Interview With Lisa D. Campbell

book coverI am excited to share with you my long awaited interview with Lisa D. Campbell, author of three books that rank among the best written on Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson: The King of Pop, The King of Pop: His Dakest Hour, and her most recent, Michael Jackson: The Complete Story of the King of Pop. Campbell also has the noted distinction of being the only MJ biographer to have impressed Michael enough to warrant a bouquet of roses and a mention of thanks in the liner notes of his HIStory album!

Lisa D. Campbell is an author and researcher whose passion for Michael Jackson-as both a hobby and “full time job”-is impressive indeed. After completing her latest book, I submitted a list of interview questions, which Lisa was gracious enough to kindly answer, despite the fact that the list quickly grew into an epic! Well, I had a feeling that was bound to happen, given our mutual passion for this subject (although I will admit, unlike Lisa-whose resolve to abstain from Pepsi out of loyalty to Michael is admirable, I still have my weakness for my Diet Mountain Dew! Sorry, Michael).

Anyway, soft drink preferences aside, I hope you will enjoy this question and answer exchange between two very dedicated MJ researchers!

 

 

lisa campbell
Lisa D. Campbell In Her “Office”

 

Raven: Something that struck me as unique about this biography is that it is one of the few MJ biographies that simply presents a straightforward presentation of the facts, without embellishment. The problem with so many MJ biographies is that the writers often have a specific narrative they are trying to push, or an agenda they are trying to accomplish. Their overall purpose seems to be to convince people that MJ was this, or was that. Your book doesn’t do that-and I must say, it is a refreshing change! You are obviously a fan, but the book at all times maintains a very neutral and balanced perspective. My question is: Did you set out intentionally to write this kind of book? And how difficult is it, when writing about MJ, to keep your own perspectives/opinions/biases out of the narrative?

Lisa: I wanted to present a picture of Michael Jackson that examined all aspects of his life. Some go well out of their way to paint every aspect of his life as somehow weird, depraved, or at least bizarre and skim over all the positive things he accomplished. Others, in attempt to canonize him pay little if any attention to the difficult times of his life – the Chandler accusations; his trial; drug usage, etc. My focus was on presenting the facts of his life to inform readers and let them see MJ without being colored with my bias. This was certainly most crucial in covering the Chandler accusations and his trial. The facts in each case speak for themselves and lead readers to a logical conclusion, something we all know the media coverage did not do.

I did add a little more of my own two cents in this latest edition – something I debated about throughout the whole process. But I think it is clear when something is just my opinion. My true objective was to present a complete picture of his life including the highs and lows, and hopefully change some people’s perception of him that have largely known him through all the tabloid headlines and rumors throughout the years. The painful times of his life – as well as the good times- certainly helped shape the man he was. To think it took the Arvizo family deliberately turning their backs on him, creating lies and more lies about him after he helped them all so extensively, that it took this level of betrayal for him to use the “h” word, that he hated someone, I think speaks volumes about his character. That is what I wanted to illustrate for readers.

Raven:  This next question is a bit of a spin-off from the first. Do you think this may have been one reason why Michael was so impressed with your first two books? For someone who had become so used to seeing himself “psychoanalyzed” in every way possible, it must have been a refreshing change for him to finally read something that simply presented the facts of his life, without embellishment and with no sinister, hidden “narrative” to promote. For Michael to have acknowledged your work the way he did speaks volumes, for as I’m sure you know, it was very rarely that Michael ever acknowledged any of the many books written about him-and when he did, it usually wasn’t positive. Did he ever tell you, specifically, what quality(ies) he most admired about your first two books?

Lisa: Michael’s acknowledgement of my work was truly unexpected and overwhelming. My highest hope was that I would somehow have an indication that he was just aware of my work. I sent him two copies of my book. One was inscribed with a note to him, for the other, I asked if he could sign it and return to me. Just a couple of days after receiving the book, it was Fed Ex-ed back to me with a note and autograph from Michael. I was told Michael loved my book, “he flipped over it”. I agree that he had to have been tired of being psychoanalyzed by so many and that a book simply chronicling his unrivaled career accomplishments and humanitarian efforts must have been quite refreshing. I was told he appreciated my attention to detail and he wrote a note to me saying, “… your book is a wonderful inspiration.” As you may know, his kindness and consideration did not end there. A few weeks later I received three dozen beautiful red roses on my birthday with a card reading, “With sincere thanks and love, Michael Jackson.” I will forever cherish his acknowledgement of my work.

  “Thanks, Lisa Campbell, for your support and love.”-Michael Jackson, From “HIStory” Liner Notes

Raven: I will be honest with you. One of the reasons this interview has taken so long (I first contacted you in December, I believe) is the sheer size and scope of this book, which ended up taking me a lot longer to read than I had anticipated. But such is the nature of this subject’s life-and only a very big and epic book could ever do it total justice. Most authors would be intimidated with the prospect of writing just ONE definitive MJ biography. But you have written no less than three, including this last which in my opinion should stand as the definitive story of Michael’s life for those who are only interested in the facts. How intimidating is Michael Jackson’s life as a subject to write about? I know you are very passionate about him as a subject, but do you ever get frustrated/intimidated by the sheer prospect of tackling his life? Do you ever get writer’s block, or sometimes find yourself hitting a brick wall? If you had moments like that in the writing of this book, how did you get past them? What kept you focused, ultimately?

Lisa: First of all, thank you very much for the compliment, to quote our mutual hero, “I am very honored”. I honestly did not find the prospect of the project intimidating. His life is a subject I have followed and researched for decades now and I guess I just feel comfortable with it. Even though there has been a long period of time between my last book and this new one, I have never stopped following him, collecting information and researching, so I actually had much of the material readily available. After the first two books, and following the enormity of his loss, I just felt compelled to finish the story. I felt I almost owed it to him and his memory. There were a few times when I was undecided on the best way to present a subject (how much of the ugly details of Chandler’s accusations do I include, or those from his trial?) I would put it temporarily on the back burner and think about it while I worked on another area. Ultimately it was my passion for my subject that kept me on track and my personal commitment to his story. Researching MJ is a full time job and in my spare time, it is my hobby! It is a long volume, but I tried to make it fast reading and not an arduous task to get through. I actually had to edit it down. I had nearly 1000 pages before I tackled Dr. Murray’s trial. It is not titled “The Complete Story” for nothing!

Raven: One thing I was very impressed with as a reader is your attention to detail. I love the way you can recount every single chart position of every song/album, or how in describing an awards show or event Michael attended, how you could describe to the most minute detail every outfit he wore. I was impressed with how you managed to catalog this sheer volume of information. I would assume most of it just comes with the knowledge obtained from having followed his career for so long. I, too, have a pretty extensive and detailed knowledge of all of his music’s chart performances, awards won, etc, but I don’t have a photographic memory so I find myself constantly double checking to ensure I have my facts correct. I guess my question to you is: Are you just a walking encyclopedia of compiled MJ trivia (LOL) or do you find yourself, like me, constantly sweating the small stuff and fact checking to make sure your all your i’s are dotted, every “t” crossed, and every p and q accounted for? What tools of reference do you keep ever ready and close by when you are writing on Michael?

One Of My Own Favorite "Looks" From Michael's Many Awards Appearances, This Gorgeous White Jacket Lined With Pears And Accentuated With Black Armband and Gloves From The 1993 Grammys
One Of My Own Favorite “Looks” From Michael’s Many Awards Appearances, This Gorgeous White Jacket Lined With Pearls And Accentuated With Black Armband and Gloves From The 1993 Grammys

Lisa: I do not have a photographic memory either, but I do have a massive video and print library and I have watched all of my tapes of performances, short films, award shows, etc a lot! Everything is labeled, categorized and stored chronologically for easy retrieval. Having done this for so long, I have also built up a pretty good mental catalog of a huge amount of details. Dates of significance tend to stick in my mind too. My friends and family would undoubtedly say I am a walking MJ encyclopedia. I have watched and re-watched his award show appearances to transcribe his words. (To this day I can recite, verbatim and with all of his pauses, his acceptance remarks from the 1986 Grammys for the win for Song of the Year for “We Are the World”.) I am also really good at playing “Six Degrees of Michael Jackson”! I do go back and double check details often to ensure accuracy. I have referred to Adrian Grant’s A Visual Documentary at times just to confirm some timeframes. I served as a researcher for his project and find it a convenient way sometimes to confirm a date. I worked to include as detailed a description as possible of award show appearance, performances, etc, because those are details I would want to know. If I read he was presented with an award somewhere I wanted to know what he was wearing? Did he have his shades on? A fedora? What did he say? So I included those kinds of details.

Raven: Back when you did Catherine Gross’s blogtalk radio program in December, I called in and asked you a question regarding Michael’s relationship with LaToya. I was intrigued by something I had read in your first book-a bit of info I had not seen anywhere else-in which you mentioned that there had been a dispute between Michael and LaToya in the early 90’s regarding the deed to Hayvenhurst. This would have been at or near the same time as the infamous Tel Aviv press conference. LaToya, as you know, has been in the news again quite a bit with her upcoming reality show and involvement in the careers of Michael’s children, so this seems like a good time to address the unusual brother/sister dynamic that she and Michael had. For the benefit of those readers who did not hear the blogtalk radio broadcast, could you tell us again some of your thoughts on LaToya and why she turned on Michael at that time? Do you think this dispute they were having over the deed could have fueled that Tel Aviv press conference, at least in part?

