As most of you are aware by now, Sundance 2019 will be premiering a hit piece directed by Dan Reed and sponsored by HBO and UK Channel 4, a four-hour sobfest in which the same two scam artists who recently had their cases against Michael Jackson’s estate and companies thrown out of court-Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck-will claim that they were molested. While trash stories about Michael Jackson have come and gone in the last ten years (most notably since Robson’s sudden about face in 2012) the understandable concern now, both within the fan community and for those who care about justice, is that in this era where the lynch mob mentality of #MeToo and the “Cancel Culture” it has helped spawn is drowning out all voices of reason or due process, this could be one injustice against the name Michael Jackson too many. It is long overdue for this kind of endless defamation to end. I have a post in the works that will analyze the full extent of Michael Jackson’s legacy in the MeToo era. As always, we must keep uppermost in mind four crucial differences between Jackson’s “case” and that of other celebrities who have fallen under the scrutiny of MeToo, namely:
That Michael Jackson, unlike many of these other celebrities, had his full day in court over a decade ago (and to that we must add that this was a court case that put his entire life under intense scrutiny, as it didn’t become “just” about the Arvizo case, but every friendship with every child he had ever known!)
There has never been one bit of actual inculpatory evidence presented against him, even after one of most thorough prosecution investigations on record. In every single instance, it has come down to an accuser’s word against Jackson’s. And now he is not here to defend against such accusations, making these actions all the more reprehensible.
A decade long investigation by the FBI yielded nothing!
The role of race, Hollywood double standards, and how Michael Jackson was used as a scapegoat within the industry to divert attention from the crimes of others (namely one Harvey Weinstein!)
That these allegations have been led by a man who endlessly sang Jackson’s praises as a mentor and guiding light of his life-until he was fired from a prestigious gig directing the Michael Jackson Circus du Soleil show, a loss that cost him millions.
In the meantime, though, please work to voice your disapproval!
There has certainly been no shortage of Michael Jackson news the last few weeks! While I plan on delving into all of these recent developments in due course, I feel it is urgent that I begin with the most timely, since the Oxygen channel’s four part series on high profile celebrity criminal cases, The Jury Speaks, is set to kick off with its opening episode on the O.J. Simpson murder trail on Saturday, July 22, with the Michael Jackson episode following on Sunday, July 23.
Generally, it can be expected that any show purporting to dredge up the 2005 trial can’t be good news-unless, of course, its primary goal is to finally shed some much needed light on the under reported defense side of the case. Since many fans were led to believe that this was indeed going to be the case-or that at the very least, this would be a fair and balanced documentary on the trial, the sword of betrayal that many fans felt, including myself, after viewing the series trailer felt especially eviscerating. Granted, the episode has yet to air and it may not prove to be as bad as the trailer suggests (as usual, the trailer for the series has been designed as salacious click bait, highlighting only the most controversial sound bites of the series) but given the show’s overall premise, coupled with the fact that it appears that the “star” juror from the case to be interviewed will be Raymond Hultman, one of two rogue jurors who later publicly recanted the “Not Guilty” verdicts when bribed with a book and movie deal (neither of which ever materialized), fans have every right to feel outraged-and also every right to feel justifiably concerned with the manner in which Oxygen plans to “re-try” these cases, as this essentially does seem to be the show’s major premise.
So let’s address that premise. The series will cover four cases in which the nation was shocked by “Not Guilty” verdicts-O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, George Zimmerman, and Robert Durst. In each episode, the jurors will discuss details of the cases, as well as why they voted as they did. Since this is essentially just another form of reality TV (i.e, this is for “entertainment” rather than education) we can expect lots of drama and conflict to ensue between the respective jurors as they hash out old (and no doubt personal) battles that are probably best left behind closed doors. At some point (not sure if this will be a feature of each episode or a one-time event to occur at the end of the series) each of the jurors will be asked to vote once again whether they believe the subject to be “Guilty” or “Not Guilty.” The idea is something like this: If you had it to do over, would you vote the same way? Yes or no?” This is why I say the show is basically all about putting these subjects on trial all over again. Even though it may well be “for entertainment purposes only” and obviously has no bearing on the verdicts in the real world, the producers’ modus operandi is blatantly obvious-to find out if, given a second chance, along with weighing both old and new “evidence,” (note quotation marks!) these jurors would vote to convict. Obviously, they are betting that many of them will (after all, it wouldn’t make for very compelling drama if they simply said, yep, we got it right the first time).
I can’t speak for the other three trials because I didn’t follow those cases as closely, but for the Michael Jackson case, such a premise could be especially damaging. It’s not that I have any fear of the case being revisited. The facts of the case-a case so blatantly absurd that Mesereau spoke the truth when he said it should never have gone to trial-can certainly still hold up to scrutiny. But that is provided that the facts are presented accurately, that no exculpatory evidence is purposely or accidentally omitted, and that the coverage is not skewered or slanted with an obvious bias in favor of the prosecution’s case. Obviously readers know where I’m going with this. If the trailer and PR articles are any indication, there’s no reason to believe that balance or fairness-or, for that matter, accuracy-is going to play any part in this production. Basically, it would seem that we can expect to see the 2005 media version of the trial-you know, the version that led the ignorant masses in 2005 to assume his guilt because they weren’t inside the courtroom. What’s more, it looks like they plan to bring in the more recent Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck allegations as added fuel to the fire:
But now, after the emergence of new accusers and hard truths about Jackson’s troubled childhood and tragic death, do they stand by their decision today?-excerpted from Oxygen.com.
Well, with Ray Hultman at the helm cheering them on, we need not guess how that is going to fly!
So as you may guess, my concern for this program is the same concern that many fans are sharing right now. It’s not that there is anything to fear from the case being revisited or discussed if done in a factual and educational manner.The 2010 Frozen in Time seminar, for instance, was an excellent example of how the Michael Jackson trial could be deconstructed in a factual and balanced manner for educational purpose.
But I do very much have concerns about the likely possibility that this program is simply going to sensationalize and distort facts to a public that is already woefully under informed, both about this trial and the reasons for its resultant 14 “Not Guilty” verdicts. I am rightfully concerned that their plan is to simply sensationalize the details of the trial for ratings, and that the exculpatory evidence that rightfully exonerated Michael will be either downplayed or, worse, ignored altogether. Michael Jackson fans are no strangers to how the media works, and we know all too well how the media will manipulate, edit and distort to paint the picture they want. Let’s be honest: The premise of this show isn’t simply to reexamine or reevaluate these trials to understand how the jurors got it right, or even “if” they got it right. Rather, it seems purely for the purpose of reopening and exploiting old wounds while egging on the substrative premise that, indeed, the jurors did get it wrong. In every case, they have chosen subjects who were voted guilty in the court of public opinion, and the entire series seems nothing more than a cheesy attempt at further exploiting those perceptions.
