Douglas Thmopson - Author and International Journalist


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Jackson Can Run But He Cannot Hide

Daily Express 15th November 1993

THE Thriller album made him the biggest pop star   in   history but, a decade later,    Michael   Jackson wants to sing Stop The World, I Want To Get Off. He can't, of course — despite    his    mysterious whereabouts   —   escape the   child   abuse   allegations against him. His day in court is inevitable but, as  in his life, he seems intent on the bizarre. This time it's a weird game of hide and seek.
His confession to an addiction to painkillers in that terrible, tragic little voice, sounded like an appeal for sympathy.  But the longer he avoids confrontation with the charges the more, many of us will believe, he has to hide.
It is acceptable to have a Peter Pan image, but not for a 35-year-old man to sleep with young boys. What sympathy he gets or deserves — and millions of his fans do not believe any of the allegations — that is a stark fact.

Jackson's words at the weekend — "It is time for me to acknowledge my need for treatment in order to regain my health" — echoed the psycho-babble indigenous to Californian couches.

With him is Elizabeth Taylor, whose motives are surely nothing but concern and care for Jackson, but she's had many dysfunctional moments of her own. She also said Jackson was the "least weird person" she knew.

IS this troubled and tortured entertainer, with whom the Sony Corporation of Japan hoped to turn its $65 million investment into a $1 billion return by the end of the century, getting the best advice?

Liz Taylor hasn't led a "normal" life. Who in his family could possibly help him? Snake-charming LaToya Jackson? The father he fears?

Whether he's in Luton or Lausanne what Jackson needs is guidance, not sympathy or babbled "advice". It's not Eastern mysticism which is required, but an American East Coast lawyer, preferably pinstriped.

And he should be told that if he is guilty of abusing 13-year-old Jordan Chandler, the son of a Beverly Hills dentist and screenwriter, that he must admit it and seek treatment. If not, he should go to court and defend himself. Sadly, if he is innocent, his world will still be in ruins.

The McMartin case was the most expensive trial ever in Los Angeles. Members of the McMartin family, who ran a day care centre for children, were accused of abuse. The trial went on for eight years, during which they were spat at in every possible way. Their lives collapsed. Yet the McMartin family was found innocent. Director Roman Polan-ski ran away from America rather than face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. He now lives in Paris. Extradition was never attempted.

But this is not an option for Jackson. He can't run away. He has to grow up.
He is the head of a multi-million dollar conglomerate called Michael Jackson. But now all the money in the world can't find him a hiding place in all the world.
He finds he's a mere mortal, unable to do anything about the system racing towards him. He is, for once, powerless. His entertainment empire — he was America's first black teen star and became one of the wealthiest people on earth — is now without clothes.
Jackson may be eccentric, but only in life — not in business. At his Neverland ranch with the llamas and the merry-go-round he seemed at home.

But in the boardrooms of Tokyo, New York and London all this was irrelevant. What was important was record, video and concert ticket sales. Jackson's image as a friend of the world was also a potent marketing device and a source of massive income.
WITH the cancellation of the Dangerous tour, the child abuse allegations and his admission of drug dependency, the cumulative effect seems impossible for him to survive.

He is the Sony Corporation's greatest human asset with a complex music, video and movie deal. Can it now return $1 billion? And Pepsi, who sponsored his tour to the tune of $50 million, has now severed ties with him. Pepsico spokesman Gary Hemphill said: "The cancellation of the tour really effectively cancels our relationship with Michael right now."

Sony has a huge quandary. Do they shore up, their enormous investment or cut their losses? -Board meetings were being planned for today to assess the Neverland nightmare keeping executives awake.

One factor in their discussions will be Michael Jackson's standing before the charges. His annual earnings have never been less than $50 million in the past decade. Thriller sold 40 million copies and Bad accounted for 22 million sales. Dangerous has not approached even the lower figure.

Of course, he's still a fabulously wealthy superstar. But will a corporation like Sony be willing to continue their association with the King of Pop? Other big names have been dropped for less. When basketball star Magic Johnson announced he had HIV his sponsors, Converse Shoes, loudly said it would support him, then phased out its involvement. Pepsi dropped Mike Tyson after wife Robin Givens accused him of beating her. Pepsi also canned Madonna for her Like A Prayer video.

Jackson is a far greater name than any of them, but for all that he is not above the law.
If there was ever any logic in Michael Jackson's life it has now vanished.
He has been told to deal with his medical problems, but does so in his unreal world, using a 727 like a Number 10 bus.

Jackson says he could no longer go on with his concert tour because of the problem with painkillers brought on by the stress of his situation.

What of his life? If happiness is his goal he must confront the charges against him. He can't run away from them. There is nowhere to hide.

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