Lisa: It seems to me to be quite a brutal way to retaliate for such a dispute though it is difficult to put much of anything beyond some of the family members. Her press conference in Tel Aviv seems to me to be the ultimate betrayal. While LaToya claims Michael later forgave her completely, others say he wanted very little to do with her after that. I tend to give more credence to the latter. Of course now she has revealed that her actions at this time were all due to the control her manager/husband Jack Gordon had over her and he threatened harm to her and/or Michael if she did not comply. Only when faced with the prospect of doing something she found exceedingly distasteful (turning on her brother at his very darkest hour didn’t somehow qualify) did she finally find the courage to break free from him. Overall, I think she tends to exaggerate how “close” she and Michael were. While she admits to not being in contact with him over a couple of periods each several years long, they were supposedly two of the closest of the siblings? I was prone to give her some credit recently for at least trying to pursue some efforts on her own and almost seemed to distance herself from the ongoing drama within the family. Her new role as agent or whatever for Michael’s children and being responsible to some degree for Prince’s debut as a correspondent on ET is questionable to say the least. While Prince has voiced an interest in show business as a filmmaker, I think it is pretty clear this is not what Michael wanted for his kids at this young age.

diana-ross
Michael Referred To Diana Ross As Both His “Mother” AND His “Lover”…An Interesting Combination Of Word Choices, To Say The Least!

Raven: In the book, you mention how Michael referred to Diana Ross as both his “lover and mother.” I, too, was struck by that rather odd statement in Moonwalk and have often wondered about it. I am sure you know that there has been much speculation regarding the true nature of his relationship with Diana Ross. He certainly seemed genuinely smitten with her, and this was a constant throughout his life. (It can also help put to rest the speculation I’ve heard in some circles that his only sexual interest was in white women! Certainly there is more than ample evidence to the contrary!). With that being said, one can’t discuss the possibility of any hint of an intimate relationship between Michael and Diana Ross without also inviting another controversy, because obviously any such relationship would have been occurring when Michael was still very much a minor. What do you make of some of these long-standing stories/rumors regarding Michael and Diana Ross?

Lisa: I agree there is ample evidence that he had no clear preference as to race in regards to the women in his life. I think the speculation rises in part from the fact both of his wives were white. However he was also romantically linked to a number of African American women. I tend to not put much stock in the notion there was an actual romance between him and Diana when he was very young. He certainly had a very strong motherly bond with her as a youngster and it grew to perhaps a more romantic feeling later, but it is doubtful to me that he acted upon it. He was so timid, and especially in regards to sexual matters, it is hard to believe there was a physical relationship at that time. He was probably deliberately vague about this and his other relationships in Moonwalk as he was a very private person and wanted to keep some aspects of his life a little more mysterious and I think he just found it distasteful – and ungentlemanly – to publically address such things. There is of course ample evidence to support that Michael long held Diana Ross in high regard. Obviously naming her as the contingent guardian of his beloved children bears that out.

Raven: Speaking on the subject of Michael and relationships, you also mention quite definitively in the book that Michael did have a year-long fling with Tatiana Thumptzen. I know there have been rumors, speculation, etc. Some believe that Tatiana basically just concocted a fantasy that she wanted to believe. But you seem quite confident with this info, so I am wondering what was your source for this particular info and why do you feel so confidently that they did, in fact, have a year-long physical affair?

Lisa: Tatiana did make this claim – though I am not sure there has been much if any corroboration. It may be more wishful thinking on her part. She has continued to speak very highly of him and has called him “the love of her life”. She obviously felt a strong bond with him. My intent was to present her assertion as a fact, just as she did. She stated the claim in an interview and I relayed that.

Raven: One thing I absolutely love about your books is that I always discover interesting little facts and bits of trivia that I have never heard anywhere else. For example, I had no idea that it was Michael who actually suggested to Freddie Mercury that “Another One Bites The Dust” should be released as a single! Michael seemed to have a very good intuitive sense of what would make a great “hit” song, and in fact, it seemed that when Sony stopped listening to his input is when some of his commercial impact started to erode a bit (for example, Michael wanted “Unbreakable” released as the first single from Invincible, not You Rock My World, and again, the chart performance proved that his instincts were probably right!). You make an interesting point in the book that, although Dangerous was a hugely successful album, that era also marked the first time that some of the singles released failed to make the Top 10 (both “Jam” and “Heal The World” stalled at #26 and #27, respectively, on the US pop charts, though HTW as you pointed out did much better overseas). Also, Dangerous became the first album of his adult solo career that managed to produce only one #1 single on the pop chart, even if albeit that one #1 was the phenomenally successful “Black or White.” What factors do you think may have contributed to this? Shifting musical tastes in the early 90’s? Michael Jackson overload? The management of Epic/Sony? The absence of Quincy Jones at the helm? Or just the inevitable inability to maintain the sort of phenomenal momentum established by OTW, Thriller, and Bad?

Lisa: Most likely a number of elements were at play. Not having Quincy Jones involved in the project may have played a role. They just formed such a cohesive team, a seemingly unbeatable pair. It would be fascinating to see how differently the album would have been had he continued to work with Quincy Jones. As for Michael Jackson overload – those words do not register with me! With up to four and five years between album releases, I was always starved for more MJ! I always saw Michael as setting the musical trends, not following them, but the rise in grunge music at this time – most notably Nirvana – may have played a role in Dangerous not matching the sales figures of Bad and of course, Thriller. For my money, Dangerous measures up with its predecessors quite well, “Keep the Faith” being one of my personal favorites of his whole catalog. Every time I hear it, I get goosebumps.

bubblegumI am pleased there were new tidbits of trivia for even hard core MJ experts. I always love learning anything new about him, however trivial – habits (smacking his Bazooka bubble gum), hidden talents (making the world’s best French toast!) or his non-musical interests (reading about history and his knowledge of historical figures).

I do agree that “You Rock My World” may not have been the best choice as the first single from Invincible. It is just not the strongest track on the album, and “Unbreakable” would have been a better choice. The war with Sony certainly hurt Invincible’s performance. Can you imagine if “Cry” had a performance video in the vein of the ’88 Grammy performance of “Man in the Mirror”? That would have been a powerful tool to promote the album. The album also has other great tracks that are largely overlooked, like “Whatever Happens”, “Heaven Can Wait”, “2000 Watts”; and “Threatened”. I love how he later melded “Threatened” in with “Thriller” in performance. It works very well. He was also planning on performing “Whatever Happens” with Carlos Santana at the Grammys, a very considerable loss! It pains me to think of the projects that never came to be, that we do not have these treasures to enjoy now.

Raven: While I am looking at that particular section of the book (Dangerous era) I found an interesting comment you made. “He literally lets his hair down for ‘Black or White.’ Something about that number dictated that his hair not be pulled back in his customary ponytail.” Again, your keen eye for this kind of detail is very interesting. I, too, have noted that Michael had a tendency to adopt certain looks, hairstyles, and modes of dress for certain performances. For some songs, the look would be very militaristic; others might require the cool gangster/Fedora image. But for Black or White, everything about his persona became very open, soft, and flowing (same for Will You Be There, for which he also maintained the loose hair and flowing, white shirt). In the book, you mention this but it is sort of just left for the reader to interpret as they will. I was wondering if you have any theories on why this particular look was so important to that number?

Certain Songs, Such As "Black or White," "Will You Be There," and "Give In To Me" Just Seemed To Dictate That The Hair Should Come Down.
Certain Songs, Such As “Black or White,” “Will You Be There,” and “Give In To Me” Just Seemed To Dictate That The Hair Should Come Down.

Lisa: That is an interesting question. Certain costumes or looks lent the appropriate tone or mood to his performances and he wanted certain elements to be instantly recognizable – always wearing the red leather zipper jacket for “Beat It” (with the sole exception of the black version of the jacket worn for his 30th Anniversary concert), the blue shirt and white belt for “The Way You Make Me Feel”, etc. The flowing white shirt for “Black or White” and “Will You Be There “ do seem to further his message of openness and lends a tone of softness. The flowing hair and shirts also work well with the fans that were used in the “Black and White” performances. He also adopted the white flowing shirt and loose hair for “Dirty Diana” which utilized the fans as well. As Michael Bush noted in his book, Michael exchanged a leather jacket for the flowing shirt (Michael Bush’s own shirt!) as it worked better with the fans being used. I think over time his short films and performances became so ingrained in people’s minds that he wanted to preserve that image. Can you imagine him performing “Billie Jean” in anything other than the black beaded jacket and glove? It just wouldn’t be right! He seemed to carry this notion from his J5 days when he suggested he wear in concert the same purple hat fans had seen him wear in their Ed Sullivan Show appearance. He knew the familiarity of the hat would bring screams from the audience, and he was right. The best illustration of this is in his HIStory Tour and 30th Anniversary concert (and also planned for This is It) introduction to “Billie Jean” when he very methodically removed his black fedora, glove and black jacket from the suitcase to gear up for the performance. Priceless!