The premise is doubly disturbing because the Michael Jackson case, unlike the others, was not a clear case of celebrity acquittal or failure to convict due to some legal loophole or technicality. This was not a case like the Simpson case where one could point to a clear cut motive, or the Zimmerman case in which national outrage had been sparked over the killing of an unarmed teenager (and for whom it was never up for debate that Zimmerman had killed; only his motivation for doing so), or Robert Durst who supposedly even confessed to killing his wife. Although I understand the national cynicism and skepticism that has surrounded many of these high profile acquittals, the simple fact remains that Michael Jackson’s case stands unique in the amount of exculpatory evidence that exonerated him. The many reasons why The People vs. Michael Jackson cannot be put into the same classification as The People vs. O.J. Simpson (or any other high profile celebrity crime cases) is a topic that I touched on in far greater depth in my last Huffington Post piece so I will provide the link to that article in the interest of avoiding the need to repeat myself here. However, the topic of trial-by-media is certainly one that remains relevant. In the wake of even more recent celebrity scandals and controversial verdicts (the mistrial of Bill Cosby and the alleged sex ring scandal of R. Kelley coming to mind) we have seen time and again how the ill informed love to lump Michael Jackson’s name among them, as if they all merely constitute the same category. And always, inevitably, they do so with no preponderance of the actual circumstances and/or differences of the cases. In this era of “Guilty Until Proven Innocent”-a slogan fueled by the tabloid, medialoid, and yellow journalism ethics under which we now operate-we are driven by an ever insatiable thirst for celebrity blood.
The choice of Ray Hultman as the representative juror of the Michael Jackson case should certainly raise some alarms. Although it appears that other members of the jury will be included, it is Hultman’s remarks that were purposely chosen to provide the sound bites on the Jackson segment in the series trailer. Given that there were twelve men and women on the jury, this obviously comes down to which jury members were willing to go on camera-again-after twelve years, to discuss the case.
Eleanor Cook Was Among Six Jurors Interviewed For “Good Morning America”. This Was Her Speaking Before Acquiring Her Promised Book and Movie Deal.
Most of the jurors who served on the Michael Jackson case were humble, ordinary citizens who, after the grueling five month ordeal, simply wanted to return to their lives. That is, all but two who evidently loved the spotlight just a little too much to give it up.
Within two months of the verdict, Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook had both sought book deals, and the only way they could secure those deals was by delivering controversy. They could only “sell” their stories and continue to milk the celebrity status that the trial had given them by changing their story of Jackson’s case from one of “Not Guilty” to “Guilty.” In August of 2005, both Cook and Hultman gave an exclusive interview to Rita Cosby of MSNBC. This was an AP article of the time that discussed their appearance (added emphasis in red is mine):
2 jurors say they regret Jackson’s acquittal
The Associated Press
Two jurors in the Michael Jackson trial say they now regret voting to acquit the singer of child molestation charges.
Jackson’s defense attorney ridiculed the two, who spoke exclusively with MSNBC’s Rita Cosby, saying it was “time to move on” from the case.
“The bottom line is it makes no difference what they’re saying,” Tom Mesereau told The Associated Press, pointing out the jurors announced their turnaround Monday as they began publicizing book deals.
“Twelve people deliberated and out of that process justice is supposed to result. Now, two months later, these jurors are changing their tunes. They clearly like being on TV,” Mesereau said. “I’m very suspicious.”
Eleanor Cook and Ray Hultman revealed in a televised interview that they believed the singer’s young accuser was sexually assaulted.
“No doubt in my mind whatsoever, that boy was molested,and I also think he enjoyed to some degree being Michael Jackson’s toy,”Cook said on MSNBC’s “Rita Cosby: Live and Direct.”
Their comments will have no bearing on the verdict, which prosecutors cannot appeal.
Threat from jury foreman?Cook and Hultman said they agreed to go along with the other jurors when it became apparent that they would never convict the pop star. The two denied being motivated by money and tried to explain why they were coming forward now.
“There were a lot of people that were interested in this case from day one. People expect to know what’s going on with their justice system and how things work,” Hultman said.
Added Cook: “I’m speaking out now because I believe it’s never too late to tell the truth.”
Cook and Hultman also alleged that jury foreman Paul Rodriguez threatened to have them kicked off the jury.
“He said if I could not change my mind or go with the group, or be more understanding, that he would have to notify the bailiff, the bailiff would notify the judge, and the judge would have me removed,” Cook said in a transcript provided by MSNBC.
Hultman said he also felt threatened and didn’t want to get kicked off the trial.
A call to Rodriguez was not returned. A jury foreman cannot remove other jurors just for disagreeing.
Cosby asked Cook if the other jurors will be angry with her.
“They can be as angry as they want to. They ought to be ashamed. They’re the ones that let a pedophile go,” responded Cook, 79.
Upset at other jurors Hultman, 62, told Cosby he was upset with the way other jurors approached the case: “The thing that really got me the most was the fact that people just wouldn’t take those blinders off long enough to really look at all the evidence that was there.”
The New York Daily News first reported Aug. 4 that Hultman and Cook planned books and believed Jackson was guilty.
Hultman has said that when jurors took an anonymous poll early in their deliberations he was one of three jurors who voted for conviction.
On June 13, the jurors unanimously acquitted Jackson of all charges, which alleged that he molested a 13-year-old boy, plied the boy with wine and conspired to hold him and his family captive so they would make a video rebutting a damaging television documentary.
Cook told Cosby: “The air reeked of hatred and people were angry and I had never been in an atmosphere like that before.”
In June, Hultman told the AP about the verdict: “That’s not to say he’s an innocent man. He’s just not guilty of the crimes he’s been charged with.”
During an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with five other jurors in June, Cook was one of three who raised their hands when asked if they thought Jackson may have molested other children but not the 13-year-old boy.
“We had our suspicions, but we couldn’t judge on that because it wasn’t what we were there to do,” she said at the time.
Hultman’s book will be called “The Deliberator” and Cook’s is “Guilty as Sin, Free as a Bird,” said Larry Garrison, a producer who is working with both on their separate books and a combined television movie. Part of the profits from their book sales will go to charity, he said.
