually just a case of arrested sexual development, and I tend to agree that might well be the case, but it doesn’t rule out pedophilia. His defence of inviting children into his bed point to a person with a very different view of adult/child relations than the vast majority of the planet sees as healthy. That does not excuse the things he is known to have done, and especially doesn’t excuse the things the evidence points to him having done. Essentially, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Let’s not forget that OJ was also let go.
All that said, and I’m sure by now some of you are seeing red, I’m really not out to paint Michael Jackson as a monster. He wasn’t. He was many things. A tortured genius, the product of a bizarre upbringing, a person robbed of a normal childhood, and many other things. All of which contributed to the person he became. But in the end we are all responsible for our actions. We are not victims. I would submit, however, that there are an untold number of children out there who might be because of him. Perhaps time will tell. The fact is we don’t really know for sure, and I can’t really fathom why it is that we choose to ignore the flaws of the rich and famous once they’ve died. In the end they were just people. If we’re going to examine their lives, I see no reason not to look at everything in the same light. Michael Jackson was a lonely, tortured soul.
RIP, Michael. Your pain is over.