One costuming question I have long had trouble satisfying is, “What is the purpose of the wind coat for “Beat It” and “Earth Song” when he is in the cherry picker? Did he just think it was cool? To work with the fan beneath him? Some sort of safety measure?

[To be honest, I would have to say I don’t know, but my best guess is that the former is the more likely explanation, lol]. cherry picker

 

Raven: Also in this section you mention the Oprah interview. As you know, Oprah has taken quite a bit of heat through the years from MJ fans because of some of the questions she asked in that interview. Yet, as you point out here, Michael went into this interview with full knowledge of the questions that would be asked, and had agreed in advance to “answer anything.” Given that Michael agreed to do the interview and to answer anything, do you think Oprah has been unfairly bashed in some circles? Granted, the “Are you a virgin?” question just seemed totally out of left field, and ridiculous. I would be interested to know some of your thoughts on this interview, and how it was handled overall.

Lisa:It seemed to me that the virgin question was asked to appeal to those who thought of him as strange and not as a real human being. I do think Michael was caught off guard by the question and was quite taken aback that she would ask such a thing. I applaud his response, “I am a gentleman” and thought he handled it like a pro. I am not sure Oprah asked the most thoughtful questions, pandering to tabloid rumors and such, but Michael was his usual intriguing self. Faced with a situation he was not comfortable with and generally despised, he was warm and generally very open and honest. He was hoping to present himself as a real life person and change the perception of him that he was weird. People in general at this time seemed convinced he was very strange – having seen endless tabloid headlines telling them so (and note this was before the Chandler accusations had been made). I have encountered many who had this perception of him, as a weirdo, but when I would ask “why” they usually had no answer, or something terribly trite like “well, he takes that monkey everywhere with him”. Michael’s efforts to turn this around were highly successful. As I note in the book, the public response to the interview was overwhelmingly positive. The special aired to a record setting audience and sent his Dangerous album and singles back up the record charts. I also especially loved the glimpse at his songwriting techniques – signing the parts of the instruments. That few minutes gave a never before seen look at this talents that were largely transparent to the public.

Raven: In your own business dealings with Michael with issues related to the second book, I understand you corresponded quite a bit with Bob Jones as a go-between. You mention, for example, that it was Jones’s “suggestion” to include the “King of Pop” title as part of the title for your second book, which was originally to have been titled simply “Michael Jackson: His Darkest Hour.” As you know, Jones would later turn very vindictive and became quite a controversial figure in Michael’s life (though he would hardly be the last in a long line of similar traitors!). What was your impression of Bob Jones during the time you were corresponding with him?

Lisa: During the time my first two books were published, I did correspond with Bob Jones quite frequently. At that time he was extremely friendly, thoughtful and generous with his time. He always spoke very highly of Michael and always seemed to have his best interest at heart. His later betrayal of Michael, in response to his firing, was shattering. Showing up as a witness for the prosecution in Michael’s trial was perhaps the lowest – albeit his testimony went a long way toward discrediting the claims of improper behavior by Michael that Jones had made in his book. He had to admit he was unable to “recall no head lickin'”. It was certainly sad to see this long term friendship and association end. Jones wrote the Foreword for my second book which focuses on the Chandler accusations – in which he categorizes the allegations as “cruel and false”. His later about face later ranks up there in my mind with the Arvizo family and LaToya.

with-bob-jones
On Bob Jones: “His Later About Face Ranks Up There In My Mind With The Arvizos and LaToya”-Lisa Campbell

Raven: While on this topic, you mention several other relationships-be they friends, business associates or others-whom Michael often had very precarious, rollercoaster relationships with. I was somewhat surprised-though not totally shocked-to find Elizabeth Taylor’s name included in that list. For the most part, we have been led to believe that theirs’ was an undying, unconditional true friendship. Michael himself said he could count his true friends on one hand-and counted Liz Taylor among them. I know that certainly among fans, there is a genuine desire to believe that he did, at least, have one true friend in his life that he could always count on. Yet I know there were some incidents that Frank Cascio related in his book that were a bit startling concerning Michael and Liz (apparently, for starters, they had an argument over a diamond necklace he had promised to give her as a kind of “incentive” for attending his 2001 New York concert with him) and there was also a disturbing quote I recall from Theresa Gonsalves’ book “Remember The Time” which seemed to indicate that certainly not all was rosy or as it always appeared to be with this friendship. I was wondering if you would be willing to provide a little more insight into what you may have heard regarding his relationship with Liz? (For the record, I do believe they were true friends to the end and that she genuinely cared about him, but perhaps as with all long-term relationships, they had their up’s and down’s).

Lisa: I agree that his relationship with Elizabeth Taylor was one of the closest in his life, and they held great affection for each other. That said, Michael did seem to have a tendency to sort of turn on people in his life at certain times though this was usually among the assorted managers and advisors around him. I have not heard of any big blow ups between them, but a sense of paranoia would overcome him and affect his mood. I think his loss completely devastated her. Just as with anyone, long term relationships can be a bit bumpy. I hate to think he needed to bribe his closest friend with jewels to attend his show. (I would have gone for free!) I also think that Elizabeth Taylor may have been one of very few people who could have possibly gotten through to him and helped him had she known what was going on with his extreme measures to solve his insomnia. Her influence certainly had a very strong positive effect on him when she stepped in to help him into rehab in 1993.

Raven: You mentioned there was a rumor that, after Moonwalk, Michael had planned to write a second book that would have been much more revealing-and scathing-concerning his relationship with his father-a book so revealing and honest, in fact, that Michael had agreed only to do it after his father’s death. Of course, sadly, Michael did not outlive his father, and obviously, this proposed book never came to be. First of all, I wanted to ask where/how you came to know about this proposed second book, and secondly, do you think parts of it may comprise the rumored manuscript that has been spoken of recently, which is said to be a 600-page memoir Michael was allegedly writing after his trial?

Lisa: I hope such a manuscript does exist and is published. I have been told by the estate that a book is planned, and I certainly hope this memoir is it. Talk about a must read! It will certainly be fascinating to see if it does in fact include a more in-depth look at the treatment he received at the hands of his father in his childhood and their resulting “strained” relationship. It would go a long way to understand further how that impacted the rest of his life. Any insight into his life, his state of mind following his trial, perhaps a peak at his life with his children, will be interesting to say the least. I have an insatiable thirst for new tidbits about him and especially anything coming from Michael himself.

Raven: For all that you manage to maintain a neutral perspective throughout most of the book, I couldn’t help but notice that you took quite a few potshots at Jermaine (some of them quite funny, actually). In general, what is your take on the brother dynamic between Michael and Jermaine? Why do you think there always seemed to be more friction between them than with Michael and his other brothers?

Lisa: The additional friction between Michael and Jermaine seems to stem at least in part from a place of bitter jealously on Jermaine’s part. He has said that he believes Michael’s meteoric rise to superstardom was due in large part to luck and timing – and could have just as easily been him! Does anyone anywhere really believe that?? He also seems to be the sibling (in addition to LaToya) who likes to pretend they were BFF’s with Michael when in fact Michael very purposely put distance between himself and his family especially later in his life. And don’t get me started on Jermaine’s “Word to the Badd”! When he couldn’t get Michael’s attention, he struck out at him in a very public, deliberate and hurtful way. Jermaine was also good at trying to drag Michael back into performing with the brothers for their sake. He seemed to believe if he made a public announcement of an album or tour, Michael would be somehow forced to participate. In early 2007 there was a statement made by Jermaine of yet another Jackson tour that would include Michael. Michael had to make a public statement to the contrary.

I think Michael and Jermaine were perhaps very close in the early days of the Jackson 5 and Jermaine likes to pretend that relationship endured into their adult years. When push comes to shove, I think they are all basically supportive of each other (if not for the sake of the cameras)– they showed that during his trial – but a struggle to get Michael’s attention – and financial support – always seemed to distance Michael from his siblings and especially so with Jermaine.

Brotherly Rivalry Didn't End Here
Brotherly Rivalry Didn’t End Here

Raven: Another quality your book has been praised for is its no-nonsense approach to breaking down the Chandler and Arvizo cases. Again, while presenting “just the facts” with no embellishment, your book makes a strong and persuasive case for Michael’s innocence. The figure for the Chandler settlement, which you quote in the book as having come from “the most reliable sources” states the exact sum of the settlement as 22 million. This figure seems to make sense to me, given what we know of the settlement’s ballpark figure and how it was broken down. I have heard-as I know you have as well-of some ridiculous inflations of that figure. How did you come to the conclusion that it was 22 million?