Note that I highlighted Eleanor Cook’s comments above, not because I agree with them, but because I think the entire comment (aside from being very, very weird) sheds some interesting light on how she felt about pretty much everyone involved in this case. Throughout the proceedings, her demeanor was pretty much that of a grumpy old grandma who didn’t particularly like anyone involved in this case-prosecution or defense, it didn’t seem to matter. In this case, her obvious detest for Michael Jackson and his lifestyle, perhaps, was only outweighed by her absolute detest for the Arvizos, which she never made any secret. In one television interview, she spoke openly about her disdain for Janet Arvizo and her habit of snapping her fingers at the jury. Her comment to Rita Cosby is interestingly telling, in that she obviously didn’t feel much sympathy for Gavin even as an alleged “victim.’
Another interesting tidbit: While it is Hultman who loves to toss around the phrase “the blinders came on” (he used it here and is quoted using it again in the Oxygen promo) the second quote I have highlighted reveals that he formed his own bias very early in the deliberations (no doubt during the prosecution testimony) and then evidently must have put on his own blinders, refusing to listen as each prosecution witness in turn crumbed under cross examination.
The next highlighted quote reveals something of Hultman’s own savior/victim complex. He loved the idea of selling himself to the public as the “lone juror” who held out for truth and justice, but the reality is that he seemed to love the attention much more. He never specifies what “people” were angry with him, or why. In the Oxygen promo, he mentions receiving threats and the obvious inference is that the hate mail must have come from Michael Jackson fans. However, the passion of MJ fans is a glaring red herring that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual case.
Lastly, we see that Hultman and Cook were hand in hand, obviously working with the same producer on a deal that was supposed to yield them two separate books AND a combined television movie! All in all, it was a deal that would have netted them quite a handsome profit. It gets better, though, because apparently longtime Michael Jackson hater Stacy Brown (singlehandedly responsible for planting many of the vilest stories on Michael in the media for the past decade) was on board to serve as the book’s ghost writer. The deal apparently fell through, however, when leaked passages revealed that Brown had plagiarized the “work” of yet another notorious MJ hater-Maureen Orth, apparently having lifted large chunks from her Vanity Fair article. Hilariously, even the slimy Stacy Brown ended up tossing Hultman under the bus before the whole ordeal had ended! In a 2005 Santa Maria Times article, Stacy Brown publicly denied any association with Hultman’s book and was quoted as saying:
“I think this is another attempt for Ray to keep himself in the media,” Brown said. “No one is interested in his book. He was badly misguided. He/d be better off riding into the sunset and getting on with his life.”
That these two would have even considered relying on Maureen Orth’s nonsense (remember, she was the one claiming that Michael had engaged in secret voodoo rituals to hex Steven Spielberg!) speaks volumes about the contents of this thankfully never birthed monstrocity. So apparently, instead of relying on the evidence and testimony of the trial, it seems the plan was to fill the book with tabloid nonsense. This was exactly the same tactics that Wade Robson’s attorneys are using now. In the case of Hultman and Brown, it seems they weren’t sorry for anything other than the fact that they got caught in the act of fabricating “evidence” from a source even more ridiculous than anything they could cook up on their own. And now, Hultman’s decision to participate in The Jury Speaks makes it quite clear that after twelve years, he still hasn’t been willing to take Stacy Brown’s advice and just ride off into the sunset (one only wishes that Stacy Brown would likewise apply his own advice to himself!).
In September of 2005, legal analyst Jonna Spilbor blasted Eleanor Cook and Raymond Hultman in a scathing article that called to task jurors who are seduced by the almighty dollar, or as she put it, jurors who attempt to “profit from their duty.” As Spilbor pointed out in 2005, what Hultman and Cook did was more than reprehensible-it was also illegal!
When The Jury Has Spoken, But Won’t Shut Up: How the Jackson Jurors’ Book Deals Broke the Law, and How We Can Avoid Having Jurors Undermine Their Own Verdicts
By JONNA M. SPILBOR
Thursday, Sep. 01, 2005
By now, there probably isn’t a single Earth-dweller who doesn’t know Jackson was acquitted following the fifteen-week trial. The jury of four men and eight women rendered a collective “not guilty” verdict to each and every charge. And their verdicts rang out loud and clear across a courtroom which, at times, seemed more like a battlefield.
Several weeks have since passed, most of them quietly – appropriately so – as Jackson’s across-the-board acquittal literally means this case is closed. The jury has spoken, and frankly, there is nothing left to say.
Why then, won’t Jackson’s jury shut up?
Less than two months after clearing Michael Jackson of all charges, jurors Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook have come forward publicly to announce they made a mistake. In their words, they feel Jackson’s jury “let a pedophile go.”
Cook has reported being “bullied” into her not-guilty verdicts – all fourteen of them.
Hultman claims his conscience has gotten the better of him. At least, so says his publisher.
Whether these claims are publicity stunts, or genuine revelations, the world will never know, because, as has been the case since time in memoriam, jury deliberations are done in secret. Privately. Behind closed doors, only to be interrupted by a welcomed pizza person or bailiff.
These surprising revelations are of no legal significance whatsoever to Michael Jackson – double jeopardy prevents Jackson from being retried, no matter what any or all of the jurors say post-verdict. Yet they are significant for us all – for they are destructive to the integrity of our criminal justice system. There is something very powerfully unsettling about a jury, or rogue members thereof, undermining its own verdict.
In this column, using the Jackson case as a prime example, I will discuss how, when it comes to criminal trials – particularly in high-profile cases – a few minor modifications to the law could save future defendants from similar fates.
The stakes are high – when jurors whose verdict was “Not Guilty” start to reverse themselves in public statements, their comments degrade the sanctity of the criminal justice system, and violate the paramount right of any defendant — the right to a fair trial. They also threaten the spirit of the double-jeopardy clause; despite his acquittals, Jackson may not be at risk in the courtroom anymore, but his guilt is being debated, once again, in the court of public opinion.
Why Jury Duty and Dollar Signs Don’t Mix
To see why situations like that of the Jackson jury are happening, it’s worth stepping back a bit, and looking at the character of jury duty as a whole.
Jury duty. It’s the cornerstone of our criminal justice system. A girder within the framework of our Constitution. A noble commitment that nary an American citizen shall escape – save for those who have themselves been previously convicted by a unanimous group of twelve unfamiliar peers.
That is, until now.
Today – especially when it comes to celebrity trials, or those that become celebrity trials (think Scott Peterson; he was a fertilizer salesman, remember) – being selected for jury duty is almost like winning the lottery. It leads to lucrative book deals. Movie options. All-expenses- paid interviews in exciting cities. The post-trial money-making opportunities for celebrity-trial jurors abound. And it’s all perfectly legal – indeed, arguably protected by the First Amendment.
