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Pop Goes the King

There is hardly a child who lived during Michael Jackson’s reign over pop that would not have given his/her eye teeth to meet him.  From the first time I saw him on the Ed Sullivan show, December 14, 1969 I was completed and utterly enchanted with his musical talent.  Songs of the Jackson Five were played at all our parties; we grew up with him.  His charisma spanned decades and those younger quickly caught the MJ fever watching and listening to one iconic performance after another.  He owned pop music and everyone who listened to it.

As an adult, I and the rest of the world listened in horror as charges were brought against Michael for allegedly abusing children at his Neverland ranch.  Some wanted to persecute him while others prayed it was all a ruse to gain financial settlements.  One charge after another fell to not guilty verdicts and although the entertainer seemed relatively unscathed, his financial empire took a massive hit.

Between the pressures of entertaining and the public demands, sleep eluded Michael to the point that he solicited the help of a physician to administer prophyll.  This solution proved to be fatal.  We have only his legend and memories of his performances and music to carry us through.

Now, just less than ten years after his death, filmmaker Dan Reed (who also directed the production) premiered the compilation Leaving Neverland at the Sundance Film Festival which has subsequently taken to the airwaves via HBO.  

“Neverland” centers on accusers Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 40, who allege that Jackson began sexually abusing them at ages 7 and 10, respectively. At the time, both boys were diehard fans with entertainment aspirations of their own: Robson, who went on to choreograph for Britney Spears and ‘N Sync as an adult, met Jackson after winning a dance contest during the singer’s 1987 Bad tour in Australia. Safechuck, a child actor, appeared with Jackson that same year in a Pepsi commercial and says he began to hang out regularly with the star in Los Angeles. (Ryan, 2019)

Despite remaining in the Michael Jackson camp as a believer and long-time fan of the king of pop, I watched the documentary last weekend.  My dreaded conclusion is that either these two individuals and their families are the most well prepared, well-scripted, well-acted unknowns of Hollywood deserving of Oscar recognition themselves or they are victims who have mustered up the composure to describe in no uncertain terms exactly how the king of pop took full advantage of their star-struck adoration and loyalty.  I found them to be credible; the stories plausible and the details fit together in such a way that it is totally conceivable that this took place as they said it did.

My question is WHY?  “IF” and I say if because it has never been proven in a court of law – but “IF” these accusations are true, aren’t there more people here responsible than just Michael?  I have six children.  Star or no star – if any of them had ever come to me and asked could they spend the night at an adult males house, the answer would have been a resounding HELL NO.  My assumption is, however, that these people smelled fame and fortune – and not necessarily in that order.  Michael represented the glass slipper to many stage parents who wanted his/her child to be an overnight sensation and any connection to him made that even more within their grasp.  So, they traded their children for a shot…and now the only shot left was to file suit against him.

My second question is Why lie on the stand?  Why not tell the truth?  Why not inspire your child to come forward against him when they were originally hauled into court as witnesses?  Have we become such a money chasing society that even the innocence of our own children is for sale?  Personally, I’d like to see a documentary about that.  Explain in hours of detail why parents would allow such a thing to even become possible.

There is an endless list of people (famous and anonymous) who have done to children what they will for their own pleasure.  Whether or not Michael Jackson belongs on that list is between him and God at this point.  But one thing is certain, parents need to wake up.  You’re either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.  Your children are not bargaining chips.  They are not for sale.  They deserve protection.  Do your job as a parent! 

References:

Ryan, Patrick, USA Today, January 25, 2019 retrieved from the world wide web on March 19, 2019 from https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2019/01/25/michael-jackson-leaving-neverland-film-shocking-allegations-sundance-film-festival/2681648002/

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