Lisa: Presenting “just the facts” in both the Chandler and Arvizo cases leads the reader to the logical conclusion that there was absolutely no evidence and no corroboration (even within the Arvizo family) pointing toward the guilt of Michael Jackson. It shines a spotlight on how drastically different the actual facts of each case were from those presented by the media. I think it is probably very easy for the common observer to conclude he must have been guilty of something given all the negative coverage.
In researching details of the settlement, sources that proved to be reliable in other areas were given more credibility over more sensational, tabloid sources. At the time of the settlement, I think you could literally read ten articles and get ten different figures. The most reliable pegged the dollar amount at $22 million with a breakdown of the amounts paid to each of the parents, and an amount put in a trust for Jordie. I think many other sources tend to round off to the amount paid to Jordie, the commonly heard $20 million figure.

Raven: You state something in the book that I have always believed as well, which is that while many believed Michael’s superstar status “got him off easy” of those charges, that actually just the opposite was true—it was his superstar status that made him a target, and subject to such intense scrutiny. For sure, the public lynching that resulted in the media was a direct result of his celebrity status. I also believe it is a given that the Chandler accusation, and subsequent settlement, is what set him up for the Arvizo’s accusations much later. Much has been written and speculated as to why the media was so quick to turn on Michael, and why the public campaign against him was so especially brutal, sadistic even. After all, there was a time when the public reaction to a beloved superstar being accused of such a heinous crime would have been much different. The media and the public would have wanted to believe only the best about this person, and would want to think that his accusers were lying. At the very least, I think there was a time when the media and the public would have been much more prone to practice “innocent until proven guilty” and to extend the benefit of doubt. What combination of factors do you attribute to the especially vindictive nature of Michael’s public lynching?

Lisa: Initially, with the Chandler case, the response of the public and the media was one of disbelief and the counter claims of extortion by Michael Jackson seemed to be given more credibility. This came to a quick halt– probably fueled by the blood thirsty and power hungry law enforcement officials handling the case. One of the primary factors contributing to the media’s lynching of Michael Jackson has to be the very nature of the accusations. Just being accused of such a heinous act somehow confirms guilt in some people’s minds. Why would anyone bring such charges if they weren’t true? Also, his well-known deep connection to children seemed to play against him here. It was suddenly seen in a new, reprehensible light. His Neverland Valley Ranch now seen not as an oasis for sick and deprived children, but a way to actually lure children. Many non-professionals, seemed to suddenly gain some clear insight that showed he “fit the profile” of a predator, a pedophile. It was sickening. If he had been accused of embezzlement from one of his charities, tax evasion, or even sexual misconduct with an adult female, the public and the media may have been more likely to take a different stance, one more of innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. With the Arvizo case, there was the added element of this being the second time he had been accused of such a heinous act. This combined with the memory that he settled the earlier case help support a stance that he must be guilty. Of course the core of hunt for Michael Jackson was the almighty dollar. Media outlets drooled over the prospect of covering the scandal, the trial and his predicted life in prison. There is some sort of fascination with seeing a highly public figure torn down, sort of like looking at a train wreck. And this sells, so the media sold it. As is borne out in the book, truth and facts played no role in the media’s coverage of this story. They were only out to continually build it into a bigger and bigger scandal to draw more viewers and readers.

Public support for Michael actually soared after his 1993 telecast in which he openly proclaimed his innocence; Campbell believes the turnabout had more to do with the “blood thirsty and power hungry law enforcement officials handling the case”:

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=855qMXaFl-E[/tube]

Raven: For all of this, you also do an excellent job of pointing out in the book how public support for Michael-especially after his December 1993 telecast proclaiming his innocence-remained relatively strong and unshaken, with the People article you quote being especially revealing. This is interesting, since there are many cynics and doubters today who will say they agree the Arvizo case was a sham, but that their doubts stem from the somewhat murkier aspects of the Chandler case. But the public reaction at the time goes to prove something I have always felt, which was that it was the very public spectacle of the Arvizo case- that whole sordid trial, and the fact that it was a second set of allegations-that really cemented the notion of him as “guilty” for many. I know this was true of myself until I began to research the cases, and I am sure many felt the same way. I think what people saw in 1993/’94 was the very obvious anger and desire to fight that he had, whereas by the time of the Arvizo trial he had an air of seeming very defeated and beaten down-an easy mark. In your opinion, what do you make of the two cases when comparing them, and how each affected Michael insofar as: 1. His public image, and 2: His own personal health and overall well-being?

triall
“During The Trial You Can See Him Being Worn Steadily Down”-Lisa Campbell

Lisa: I think this could be a great topic of a much more detailed analysis. As each case progressed, Michael seemed confident and ready to fight. During the trial however you can see him being steadily worn down. In the Chandler case, after authorities questioned young kids who visited the ranch, their family members, school mates, counselors, teachers and every name in an address book found in the raid on Neverland, they found nothing to substantiate the claims made by Jordie Chandler. There was NO evidence and NO corroborating witnesses. And this was the stronger of the two cases! I review the pros and cons of the settlement – at that time in Michael Jackson’s world- $22 million was a relatively small sum if he could put the ugly mess behind him and resume his career. His earning power exceeding the gross national product of some countries! However, the decision to settle this case certainly cemented the notation for some that he was guilty and very obviously more than tarnished his image. Given that, and given what would follow ten years later, it was clearly a mistake to settle. He always maintained that these allegations stemmed from the father, Evan Chandler, and did not want the experience to change his relationship with children, something he cherished. He was determined to not allow it to change him. This was another mistake as these circumstances clearly fed the Arvizo case when he would be betrayed by the very young man he had helped heal. The Chandler case took a toll on him physically and emotionally – increasing and strengthening his dependency on painkillers. In most respects, he did recover from the ordeal, and got on with his life – something that was less obvious following his trial. His public image was clearly tarnished following the Chandler debacle – some being convinced of his guilt, that he paid his way out of going to jail and they were unwillingly to educate themselves as to the facts of the case, instead joining in on making him into a punch line.
The Arvizo case was in many respects much more serious than the Chandler case –even though the facts of the case were actually much weaker. This time charges were filed, he stood trial, and now had the futures of not only himself, but his three young children at risk. At the start of the proceedings, he seemed confident and appreciative of the support of his family and fans. As the trial dragged on, and more disgusting details were made public, he began to steadily weaken and you could see him dropping weight. It was heartbreaking to see him walk into court each day looking wounded and lost. The day of the verdicts he looked completely vacant and broken despite being fully acquitted. His life and those of his children were saved, albeit temporarily. I would like to think his time away from the U.S. with his children and his return to recording again and begin new projects breathed new life into him and that his last days on this earth were happy and peaceful. There is little question that if the Arvizo case never happened, circumstances of his life would have been dramatically different and he would still be here with us today.

Raven: One of the things I also enjoyed about your book is that you sometimes pull no punches being critical of Michael. The Diane Sawyer interview is a good case in point, where you are quite critical of some of the responses he gave. I know from my own experience as an MJ blogger that this kind of honesty is never really easy, as it involves a kind of detachment from the subject. As fans, we sometimes nevertheless have to distance ourselves and view certain aspects of Michael more critically and objectively, to understand things from a non-fan’s perspective. How difficult is that process for you, as someone who is both a fan and, by necessity, an objective biographer? What advice would you give to other wannabe MJ biographers who may find themselves straddling that difficult fence between admiration and objectivity?

Lisa: I don’t really see a fence between admiration and objectivity. I fully admit I love Michael and have admired him for decades. That doesn’t mean I can’t recognize when he made a blunder. His responses to Diane Sawyer’s questions were at times exasperating! During the “Living with Michael Jackson” special – when he was speaking of sharing his bed with others, I found myself shouting at my TV – “Stop Talking!! Stop Talking!!” It was frustrating to say the least that he hadn’t learned his lesson from the Chandler situation. However innocent and loving he knew his connection to children to be – it did not play that way in living rooms around the world.

diane sawyer interview

In putting on my researcher hat (it is a black fedora!), I did have to try and take a more objective stance and concentrate on the facts. This was easier in some cases than others. But even in giving equal time to the prosecution side of the allegation cases against him, it served to show how weak each case was and how incredibly flawed and slanted the media coverage was. It helped illustrate that the information provided by the media barely resembled the real facts. I worked to keep my audience in mind and the objective of the project – to present a clear and comprehensive review of his life and career with all of the highs and the lows and the over arching indelible impression he left on this world.

Raven:  You make some very good observations about the HIStory album, and the reaction it received from critics, as well as its commercial performance (of course, all of your breakdowns of each album are amazing in the sheer amount of detail, both for their content and commercial performances!). Much has been written about how the music press seemed to turn on Michael as his music became angrier and more political. You mention, for example, the controversy over “They Don’t Care About Us” in the U.S. and how, as a result, the single peaked at only #30. Do you think that by this point, there was a concerted effort being made to keep Michael’s music OFF the radio and thereby to diminish its potential impact? I personally think it’s no coincidence that the songs that became HIStory’s biggest hits in the U.S. were the relatively non-controversial “You Are Not Alone” and “Scream,” which even though anti-media, most of its lyrics were buried in a catchy chorus and most of the attention was focused on the novelty of its video. But powerful songs like “Earth Song,” “Stranger In Moscow” and “They Don’t Care About Us” had to find their markets overseas. What are some of your thoughts on this?