But should it be? The First Amendment is involved here, but so is the Sixth – which guarantees a fair trial. Might the future prospect of payment for post-mortem, jury deliberation tell-alls cloud jurors’ judgments and affect their decisions?
In high-profile criminal trials, it’s not difficult to imagine an enterprising potential juror with dollar signs in his eyes, and fingers crossed, dutifully answering all the questions of voir dire as if he were channeling Mother Teresa in an effort to be chosen.
And, it isn’t much of a leap from there to imagine an unscrupulous publisher who, with a wink and nod, secretly convinces a juror that his or her advance may include an extra zero should the verdict be, say, guilty. It’s been said that “sex sells,” but acquittals? Eh, not so much.
Jurors are the ultimate triers of fact. When we offer to pay for an account of a juror’s experience in the jury box, we risk changing what the juror has to sell. Put the prospect of making a million bucks in front of a middle-class juror (which most are) and you may create a monster.
And even if eleven jurors have perfect integrity (let’s not forget the admirable ten Jackson jurors who do NOT have book deals), it won’t matter much if the twelfth does not. That twelfth could either hang the jury, or else hold out so strongly for conviction, that he or she batters the rest into submission.
The Case of the Michael Jackson Jurors: Why Did They Come Forward Now?
Looking at jurors Hultman and Cook, I asked myself this: Why come forward now? For that matter, why come forward at all? If they cannot change their verdict (and they can’t), and therefore cannot change the outcome of the case, why speak out?
The answer, sadly, requires little imagination. Obviously, something happened in between what appeared to be an unwavering “not guilty” verdict following several days of deliberation, and August 8th, when they appeared together – on a primetime cable news show – to announce their about-face.
What was it? Did these two people happen to show up at some “Jurors Anonymous” meeting, only to learn the Step Six is admitting when you’ve rendered the wrong decision? Or, were they approached with the prospect of a book and movie deal which (wink, wink) just might make them a whole lot richer if there were (hint, hint) a controversy of sorts surrounding the verdict?
I can’t truly know these jurors’ motivations, but I can hazard a guess based on the timing of events, and the statements they’ve publicly made. I’m putting my money on the book and movie deal because, simply, the revelations of jurors Hultman and Cook coincide with the announcement of their individual books deals and combined television project.
Each juror will be coming out with his or her own book, and both, not surprisingly, will be published by the same publisher. Hultman’s is to be entitled, “The Deliberator”, while the title of Cook’s tell-all is to be, “Guilty As Sin, Free As A Bird.” I imagine that books entitled “Yup, Like We Said, Still Not Guilty” would be a lot less saleable.
How The Jackson Jurors Broke the Law: They Were Supposed to Wait Ninety Days
In California, Penal Code section 1122states, in part: “After the jury has been sworn and before the people’s opening address, the court shall instruct the jury…that prior to, and within 90 days of, discharge, they shall not request, accept, agree to accept, or discuss with any person receiving or accepting, any payment or benefit in consideration for supplying any information concerning the trial; and that they shall promptly report to the court any incident within their knowledge involving an attempt by any person to improperly influence any member of the jury.” (Emphasis added.)
This is California’s version, but most states, it turns out, have similar statutes – imposing moratoria, but not forbidding jury book and movie deals.
Looking at the calendar, it has not been 90 days since Jackson’s jury was discharged. Clearly, the pair is in violation of the statute — a statute punishable by contempt of court.
How can this violation be addressed? Jackson – or the prosecution, though I doubt it would be so inclined, since it too believed Jackson guilty – could file a motion for an “Order to Show Cause” why the jurors should not be held in contempt. Or the court could issue such an order on its own initiative (in legal parlance, “sua sponte”).
But this is an unusual case: Most jurors would simply have complied with the law, and waited the ninety days. Most publishers’ attorneys would have been sure to advise them to do so. And that leads to an important question: In a typical case, is a ninety-day moratorium on juror book deals enough?
In my opinion, absolutely not.
An Ounce of Prevention: Why Not Do Away with the 90-Day Clause of Penal Code §1122?
There is an easy fix. It’s time to do away with statutes that allow jurors to profit from their duty. Until then, a defendant’s right to a fair and impartial jury of his peers continues to be severely compromised. Forget the ninety-day limit. Let’s just say no to juror book and movie deals.
Even in a society as delightfully entrepreneurial as ours, there are a few things in life that simply mustn’t be for sale. For example, judges cannot take gifts, and lawyers cannot represent conflicting parties, no matter how that might negatively affect a lawyer’s income stream. Nor can a lawyer publicize his client’s secrets to the world – then take refuge in a claim that he was only exercising his First Amendment rights.
Similarly, never should the rights of an accused be trumped by the price tag one juror places on his or her sworn duty to be fair and impartial.
An Acquittal Should Guarantee Freedom – Not Being Tried In the Press By the Same Jurors
The conduct of Michael Jackson’s jurors is downright shameful. In this country, an acquittal should guarantee one’s freedom. And I don’t simply mean freedom from future prosecution, I mean freedom from public ridicule, freedom from suspicion, freedom from having to be berated publicly by the same individuals who set you free.
Comedian Norm Crosby once said, “When you go into court, you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.”
Today, with potential book-and-movie-deal paychecks that dwarf the $12 dollars-a-day and free lunch of bygone juries, I gotta ask, who’s dumb now?
With The Jury Speaks kicking off this weekend, this paragraph from Spilbor’s article bears repeating for emphasis:
The conduct of Michael Jackson’s jurors is downright shameful. In this country, an acquittal should guarantee one’s freedom. And I don’t simply mean freedom from future prosecution, I mean freedom from public ridicule, freedom from suspicion, freedom from having to be berated publicly by the same individuals who set you free.
If fans and persons who are knowledgable about the Jackson/Arvizo case needed further confirmation of this series’ intended direction, that confirmation appeared with an article on the Oxygen.com website titled “10 Of The Most Shocking Facts From the Michael Jackson Case.” The article, credited to Kat George, actually consists of few “facts” at all and is, instead, riddled with egregious mistakes and inaccuracies about the investigation and trial. Although it appears now that at least “some” edits and corrections have been made (perhaps following the deluge of angry tweets they received from Jackson fans rightfully correcting these errors!) the piece is still a hot mess of sloppily researched and inaccurate information. Among the most glaring, it credits the rebuttal video Michael Jackson, Take Two: The Footage You Were Never Meant To Seeto Martin Bashir (this was footage shot by Michael’s own team; Bashir had zilch to do with it) and erroneously claims that there were criminal charges filed against Jackson that were later dropped. Where this information comes from I have no idea! It appears that Kat George is simply confusing the initial investigation with the actual charges (an initial investigation was launched by The Department of Children and Family Services and the LAPD in February of 2003 following the airing of Living with Michael Jackson. After extensive questioning of the Arvizos, both the Department of Children and Family Services and the LAPD determined there was no case, and officially closed the investigation. However, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department then launched their own investigation in April of 2003. District Attorney Tom Sneddon had changed the alleged dates of the molestation from “Feb 7th-Mar 10th” to “Feb 20th-Mar 12th” in order to help explain away a rebuttal tape the Arvizos had made in which they sang Michael’s praises as a father figure to them). The dropping of the first investigation launched by the Department of Children and Family Services and the LAPD is most likely what Kat George was referring to, but there is a huge difference between an investigation and actually charging someone!