The More Political Michael Got, The Less We Heard Of Him On U.S. Radio...Coincidence? Hardly.
The More Political Michael Got, The Less We Heard Of Him On U.S. Radio…Coincidence? Hardly.

Lisa: I think the general consensus in the US at this time was one that leaned toward an anti -Michael Jackson slant, most likely due to lasting sentiment that he was at least weird, or worse, a criminal. New releases were not automatically granted high level airplay. “Scream” was an exception as you noted, given its very high profile video and the novelty of being his first and only duet with Janet. He was regularly attacked in the press for the angry songs on HIStory which was aggravating given the songs were in large part lashing out at the media who were so hell bent on destroying him! As a result his own country seemed to a certain degree turn its back on him and we missed out on gems like “Stranger In Moscow” and “They Don’t Care About Us”. The decision not to release “Earth Song” in the U.S. remains a mystery to me. Being one of his biggest hits in other parts of the world, it could have, and should have, easily been as big here. It is another powerful message that would have truly resonated with his audience. It seemed like a bad decision on Sony’s part though it was probably a casualty of the anti- Michael Jackson sentiment at the time.

Raven: In the chapter “2 Bad” an excellent point is made, via the letter from Epic regarding the now infamous “Jarvis Cocker” incident. It has always bothered me that so many applauded Cocker’s actions, seeing it only as an artistic response against Michael’s pompousness, while ignoring the fact that in the process of pulling this utterly tasteless stunt, this sicko was exposing himself to the children who were onstage with Michael at the time. Quoting from the Epic letter, regarding Michael’s own response to the incident: “His main concern is for the people that worked for him and the fact that children should be attacked.” If Michael himself had ever pulled such a tasteless and tacky stunt (not that he would have!) there would have been no end to the vilification he would have received for it. But a punk rocker does it, and it’s cool! (Note sarcasm). This brings up a very interesting point. Michael strikes a crucifix pose as part of an artistic performance, and is roundly criticized as an egomaniac. Jarvis Cocker pulls down his pants, exposes his bum and testicles to a group of children onstage (not to mention the tastelessness of interrupting an artist’s performance) and is lauded as a hero by many. There always seems to have been this whole double standard at play when it came to Michael vs. other artists (i.e, what they could do and get away with) as opposed to Michael. Thoughts on this?

Lisa: Just the thought of Michael doing anything close to this tasteless brings a smile to my lips as it is just so unthinkable. As we know, he always conducted himself with the utmost respect for others and was the ultimate professional. I have to admit that I have given little thought to this whole ordeal because I just think so little of the person involved. There is never a reason to treat any fellow artist like this – and it is worse that he chose to do such a tasteless and offensive act with children on stage. It is of course not cool what he did and he does not deserve any further attention for it. He just doesn’t matter. You are correct though that if Michael pulled any such stunt it would have been replayed and replayed by the media forever – much like the “baby dangling” incident and showing up to court in pajama pants. Anyway this joker earned a spot on “my list” – individuals and companies I refuse to support who was ever disrespectful of Michael or those who worked to tear him down. Certainly our favorite Santa Barbara District Attorney heads the list. But it is shared by, for various, and I admit sometimes juvenile reasons, Cher (she washed her hands of Michael following the “baby dangling” incident – so I washed my hands of her), Pepsi, Jay Leno (continued to make MJ a part of his nightly monologue despite knowing personally that the Arvizo family were nothing more than money hungry conscious-free con-artists,) and anyone who spoke out against him in either the Chandler or Arvizo cases.. Michael’s capacity for forgiveness far exceeds mine, I tend to hold grudges.

Raven: Speaking of famous performances, your book also answers another burning question often asked regarding the Wembley concert and Michael’s performance of “Dirty Diana.” You mentioned that it was actually Prince Charles who had requested that the song not be performed, and that Diana secretly told him she wanted it performed “like you’ve never sung it before.” Where did you hear that this request had been made specifically by Prince Charles?

Lisa: I came across this in a couple of different sources, I also believe it was a story on an entertainment news program at the time, probably Entertainment Tonight. I love the idea of Princess Diana making this request though. She was quite a fan of his and it turns out, vise versa. Supposedly Michael had a romantic interest in the Princess following her divorce. They would have made an interesting couple! He was of course deeply affected by her tragic loss.

He Was Reportedly Told To Perform Dirty Diana "Like You've Never Performed It Before."
He Was Reportedly Told To Perform Dirty Diana “Like You’ve Never Performed It Before.”

Raven: One very searing accusation your book makes is that Sony/Tommy Mottola deliberately sabotaged the “What More Can I Give” single, fearing its release would detract from the Invincible singles. It seems mind boggling-though certainly not shocking!-that Sony would deliberately sabotage a charity single intended to raise millions for victims of 9/11. At the same time, however, this would seem to contradict accusations that the record company was intentionally sabotaging the success of Invincible. What are your thoughts on this?

Lisa: Fearing the charity single may detract from Invincible could have been a convenient excuse publically for Sony. There are schools of thought that (and I am not sure I fully buy this) that at this time the war between Sony and Michael was heating up to a degree whereby they were willing to sabotage their own artist’s record sales. It is not clear to me how much of this is fact and how much may have been borne from some level of paranoia on Michael’s part. Sony paid a staggering $30 million to produce Invincible and an effort to then deliberately sabotage the record seems irrational unless you subscribe to the theory that they were working to force Michael into a financial situation whereby he would be forced to sell some or all of his remaining share of the prized ATV/Sony music catalog. Michael was said to be long fearful of losing control of the catalog. I am relieved that never came to be and it is my hope the trustees continue to hold this incredibly valuable asset in his estate. Whatever the details of the behind the scenes goings on, the losers in the whole thing were the fans. We were robbed of some great singles, short films and performances.

Raven: Something that struck me as I was finishing your book is that the entire post-mortem section alone comprises over nine chapters (excluding the afterword) and over 140 pages! I don’t know of any other celebrity whose entire post-mortem legacy and career has taken on such a enormous life all its own. Reading those particular chapters was, for me, like reliving all of the events of the past three and a half years all over again, from those early days of shock to the feverish anticipation of This Is It, from the anguish of the whole death investigation to the triumphant day the “Guilty” verdict came down for Conrad Murray, from the controversy of the “Michael” album to the glory of The Immortal World Tour, and everything that has happened in between. All of it has served to remind me that for many of Michael’s fans, our journey did not end on June 25th, 2009, but was only just beginning. As a global family and community, we have been through a lot in the last three and a half years. One of the things I truly love about your book is its full acknowledgement that Michael’s life did not end on June 25th, 2009-only the physical embodiment of it. His journey, his legacy, as well as our continued discovery of him, is perpetually ongoing. Do you think that this book will be your definitive and final say on Michael Jackson, or do you see the possibility of more books and more projects in the future?

Lisa: One of the ways in which my book is differentiated from most others is that the story does not end on June 25th 2009. I love your phrasing, “our journey did not end on June 25th 2009”. I do not feel the journey ended on that tragic day and I think fans feel the same way. Clearly his legacy will not only continue, but will grow as new generations come to know him. His incredible artistry will continue to inspire performers for years to come. He leaves this world with three children who seem committed to continuing his humanitarian and charitable efforts, and millions of fans who have been inspired to also follow in his footsteps. The efforts being undertaken in his name and in his memory are heartfelt and touching: planting a million trees in his name, and continuing efforts to one day fund and create the Michael Jackson Children’s Hospital. I have no doubt he is beaming with pride.

At this time I feel I have completed the task of chronicling the life of this incredible human being. I do have an idea for a different type of project that is slowly taking shape. I would also really, really love to be part of a Michael Jackson museum, I am very interested in being a part of efforts to honor his memory and continue his legacy and will continuously work to do so.

Perhaps The Most Amazing Part Of Michael's Life Story Is The Fact That June 25th, 2009 Was Not The End Of It. For Many, It Was A Journey Just Beginning!
Perhaps The Most Amazing Part Of Michael’s Life Story Is The Fact That June 25th, 2009 Was Not The End Of It. For Many, It Was A Journey Just Beginning!

Raven: Lastly, what are some of your thoughts on the upcoming AEG trial? I suppose another logical question, feeding off the previous, would be do you plan any sort of revised edition of Michael Jackson: The Complete Story of the King of Pop, pending the outcome of this trial?

Lisa: The recent release of the “smoking gun” emails in the AEG case certainly make it even more interesting and I will be paying rapt attention as it progresses. There does seem to be some credence to the claims that Michael was being pressured and pushed by those around him, AEG included, to perform. Dr. Murray was perhaps subjected to similar pressure from AEG. I am not sure they had first hand knowledge of the extreme measures Dr. Murray was taking to make that happen. Nobody pushed themselves harder or put more pressure on themselves that did Michael himself. Was that already intolerable pressure put into overdrive by AEG? I think it very possible. To me, Dr. Murray is most directly responsible for Michael’s death and he has been tried and convicted. While his sentence, to me, is a cake walk, he has been convicted and hopefully, as a convicted felon, will never be able to practice medicine again. Any further culpability on the part of AEG should also be examined.
I do not have plans at this time to do a revised edition of Michael Jackson: The Complete Story of the King of Pop. I feel I paid tribute to him and his legacy and the notations made regarding the suit against AEG are, for this project, sufficient. That is not to say the outcome of the trial is not significant. Any culpability on AEG’s part should result in a judgement against them. I would like to see any money paid in settlement used by his family to further one of the causes close to his heart.

Raven:Thank you, Lisa, for agreeing to do this interview, and thanks in advance for agreeing to give of your time in answering these questions. I know my readers have been looking forward to this for some time!

Lisa: Thank you for the opportunity. I am happy to be a part of your effort in paying tribute to Michael Jackson. I hope readers will enjoy it and maybe even learn a new MJ fact or two! My work has been so well received by fans and I am very appreciative of all of their support. Many have contacted me that still remember me from my first two books, that was quite a pleasant surprise. Thanks again, Lisa.

45 thoughts on “Interview With Lisa D. Campbell”

    1. Thanks, samemjfan. I haven’t actually listened to the interview, but I called in that night and was on the air with Lisa and Catherine for a good portion of that show. I’m glad you provided this link because I highly recommend that anyone who missed that episode to check it out!

  1. The documents regarding the amount given to Jordan Chandler are publicly available, it’s $15 million, with Evan and June receiving $1.5 million each. The original lawsuit was for $30 million, so the insurance settled for half that. David M and others on MJv2 may have the documents on hand.

    MJ wasn’t a minor when he and Diana spent all that time together in the late 70s and early 80s.

    1. I was referring to the time he spent with her in the early 70’s, when he was (by many accounts) living with her. There is one story, which I’m sure you are familiar, of a Jackson 5 fan club president who claimed Michael told her he was having sex with an adult woman. I think she suspected this person as being Diana Ross, but admitted she did not act on the information at the time because she didn’t really believe Michael. I know that, given how boys that age are prone to brag about women, the story may or may not have any credibility. Young boys like to boast about being more experienced than they actually are, and will often crush on certain older women, so sometimes it is natual for them to confuse their fantasies with reality. I always go back to the Gloria Stein conversation when she asked him about Diana Ross and Michael says, “That was all in my head.” That remark would seem to indicate someone who recognized that his feelings weren’t reciprocated-of course, that still wouldn’t necessarily rule out a physical relationship; it could have simply meant that Michael wanted something more out of the relationship than she did.

      And it is also absolutely possible that any such relationship-if it occurred at all-may not have happened until much later, as you pointed out, in the late 70’s and early 80’s. In that case, of course, Michael would have been of age so it is a non-issue, although I still believe their age difference would have ultimately been a factor as far as any hopes of a long-term relationship. This could well have been a lifelong friendship that, over time, evolved into something more. Then again, it is also possible that they were never more than just good friends. I’ve just always found it a bit odd that Michael used the term “lover” to describe her in his book; that is a pretty strong adjective. In the old days, the word didn’t necessarily mean someone you were having sex with; it could mean someone for whom you simply had a romantic interest, and Michael could well have meant it in that context although, again, given that the word has a totally different connotation today-of which I’m sure Michael was aware-it still sounds a bit odd, especially for someone who guarded his private life and relationships so closely. Was it a subconscious slip? A sly wink to us, or to Diana? Who knows.

      As for the theory that something untoward may have been going down between them when Michael was still a child, there is, for me, one very telling bit of evidence that would seem to put the issue to rest for once and all, and that is the will. Michael clearly stated that he wanted her to be his children’s guardian if his mother was deceased or unable to fulfill her role as his first choice, and I highly doubt Michael would have entrusted his own minor children to her had there there been any kind of truth to those rumors. So I do believe it is more likely that, if there was ever anything between them, it probably occurred at a much later time. But that is still a very big “if” and something we will probably never know for certain.

      Regarding the settlement, the precise amount to my knowledge was $15,331,250 according to the documents that are publicly available, but some also take into account the additional attorney and court fees when estimating the full amount of the settlement. The $15 million only includes what was directly rewarded to the Chandlers (my understanding being that 2 million went to Evan and June, respectively, right away and the rest was put into a trust fund for Jordie). Obviously, some sources have inflated the amount ridiculously in order to make the settlement look as suspect as possible, sometimes inflating the figure to as much as 50 to 100 million (hey, he MUST be guilty; look how much he paid this family!). But I suspect that, given the $15 million rewarded, a total of $20-$22 million might not be unreasonable with court fees and other factors weighed in. Perhaps Lisa would be willing to comment further and offer some additional clarity on this.

      1. I don’t give any credibility to that story about MJ being abused by Diana Ross. He (and Marlon? I think) only briefly stayed at her place around 1969/1970, but I think even Jermaine clarified it wasn’t really living with her.

        Michael was always very aware about what other people in his life had said about certain things… in 1977 Diana Ross referred to Berry Gordy as her, “father, mother, brother, sister, lover”, this was before it had become public knowledge that the two had an affair together. I wondered if MJ’s word choice was an allusion to that.

        1. “…in 1977 Diana Ross referred to Berry Gordy as her, “father, mother, brother, sister, lover”, this was before it had become public knowledge that the two had an affair together. I wondered if MJ’s word choice was an allusion to that.”

          You may be on to something. I hadn’t thought about that, but yes, it is very possible-given that Michael used her quote almost verbatim-that this was a kind of inside wink to her and to those readers who would make the connection.

      2. I have a copy of the settlement document and the amount stated that was put into a trust for Jordie was $15,331,250. Attorney fees totaled $3,033,125 and amounts paid to the parents varied from $1 million to $2 million each – bringing the total to $20 – $22 million.

        1. Evan and June Chandler signed a retainer agreement with Feldmand and if I am not correct that would supercede any othe radditions to the settlemetn that were not included in the total amount of $15,222,250.00.I think if Feldman attempted to charge both MJ and the Chandlers which was 9/14/1993 the day they hired him it would be considered double billing. The retainer would have to be honored because it was signed as a way to bill the Chandlers for his services.
          So if I am not mistaken you subtract the above amounts from the total amount in the settlement.Which leaves Jordan with a little over $7 million.

  2. Great interview–thank you, Lisa and Raven. I agree with Lisa that Oprah asked the more tabloid-oriented questions, which was disappointing given the access she had. One question: Lisa said the interview with Oprah gave MJ a bump in sales for Dangerous album and singles, but the Super Bowl appearanvce was shortly before the Oprah interview, so perhaps the bump was caused by both events??

    I agree so much with what Lisa said about the rude and obsence Javis behavior and how there is a double-standard such that his disgusting behavior was actually applauded (unbelievable) but if MJ had done anything remotely like that, there would have been a huge outcry. Such hypocrisy.

    I am wondering what Lisa meant by saying that she didn’t think MJ handled himself well in the Sawyer interview. I thought he did well and Sawyer was completely over the top with rudeness. I know the condition was she could ask anything but she put him in a bad situation by asking about the allegations when she had to know that he was unable to answer about it except in a courtroom, according to the terms of the settlement.

    I actually like You Rock My World a lot and had no trouble with it being released as a single from Invincible, but I wish they had also released Unbreakable and done the short film of it that MJ wanted. . I wish that Whatever Happens had been released as a single and that MJ and Carlos had performed it at the Grammy’s as was planned. I love that song. Too bad the whole thing unraveled between SONY and MJ as it is a superb album. I recently heard Seth Riggs say that a singer’s voice is at its peak age 35-50. So that was the period from 1993 on for MJ.

    Thanks again for a great discussion.

    1. One question: Lisa said the interview with Oprah gave MJ a bump in sales for Dangerous album and singles, but the Super Bowl appearanvce was shortly before the Oprah interview, so perhaps the bump was caused by both events??

      The impression I got from the book was that all of his high profile ’93 appearances combined resulted in the bump in Dangerous sales. That would include, of course, the Superbowl performance along with the Oprah interview and the Grammy Awards appearance. All three events occurred in a relatively concentrated time span of one month, so I would imagine all were a factor to some extent.

      The Sawyer interview was discussed, I believe, in a bit more depth during the Blogtalk Radio interview. I personally believe he handled himself better during that interview than the Bashir piece. He did come across in the Sawyer interview as somewhat defiant, but then again, he didn’t feel he had ever done anything wrong. This topic has come up before, regarding how Michael didn’t always come across well in interviews. I don’t think he was a good “off the cuff” speaker. Give him a written speech and time to rehearse, and he was brilliant. He wasn’t always great at live interviews, though it could depend. For example, I thought he handled himself brilliantly in the Oprah interview, for all that he was thrown some very tough questions. And I actually admired his spunk during the Diane Sawyer interview, but I understand where Lisa is coming from regarding how some of his answers may have played.