Initially, the article had repeated the thoroughly debunked media hoax regarding child porn found at Neverland. At least that error appears to have been corrected, but it is still linking to a tabloid article from The Sun that mentions “life sized creepy dolls” being found (which were actually mannequins, and simply one more item in a room filled with hoarded clutter). And really, do we need “Pajama Day” listed as one of the “10 Most Shocking Facts” about this trial? Here Kat George is simply doing the same thing the media did back in 2005, using the spectacle of “Pajama Day” to divert from any real facts about the trial. (To further add to the confusion, the website is using a photo from Michael’s 2002 civil trial against Marcel Avram, making it appear to an unsuspecting public as if Jackson took the witness stand in his own behalf at the 2005 molestation trial. It is the well known photo of Michael taking from a jar of candy while on the witness stand. In the context of a civil trial-which this was-it’s an adorable photo, but if readers are led to mistakenly believe that it is from the molestation trial, it certainly creates the wrong impression, making it appear as if he is treating a gravely serious accusation in a frivolous manner. One almost has to wonder if this was the intent by using that photo, which has nothing to do with the Arvizo trial). If we want to talk about “shocking facts” from the trial that the public may not know, how about starting with a DA who intentionally changed the timeline of the alleged abuse in order to make his case fly? How about this same DA having a pornographic magazine tested for Gavin’s fingerprints after having knowingly had Gavin touch the magazine? How about how witness after witness crumbed under cross examination? Or the illegal raid of Mark Gerago’s office, which violated client/attorney privilege? Or the fact that Janet Arvizo had already coached her kids to lie when she scammed JC Penney? Any or all of these (and so many more!) make for far more “shocking facts” of this case than anything mentioned in the Oxygen article, which simply sources tabloid articles.
One can only assume that if the content of that article in any way reflects the overall content of the episode, this can’t bode well-either in the name of factual accuracy or fairness to a now deceased defendant, one whose full acquittal in 2005 should have ended the matter once and for all. Just as with the Reelz channel’s recent series Rich and Acquitted, these shows seem designed with little more than one purpose in mind-to blatantly defy the laws of double jeopardy and to make a mockery of the justice system, all in the name of sensationalistic entertainment.
Important Update: Just as I was preparing to publish this post, I was informed (thanks to my good friend sanemjfan) of a Q&A session conducted on Reddit by the show’s executive producer, Nancy Glass. I have to say, I was both pleasantly surprised and genuinely encouraged by what she had to say in answer to some fans’ questions and concerns. In the name of fairness-and especially given that I blasted the show pretty good here-I would like to include those responses for you guys.
Given Glass’s responses, I feel somewhat better and more hopeful that this show may not be the total trainwreck I was anticipating. I’m still not thrilled about Ray Hultman being the apparent major spokesperson for the Jackson jury, but perhaps the opinions of the other four jurors will help balance things out. I am hoping this may turn out to be a valuable lesson that we can’t always judge an entire program based off of a horribly edited trailer, but as the old saying goes, the proof will be “in the pudding” this Sunday night. I will update this post with a full review once the episode has aired.
UPDATE: The show will also be featuring juror Paulina Coccoz. I hope she will be allowed ample time in the episode to be able to speak on the case as passionately as he has in this recently published Fox article:
Juror Paulina Coccoz is shocked many people still believe Michael Jackson was guilty on all charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy he befriended as the child recovered from cancer in 2003.
The then-46-year-old King of Pop walked free in June 2005 after a nearly four-month trial. While the jurors said at the time they wanted to “return to our lives as anonymously as we came,” some, including Coccoz, have spoken about their experience for Oxygen’s four-night special, “The Jury Speaks,” in hopes it will set the record straight.
“It’s really important for me to share my story because when I talk, even in my daily life to people that I don’t know or even with people I know, everybody still thinks he was guilty,” Coccoz, known as juror #10, told Fox News. “And I find it hard to believe that it’s still going on. That’s not what happened… he was accused of some horrible, horrible things and it’s a sad thing that we lost such a wonderful human being on this planet.
“We need to all look at things for what they were instead of saying, ‘Oh yeah, he was a freak. He was guilty because he was a freak.’ Everybody’s different and God forbid we should all be judged in a courtroom because we’re a freak and we’re guilty.”
Coccoz didn’t always feel that way about the pop star. When the mother of three boys first heard the accusations, she was ready to find him guilty if they proved to be true.
“For me, it was a real sensitive spot,” she admitted. “I took it kind of personal in a way that you would never want something like that to happen to your children. So I really didn’t think or care that he was Michael Jackson. If he was doing these things that he was being accused of, I didn’t feel that I had any problem finding him guilty if that was the case.”
The case first arose after a February 2003 broadcast of the British documentary “Living with Michael Jackson,” in which the entertainer said sharing his bed with children in the Neverland Ranch was a non-sexual act of affection. He was shown holding hands with Gavin Arvizo, a cancer patient Jackson wanted to help, which immediately sparked outrage.
While the family originally insisted no inappropriate contact occurred between the two, Jackson was charged later that same year. Prosecutors claimed at the time the singer gave Arvizo alcohol in order to abuse him.
“I do remember looking at his face and his body language when Gavin Arvizo took the stand,” recalled Coccoz. “It was very obvious he was deeply hurt. You could see that his head was down and there was no eye contact whatsoever. He was taking in all of the testimony and his body language really showed his sadness.”
The jury found the testimony of Arvizo’s family to be not credible. Some jurors even noted Arvizo’s mother would stare down at them and even snapped her fingers at the bewildered group.
“There were a lot of moments where you felt… ulterior motives was money,” she explained. “And it appeared that they were imposing themselves on everyone that they could and they used different opportunities and a ‘feel sorry for me’ scenario. There were a lot of moments, really.
“There were several people, several stars that indicated they really needed something from them. It was very strange that they talked to an attorney and said he was molested. And ironically, it was the same attorney that had something to do with the Jordan Chandler case. So, I don’t know, that raised some eyebrows. It just seemed really, really far-fetched. And unfortunately, the family’s credibility was just horrible.”
In 1993, Chandler’s father accused Jackson of sexually abusing his 13-year-old son. While Jackson always denied any wrongdoing, they reportedly settled the case out of court for $20 million and both parties signed a confidentiality agreement.
The mother also noticed something she thought was peculiar about Arvizo.
“Because I have boys, I guess that’s my experience I’m using to refer to,” she said. “Boys are pretty obvious in their mannerisms. [And] he didn’t seem upset…when you put kids in a situation where they’re suddenly surrounded by adults, you see a different person…when it comes to talking about being molested, I would imagine that’s a very difficult, difficult thing to talk about, especially in front of a lot of people in a courtroom setting. So I can see how it’s something that would be upsetting. [For him], it’s something where it would come across as ‘no big deal, just another day in the courtroom.’
“But also, the emotions that go with a moment that causes trauma or impact on you, especially if you cared about someone or were so enamored with someone who totally let you down. I would think that would be a little more intense…not even a tear or a moment of choking up arose. And that was kind of strange, too.”
The jury delivered the verdict in California Superior Court on their seventh day of deliberations. Coccoz revealed she will never forget Jackson’s reaction.
“I remember looking and I could see that there was a tear running down his face…we were all very emotional. It was a very emotional moment,” she revealed.
And while the courtroom drama came to an end, Coccoz believed the trial haunted Jackson since then. The singer passed away at age 50 in 2009 from cardiac arrest.
“[It] painted a picture of him being this monster when he spent all his life trying to do good things for children, that had to have just crushed him,” she said. “I know it would have crushed me. To rob him of the joy of what he worked so hard (for) in his life was just so, so wrong. I can only imagine for him, that was probably the reason why he had a hard time with finding that spark again. I imagine that spark was just taken away.”
Coccoz added that if the trial were today, she would still stand by her not guilty verdict based on the evidence presented to the jury.
“It was pretty obvious that there was no molestation done,” she said. “It was pretty obvious that there were ulterior motives on behalf of the family. And the mother, she orchestrated the whole thing…that’s my opinion. But there wasn’t a shred of evidence that was able to show us or give us any doubt in voting guilty. It was pretty obvious there was no other way to vote other than not guilty.”
“The Jury Speaks: Michael Jackson” airs Sunday, July 23 at 9 p.m.
Also, at least one of the featured jurors will be conducting a Q&A on Reddit after the broadcast.
(Note: All of the court documents contained here are being used with the permission of Dailymichael.com. Please do not copy without permission-thanks).
A few days ago, there was quite a ripple in the MJ fan community when Dailymichael.com released the latest bombshell information regarding the ongoing civil case between Wade Robson and Michael Jackson’s companies, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. While it’s not exactly a shocker to discover that Wade has been withholding evidence in the case, it’s the nature of exactly what he has been hiding that is particularly disturbing. It turns out that back in 2012, Wade Robson attempted to shop a purportedly “tell all” book about his “relationship” with Michael Jackson (note my use of quotation marks for both phrases!). This means that he was attempting to sell what he commented in 2013 as “my truth” long before any lawsuit was ever filed!
For my purposes, I don’t wish to rehash all of the details of this latest discovery process (for that important information, I urge you to consult the original source here as well as the full document) but, rather, simply to provide my own analysis of what this latest development says about Wade’s motivations and what it may mean, potentially, for the case.
Only a few weeks before this latest development hit, I had just published another piece in The Huffington Post which examined the timeline of events leading up to Wade’s lawsuit. I didn’t know at the time about the secret book manuscript which Wade had allegedly attempted to shop just prior to filing the lawsuit, as none of these documents had been released prior to this most recent discovery phase, but it appears I was pretty much spot on with everything else. The motion filed by the estate–and the surfacing of the previously hidden book manuscript-all pinpoints to a very specific set of circumstances that fell into place from around 2011-2012, or right about the exact time that Wade lost out on his bid to direct the Cirque du Soleil Immortal show and the start of his personal downward spiral, resulting in a substantial loss of income and employment opportunities. The discovery that Wade had been attempting to shop a book in early 2013 still leaves a couple of questions open: Did Wade specifically plan to write and sell this so-called book, and only turned to the lawsuit as an alternative Plan B when that course of action failed to materialize? Or was it all part of a more elaborate Machiavellian camapign in which he imagined that the book would coincide with the announcement of his case against the Michael Jackson estate? Did he have dreams of a runaway New York Times bestseller that would have catapulted his case? At this point, we can only speculate. It would be easy to imagine that Wade had planned it all purposely as part of his official “coming out” media blitz, which he must have believed would be kicked off by his Today show interview (a media blitz that he must have believed, in turn, would be bound to pressure the estate to settle the case before…well, let’s just say, before things got too nasty). Or did the whole idea of a lawsuit only emerge as a by product of the book’s failure to ignite interest in the publishing world? I have been combing these recent documents to try to find those answers, and although nothing can be stated definitively, I have to say that reading through these emails and documents has been quite enlightening in piecing together Wade’s motivations, as well as an interesting step by step guide in how this “case” was (and is continuing to be) cobbled together.
To back track just a bit, one thing we do know is that Wade’s plan for his “confession” to ignite some huge, splashy media blitz never really materialized. At least, I don’t think it materialized in the way that he had hoped or planned. The media response to these posthumous allegations against Michael Jackson was surprisingly lukewarm, and it became apparent that the only people who really cared were, of course, the same marginalized group of people who always care most passionately about any Michael Jackson related news-the fans and the haters. In the meantime, none of it proved enough to deter public sentiment against Michael Jackson, at least not anymore or less than what it had already been prior to 2013. More importantly, it certainly wasn’t enough to put a dent in the continuing posthumous success of his music catalog or related projects (Immortal went on to achieve record success and the posthumous Xscape album reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 200, all within weeks of Wade’s allegations becoming public. This had to have been a terrible blow to his ego!). In short, nothing much changed. Those who had always believed Michael was innocent continued to believe-and were sure that Wade must be lying. Those who wanted to believe he was guilty, of course, embraced the news, but what else is new? With the continued success of Michael Jackson’s name and brand, there certainly was no incentive to settle the case, even if the estate had been so inclined.