      But mostly where I was coming from is that I like the approach she took in not just coming across as a gushy-gushy fan, but as a serious writer capable of looking at her subject objectively. Obviously, her great love and admiration for him shows. But she isn’t blinded by it. Thus, it is a very credible book for readers who may be more in the middle. In some ways, it’s what the Sullivan book is trying to be, only when his bias bleeds through, it obviously swings in another direction. Lisa’s bias is one of love and admiration, while still maintaining objectivity. That is not an easy feat to pull off, and is one of the qualities I like so much about the book.

      1. Thanks, Raven, for your reply. Re the Sawyer interview, she was outrageously offensive–really awful. I don’t know how he kept his cool. I would have walked out in disgust. She practically called him an egomaniac, a Nazi, etc. not to mention implying the worst about his relationships with kids. She never took the balanced approach that he might have been set up for a shakedown with those allegations and that he might have been a great artist. He also kept his cool pretty well when Bashir was going on about his surgeries. To me, those interviews show much more media bias and outrageous lack of respect than any faults of MJ. What can you do when you are a sitting duck for lowlife scumball questions? Looks like ‘grin and bear it’ or show a bit of defiance, as MJ did. Some people have walked out on rude interviewers, and I applaud them for doing so. Famous people need to stand up to this abuse. Just my 2 cents!

    2. iutd: I’m with you on You Rock My World. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album along w/ Unbreakable and Threatened (!). I can never play it without hitting the repeat button at least a couple times.

      Unfortunately, in a recent interview, Carlos Santana was not particularly kind to Michael. Paul Anka’s comments in his new book are even worse. Both are now on my list….

      1. I also love the little banter with Chris Tucker at the beginning (I know Lisa isn’t fond of it, but I find it hilarious). It always cracks me up when Chris says, “I bet you Never-never land you can’t get that girl!”

  3. It’s a good thing that Ms. Campbell has written what appears to be a fairly objective and thorough book about Michael Jackson. But I have reservations about the tone of her remarks. Oprah has said that she did not prepare any questions before her interview with MJ, so there’s no way he could have known what she was going to ask. He was clearly shocked by the “virgin” question.

    Unless Ms. Campbell had a closer relationship with MJ than she lets on, I don’t think she’s in a position to pronounce him “timid” about sexual matters. (Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s obvious that MJ and Diana Ross had more than a platonic relationship.) Even Carson Daly had heard the rumors about Sheryl Crow having sex with MJ on tour, and given her well-known MO, it’s likely that MJ and Madonna did more than watch old movies together. I also think it likely that MJ was having an affair with June Chandler, and find it amazing that neither Ms. Campbell nor any other writer has explored that dynamic.

    1. I will just say again that one of the things I like about the book-and I think what Michael himself appreciated most regarding her first two-is that she doesn’t attempt to impose a narrative of “this is who he was/this is the kind of man he was.” I do believe, for example, that he had an affair with Diana Ross. I believe he was banging June, and I certainly think that would be a fascinating subject for a journalist to investigate. However, I think what Lisa is striving hard to do is to present a book that gives readers a credible and factual account of his life, without going into things that are speculation, rumor, and that which cannot be verified. What I like about the book is that she presents him as very much a normal man, which he was; she doesn’t attempt to portray him as asexual, or as someone who had weird, psychological hang-ups about sex (as so many books about him have done, including the most recent we are all so aware of). She doesn’t pretend to know who he was sleeping with and who he was not, or how he lost his virginity and when and to whom, but she also pulls no punches in presenting him as a normal man who certainly had real relationships with women. For example, when she quotes Tatiana Thumbtzen in the book as stating they had a year-long affair, there is none of the kind of condescending aside smirking that such a comment might elicit in other books. It is simply presented as a stated fact. So I do not believe that the intent or purpose, at least, was another attempt to portray him as this timid, asexual persona. I think she is simply just trying to stick with what is known, factual information. In the book, she neither whitewashes him as some timid, overly religious or hung-up “virgin,” nor goes the opposite extreme in presenting him as some sort of womanizing horn dog. I think it is a good approach and the one that makes the most sense, if the objective is to present a fair, accurate and balanced portrayal of a public figure’s life. Many authors, like Ian Halperin, for example, consider themselves to be “investigative journalists.” Their goal is thus more about proving their “theories” than just simply presenting factual information. Since Michael was so private regarding his love life, I think any book that really attempts to delve too much into it is really taking the path of an Ian Halperin or someone of that ilk (remember, he was determined to prove Michael was gay or at least bisexual, at all costs). This is precisely what I was really addressing with my first question. As MJ researchers, we all have our pet theories about him, and sometimes-given such a platform as Lisa had with this book-it is tempting to indulge them. What I admire most about this book is that she doesn’t take that path.

      I suppose if the book has one weakness, it is that, just as with Sullivan, she tends to present a lot of information from various sources with no attempt to really either confirm or deny. That kind of presentation can be a bit confusing for a reader, especially a novice reader of Michael Jackson who may be trying to sift fact from fiction, but I think, again, the justification for this is that her objective was to present a factual book without narrative embellishment. Sometimes that does involve acknowledging various, contradictory sources. But unlike Sullivan, Campbell doesn’t waste time indulging garbage or tabloid sources. That is the big difference.

    2. I actually do not believe Michael knew beforehand what questions Oprah would ask, though he could have reasonably anticipated questions on plastic surgery, skin bleaching, the purchase of the elephant man’s bones and the ever popular purchase of the hyperbaric chamber. I think the virgin question was out of left field for him and he was taken aback by the question. As for being timid in sexual matters, I meant he was timid in discussing such things in public – he was truly a gentleman and did not feel it appropriate to do so. According to Taraborrelli’s conversations with some of Lisa Marie’s friends, he was not timid at all in the bedroom.

      1. There is support for the view he was shy in approaching sexual situations as a young man. He is said to have bailed on the opportunity to get to any base with Tatum O’Neal, though granted she was very young and he may have realized it could have been inappropriate at that time. There was likely a similar intimitation on his part when he was very young in pursuing any physical relationship with Diana Ross. Further, as a youngster, he was very involved in the Jehovah Witnesses who do not condone premartial sex. Traveling with his brothers and father on tour and watching their behavior with female fans has been said to be seen in bad taste, to say the least, by Michael.

        1. Michael Jackson was a big star when he hung out with Tatum O’Neal, but he was also a young black man in America. Although she was sexually active from a very young age, Michael knew better than to engage in an intimate relationship with Tatum. He could have been slapped with a statutory rape charge. He wasn’t being timid with her; he was being prudent.

          1. I don’t think he was that shy OR prudent:

            Howard: Ever make out with…
            Tatum: Michael Jackson? Yes.
            Howard: So you did make out with Michael Jackson?
            Tatum: (laughing) Yes. Uh-huh.

            Transcript from Tatum’s appearance on Howard Stern

            My personal take on it is that I believe Michael tended to exaggerate/play up the “shy about sex” angle as part of his public image. He was, of course, very religious in his youth and that was no act. But I think Michael learned also, at a young age, that the “He’s So Shy” angle played well to fans, and so he continued it throughout his career. It’s somehwhat hard to explain, but I believe it was mostly an act, a persona, with a little genuine truth mixed in. The problem was that, while it was kind of cute when he was young, it didn’t play as well for him as a 45-year-old man. I wish he had never told that story to Bashir because it’s been used against him ever since, and I honestly think he either did not tell Bashir the whole story, or else Bashir edited/manipulated his actual answer to a degree we may never know. I’m not saying he should have bragged and boasted about his “conquests”-that wasn’t his way, nor should it have been. In fact, I think if he’d simply told Bashir that his sex life was none of Bashir’s business, people would have respected THAT a whole lot more. Discussing that particular relationship put him in an awkward position, period, because to admit he did would have been, in essence, to admit he was having those kinds of relations with a minor. He had to have been thinking, Well, THAT will play really well for my image! Perhaps that’s where the prudence comes in. Ah, but see, there is a huge double standard in Hollywood-and most of the world, when it comes to guys of legal age having sexual relations with minor females. So if Michael had spoken of Tatum in the Bashir piece the same way that Tatum spoke of him on Howard Stern, it would have actually played better for him, weirdly enough. I am not sure why, if he had made out with Tatum numerous times, he chose the one time when he chickened out to discuss in the interview. The most likely explanation-at least the one that makes most sense to me-is that their “making out” probably didn’t involve actual intercourse. When teeangers talk about “making out” they usually mean it in the sense of “petting”-kissing, touching, maybe going as far as possible without actually “doing it.” I think that in Michael’s mind, he could justify this as somehow not transgressing against his religious beliefs-after all, he wasn’t actually “going all the way” so that makes it okay…right? It may be that on the night in question, Tatum had obviously set this up as “the night” and Michael wasn’t ready for that-for what reasons, who knows. I doubt somehow that it was shyness; most likely, he didn’t like being pressured to go against his beliefs, or perhaps he was, in fact, being prudent knowing the consequences that could befall (the headlines already playing in his head: Michael Jackson Jailed For Stautory Rape.” AND also considering that in the late 1970’s, race would have still been very much an issue (hell, it’s still an issue now; they just don’t say it is anymore). Taturm was Ryan O’ Neal’s daughter; a Hollywood princess; America’s sweetheart (at the time). It was a time when Tatum was even being advised by her publicist to not appear at public functions with “a n*****.”