And now, thanks to the latest discovery, we learn that Wade’s plan to peddle his trashy memoir was similarly dashed. This in itself is an interesting development which is quite revealing, considering that both the media and the commercial publishing industry has pretty much had an open door policy when it comes to peddling smut written about Michael Jackson. Remember what Aphrodite Jones claimed as the reason she could not interest a major publisher in Conspiracy? It was because all of the major publishing houses only wanted to publish books that were anti Michael Jackson, and were not interested in books that explored other possibilities, let alone the idea of Michael Jackson’s innocence or his having been railroaded by the mass media. This is why I find Wade’s failure to sell his book a particularly interesting turn of events, but more about that shortly.
What is known is that after Wade’s initial scheme to ignite a media blitz that would pressure the estate to settle fizzled, he seemed to drop off the radar for a considerable time. Obviously, the case was still ongoing, but Robson and his legal team would have to take some time to draw back, rethink their strategy, and plan for another attack.
For Wade, it would turn out to be another three years-and a change in attorneys-before his next preemptive strike. This time, thanks to the underhanded savvy of a legal team that thrives on publicity, as well as Robson’s apparent friendly relation with Radar Online, they got the splash they wanted, with what essentially amounted to an internet hoax. By cleverly “leaking” to Radar Online public court documents that were, in fact, over a decade old (and which in actuality detailed nothing more than the same art and photography books that were well scrutinized in 2005) they managed to essentially create a media hoax out of the tabloid industry’s willingness to spin old court documents with lurid headlines that falsely depicted a ghastly tale of “stockpiles” of “disturbing” child pornography. This time, the damage done had far more reaching impact. The rebuttals to the false story were swift and vociferous, but not nearly enough in number to combat the tide of sheer willful ignorance perpetuated by yellow journalism. Every day, I still run across people-whether on the internet or in real life-who now believe that these stories are true. Why? Not so much because they read them on the internet, but due to the sheer pervasiveness with which the fake story took wings and grew. In my area, it was even reported on a local news channel during their nightly spot that is dedicated to news from around the world. This meant that now, Wade and his legal team had engaged in a strategy that had finally made it past the tabloids, and into the realm of mainstream news reporting. Not good.
While much of this may be old news to most readers of this blog, it’s important nevertheless both for establishing the narrative of Wade’s allegations, for establishing how the case has played out in the media (and will continue to do so) and for establishing the pattern of Wade’s motivation.
One pattern I find interesting in going back and reading the series of emails between Wade and his mother Joy Robson is that during this phase in late 2012, Wade’s biggest concern seems to be more about gathering information for his book than actually piecing together a legal case. In an email to Joy Robson he prefaces the correspondence by stating, “Here are some questions that have been coming up for me as I write.” As many have already pointed out, the emails are revealing in displaying just how little Wade actually does remember about his time with Michael Jackson. Repeatedly, he seems to ask his mother very pointed questions that are obviously designed to fit his theories. He asks specifically about a testimony from a Neverland security guard (Charli Michaels) who described Joy Robson as being distraught during a Mother’s Day weekend visit to Neverland in 1990 because Norman Staikos had allegedly told her she could not have access to Wade during the time that he was rehearsing with Michael Jackson. To that testimony, Joy Robson had emphatically replied in her email: “Wow! None of that is true!” and yet later in his deposition, Wade nevertheless still entered Charli Michael’s report, even after his own mother had denied its validity! He repeatedly asks his mother questions about his own state of physical or emotional being after certain events and dates…”How did I seem when…” which, as a sexual abuse victim myself, I find hard to believe. Granted, I am fully aware that all childhood sexual abuse victims deal with and process their abuse differently, but I find it hard to believe that he would not be able to remember for himself exactly how he felt at those times. In my case, I remember being so physically ill that I could not get up and get dressed for school. All I could taste; smell; see in my mind was a penis being forced into my mouth. Every time I would start to get up to get dressed for school, I would start retching, and it was only my empty stomach that kept me from vomiting.These are the kinds of details that a sexually abused child remembers. I wouldn’t need to ask my mother about it because, frankly, I am sure I remember it better than she does. In Wade’s case, it could be that he was merely looking for his mother to corroborate certain events he remembers, or believes he remembers. But in all honesty, his emails read more like someone trying to piece together a narrative and desperately trying to make all the pieces fit. You can see him literally latching onto any detail that might prove significant. At one point he even asks her what his father had said about sexual abuse! And in his December 2016 deposition, it is further revealed that he had emailed to himself a link to an MJFacts.com article, confirming a suspicion that many MJ fans have had for years about the link between this hater website and Robson’s case.
The biggest factor is not so much that Wade was writing the book, but that he purposely withheld this information when repeatedly asked to supply all documents in which he had discussed his allegations against Michael. This would have included, for example, not only the manuscript itself but all of the related emails between Wade and his mother in which the book was discussed, as well as emails between Wade and his literary agent and any potential publishers of the book (all of whom would have known about its contents, as this would have been Wade’s main selling point of the book).
The book became a central focus of Wade’s recent deposition on December 12, 2016 (See here for full transcripts). The exhibits produced reveal that Wade had gotten as far as securing a literary agent, and that the book had been shopped to a select handful of major publishing houses, all of whom had passed on it except for Harper Collins (who, we must assume, also eventually passed). The exhibits include a request for Wade to participate in a conference call with Harper Collins, which means the manuscript must have at least made it past the initial screening phase at that particular company.
First of all, the fact that Wade had chosen this route to publishing-taking the trouble to secure a high profile literary agent who could get the book seen by the best commercial publishing houses-suggests that money was the main motive. Wade obviously wasn’t looking to self publish this book! He was seeking a major publisher, obviously in hopes of an impressive advance figure, and for which major distribution would guarantee maximum profits. I can’t say I exactly blame him-it’s the route that most potential and wannabe writers envision as the best case scenario for their product. As a celebrity writer, however-and particularly as one writing about his association with an even bigger major celebrity-Wade would have had the benefit of additional perks. For example, it is very possible in his case that he might have sold the project on spec alone, before one word was even written! The idea alone-if correctly pitched and packaged to an interested publisher-could have guaranteed him a sizable income paid in advance, pending the manuscript’s actual completion and delivery.
What I don’t know at this point is whether Wade had an actual manuscript, or if the book was just an idea being pitched to his agent and to publishers. I do know it is possible to secure a literary agent based on a query alone, although usually most agents will at least want to see a few sample pages or chapters (you know, just to ensure that a potential client is actually producing what they claim to be producing, that they actually can write, and that the actual material lives up to the promise of the query). Some literary agents will request that clients produce the entire manuscript before they will agree to take them on, but not in every case. This is particularly true in the world of celebrity memoirs, where a pitch is often enough to at least generate agent representation. In the case of Renaissance Literary & Talent Agency-the agency that was representing Wade-it is stated that potential clients are usually required to submit at least a partial. However, if Wade’s agent was simply querying his book to potential publishers, this could explain Wade’s insistence that no publishers ever saw his manuscript. However, it still doesn’t explain or excuse why this important bit of discovery was withheld all this time (let’s remember, he was still discussing the book’s contents with many individuals, including his mother, agent and potential publishers). Also, it is far more likely that they were at least distributing a partial manuscript to these potential publishers, which would mean that Wade was clearly lying when he claimed he had never sent his manuscript to any publishers.
Having had some past experience with literary agents, how they operate and all of the various tiers within the industry (from the sharksters all the way up the chain to the most respected names in the industry) I was curious about Wade’s literary agent-Alan Nevins-and the company that agreed to represent him. Renaissance Literary & Talent Agency is, in fact, a legit agency (in other words, it is not one of those fly-by-night agencies that asks for a reading fee out of pocket or that requires a fee for representation). This would mean that the agency only takes on clients and projects that they genuinely believe they can sell. Judging from their profile, most of their clients are celebrities and they seem to specialize in celebrity memoirs. This would mean that most of the projects they agree to take on are projects that already have a built-in audience and thus, a guarantee of profit.
Renaissance Literary & Talent
Post Office Box 17379
Beverly Hills, California 90209
Alan Nevins started his book career working for the famed super agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar. In 1993 Nevins founded Renaissance Literary & Talent with two Hollywood based literary agents and the agency thrived.
In 1995, Renaissance acquired the Irving Paul Lazar Agency and its extensive backlist after a year of negotiations, beating several eager bidders, including one of the majors. This acquisition, and that of the H.N. Swanson Agency, gave the infant Renaissance the enviable legacy of two of Hollywood’s most colorful literary agents and solidified its place as a powerhouse boutique literary firm supplying material to the New York publishers as well as the film/television community.
After Renaissance completed a three year stint associated with Michael Ovitz’s Artists Management Group, Renaissance was quietly placed in the background and Nevins cut a deal with music and film management company, The Firm, to create a literary division that would come with longstanding and impressive relationships in Hollywood, London and New York.
After six years with The Firm, Nevins departed in late 2008 and re-established Renaissance Literary & Talent which will allow him the continued independence to represent clients who may already have other talent managers and agency representation in place but seek exclusive literary representation.
A bit further down in the profile is a list of some of the clients he has represented, and it is certainly an impressive list, including some big Hollywood and literary names!
Heidi Murkoff, Steven Saylor, Michael Curtis Ford, Lauren Bacall, Cordelia Biddle, Larry Collins & Dominique LaPierre, Marc Eliot, Rita Rudner, Kirk Douglas, Goldie Hawn, Marlee Matlin, Don Wolfe, Wendy Holden, David Eisenhower, James McGrath Morris, Jason Jennings, Liz MurrayThe Estate of Cornell Woolrich, The Estate of James Jones, The Estate of George Axelrod, The Estate of Elia Kazan
And if you are curious, you can read more about the agency and who they represent here.
Clearly, then, both Alan Nevins and his agency, Renaissance Literary & Talent Agency, have a niche and that is selling Hollywood memoirs. Thus, Wade’s own short-lived career, as well as his association with names like Michael Jackson and Britney Spears, would have been enough selling point to at least get his foot in the door and to guarantee that his pitch would at least be given some consideration. But what happened beyond that isn’t immediately clear from the emails, other than the fact that publishers simply weren’t biting.
In a world where any scandalous fodder about Michael Jackson has been fair game, one has to wonder why publisher after publisher passed on Wade’s memoir. But perhaps the reasons aren’t really that far fetched. For starters, Wade was offering a pretty shocking set of allegations against a name celebrity. However, book publishers do not necessarily abide by the same code of ethics as tabloid journalism. This meant that before being willing to put their name and reputation on the line, any major publisher would have demanded that Wade’s story had to pass a fairly thorough round of vetting and fact checking. This may explain, in part, why Wade was prodding Joy with all of those questions. Obviously, we know how full of holes his story has been from the beginning, so it’s no surprise that some publishers may have bailed out if he refused to cooperate with the vetting process, or was unable to successfully corroborate his claims. Secondly (and the biggest reason Michael Jackson books are a particularly hard sell with publishers these days) is simply that the market is so glutted. The simple fact is that books about Michael Jackson are not the guaranteed profit makers that they were in years past. There is simply too much competition, and with the advent of social media, fans have become much more savvy at creating backlashes against controversial titles (which is a good thing, except it is also a double-edged sword in that most publishers are often only looking at the bottom line: Books about Michael Jackson simply don’t sell that well anymore, and usually create more trouble than they’re worth. This means that a lot of potentially positive titles never receive consideration, either!).
Thirdly, however, there may also be a more encouraging reason why Wade’s book didn’t sell. Although many fans may find it too incredulous to believe, there really has been a paradigm shift in the way the publishing world perceives Michael Jackson. At least part of this tide stems from the knowledge that trash written about Michael Jackson simply isn’t as profitable as it used to be, and a growing awareness that the shift in public sentiment which began with his untimely passing in 2009 has continued to influence these decisions.
Or it could simply be that the book was so poorly written that not even a ghost writer could save it! That is certainly a reasonable possibility as well!
What I find most telling is how Wade responded to his book’s failure to sell. He claims his only motivation for writing the book was to help him deal with “his healing process” and to help other “victims” work through theirs’. If that were the case, why did he turn to a civil lawsuit and more importantly, perhaps, why didn’t he simply self publish his book after it failed to find a major publisher? God knows it’s easy enough to get any book on the market place these days; all one has to do is set up an Amazon account and publish away! But the catch is that self publishing doesn’t lead to the kind of monetary awards Wade was after. Self publishing his book would have only brought the wrath of the entire Michael Jackson fan community upon him, with none of the compensating rewards of a three figure advance! The best case scenario with a self published book is that he would have earned a pittance in royalties from the handful of Jackson haters who would have most likely been his only audience. Nope. Better just to try suing Michael’s estate and companies.
Whatever we are to make of Wade’s attempt to “sell” his friendship with Michael Jackson, there are two facts we can take away from this new revelation which can’t be ignored. Wade Robson-again-deliberately lied and withheld evidence. What’s more, this latest development reveals even more clearly that his motive has always been about money. In his latest deposition, he comes across even more as the lying and manipulative con artist that I believe he is, as he attempts pathetically to try to explain his way out of very pointed questions as to why this information was withheld. Whatever develops going forward, this can’t bode well for Wade’s case.