            All in all, I think there were a lot of complications built into that relationship. It’s amazing what a vast difference even 15 years made, for by the time Michael married LMP in 1994 more eyebrows were raised over the timing of it and the fact of it being Elvis’s daughter, than the race issue (except in Elvis’s native South, where yes, it was still an issue here even if, again, no one wanted to openly admit that it was).

            But getting back to the original discussion, I agree with Lisa in the sense that Michael did come across as very timid in discussing sexual matters (didn’t mean he actually was timid) though in the case of Tatum O’Neal, perhaps for all of the above reasons, there was common sense prudence at stake as well.

            Do I sometimes wish he had been more frank and honest about these things in his interviews? Yes, in a way I do because in the long run, it would have been better for his public image. Instead he played right into the hands of people like Bashir and Sullivan, giving them plenty of fodder to openly speculate on his sexuality-or lack thereof. He did a lot of public damage to his image with the Tatum story because it cemented for many the image of him as either gay or asexual, when I don’t think that was his intent in relating the story at all. I believe he thought it would play a certain way to audiences, and instead it backfired (as so many of his responses did in that interview, sadly) but so often, Michael was in a “damned if I do; damned if I don’t” position with some of the lines of questions he was fed in interviews that I honestly think sometimes he didn’t know the best way to respond in every case. He wasn’t a “kiss and tell” kind of guy-at least not publicly-and I think it is sad that, somewhere along the way, we as a society have lost sight of the fact that this is something to be applauded, not condemned. I do wish sometimes he had been more open about these matters but part of me also realizes that is wishing to make him into something he was not. In the end, I have to ask myself: Do I love, admire, and respect Michael for who he was, or who I wish he was? He really left me no choice; I have to go with the former.

            I think he also sort of enjoyed the mystique he created with that whole dual persona of the super stud onstage vs. the shy introvert offstage. I’m not saying it wasn’t real (I think it was) but I think he was also smart and clever enough to carefully calculate/nurture that aspect as part of his image. We-his female fans-certainly found it irresistible, did we not? I often think if he had been like most of these super stud rock/pop/rap stars who are always boasting about their conquests, he would have lost much of his appeal. It would have made him look “easy” and cheap, just like all the rest of them (most of whom I consider no better than male sluts, to be honest). With Michael, a girl always got the feeling that perhaps she could get him, but she would have to work for it; she would have to be extra unique and extra special to be worth his time. I think that was a HUGE part of his appeal.

            Sorry to ramble on; I got a bit caught up in the subject matter, lol.

  4. Excellent interview. I want all 3 books now! About Latoya Jackson: she was on Katie on Friday 4/12 and said that Prince said that his father wanted him to go into the business and even that he and Michael would perform together. She didn’t say in what capacity they would perform together but I assume movies/acting; but then again, I remember soon after Michael died that an article was written saying that Prince Michael would’ve sung with his father during This Is It. Raven, is Michael’s religious upbringing mentioned in the book? Is Michael’s religious life after the Jehovah’s Witnesses mentioned? Thank you! 🙂

    1. There isn’t a lot of in-depth discussion of his religious beliefs other than acknowleding, of course, that he was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and broke away from JW in the late 80’s. She doesn’t delve much into what his personal beliefs may have been past that point. Personally, I believe his spiritual beliefs as they shaped up post-JW (which, as I touched upon in my recent presentation, became more firmly based in Transcendentalism) had everything to do with shaping the direction his life took from that point, mostly for the better though not without some negative-certainly the JW faith had provided him an anchor, and without that anchor, I think he felt very much cast adrift for many years, searching to fill that void.

      But again, because I think Campbell’s intent and purpose here is to simply present a straightforward narrative of his life, there isn’t much sidetracking or in-depth scrutiny of any one, particular aspect. It’s simply not that kind of book, though I agree it is a subject that deserves more in-depth study.

  5. Thank you very much for this interview, Lisa and Raven! There is so much drama within the fanbase with people going to extremes that I find it relieving to have someone with such a straight and objective attitude.

    1. Thanks, Susanne. Yes, those “extremes” are exactly what I try to avoid, which is why I find books like Lisa’s so refreshing. She’s not preaching an agenda; not trying to convince the reader he was ‘this” or “that”-other than being a a musical genius. It was a rare thing when Michael lived; even more rare now.

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful interview with Lisa and also to those that have commented here. I read her first 2 books a couple years ago and was thrilled when her third one came out. I bought it the minute it was available. Even though I’ve read dozens of books about Michael I learned much I didn’t know. What I so appreciated about her is that her primary motive is that she wants the reader to know the brilliance of Michael as well as his struggles but will not always answer every question or resolve every contradiction. Many see Michael in pieces, or photographs of events, or isolated concert footage, or youtube videos. Because she writes in a purely chronological manner (which I appreciated as a former history teacher), you can put those images together and understand the sequence of Michael’s life much more clearly. (I love her details about what he was wearing at many of the events she described. Who of us does not remember every outfit he ever wore?!)

    I don’t need Michael to be a god; I just want to know him as a human being and one that I dearly love despite his frailties and missteps and the more I learn about him, the more I love him and realize how enormous his loss is. To me one of the great tragedies for us as fans is that those who were fortunate enough to interview and speak to him – one of the greatest musical minds and creative geniuses of our age – focused on the petty, the sensational and the prurient. They sat with this man of unparalleled gifts, vision and sensibilities and thought they had a right to ask him about his sex life. The callousness of it is mind boggling — and painful.

    I also appreciate the power of the MJ community to support and embrace those who they feel treat Michael with the dignity and respect he always deserved and to castigate and reject those who don’t. We don’t always agree on everything but we do not fail to stand up for him and that’s a force to be reckoned with as many have come to find out.

    1. Thanks for your words, Corlista. I agree so much that when some high-profile interviewers had a chance to talk to him, they asked too many unbelivably brainless and rude questions. They treated him like an oddity and not an artist of great stature–they just plain belittled and underestimated him, and they talked down to him. Somehopw, though, he still managed to shine–even with the dumb questions. As Lisa said, his answer “I’m a gentleman” showed so much class.

  7. I think it is important to know that Michael signed a large portion of the rights for the video of What More Can You Give to F.Marc Schaffel and Rudy Provencio.I don’t know if he owns rights to the song itself.When Michael was made aware of the fact that Schaffel was a former porn porducer he had him fired.That was because the song was going to be marketed by McDonalds and they pulled out when they found this out. Rudy Provencio actually testifies to that in the 2005 trial. Rudy did later revert his 1% back to Michael when it was not released in the USA. Schaffel did sell the video which is what he had the rights to, to a company called Music Fighters in Japan.He sold it I believe for $400,000.00 and kept the money for his own personal use including a down payment on his own house in Calabasas CA. Schaffel essentially hijacked the song and the video from Michael and Sony had nothing to do with it other thaqn to try to get the rights to it back from Schaffel.The reason that Michael was paranoid about Sony was because of the things that the people surrounding him like Schaffel were saying to him it was not because of any evidence that was ofund out in the Interon investigations.

    1. Hi, Lynette, Thanks for the info on What More Can I Give–I am wondering if you have any idea why Michael would sign “a large portion” of the rights to the song and video to Marc Schaffel like that–On the surface, it seems like a crazy thing to do, esp. if the whole idea was to raise money for the 9/11 victims. The other stars who participated must be upset that the intention was never realized. I am guessing Schaffel had the right to the Spanish version too??

      1. Hi Raven I was just reviewing the legal document that was presented at the Schaffel trial that was the agreement between MJ and Schaffel. It was the contract for Neverland Valley Entertainment LLC or what they were presented with as a contract. It is fairly short and it seems that in one pleading Michaels’ lawyer Thomas Mendel said that it does appear as though a paragraph giving the rights to the producer was added later. At least Mundells trial brief implies that it was added later after Michael signed it. Legally speaking it could be that he did copy and paste an initial to the last page because it doesn’t look like any other initialing that is available to see on record for Michael. I think if he does or did own anything it was to the production only and he attempted to claim that he would also own the Master recording of it. I have links to the docs if someone would like to look at them and it does have a partial of Michaels’ deposition in the case. Someone else might be able to understand why Michael would, in one paragraph, retain full ownership and in the next one give it away. That part doesn’t make sense.
        He also seemed to add a paragraph alluding to a secret special project that they were to add funds into a trust for and oddly no money was ever added to that trust. I believe that the secret project that they are referring to is in fact a plan that Schaffel pitched to MJ regarding building a film studio at Neverland so they could produce their own movies and short films.
        In the trial between the two of them Schaffel eluded that secret money was allocated to a Mr. X in Brazil or Argentina for a secret payment on November 20th 2003 which even his lawyer did not know he was going to say on the stand. The implications were obvious at the time and Roger Friedman backed them up in his article by stating that it was to a Ruby and David Martinez to keep them in hiding. Schaffel attorney was his source.
        It turns out that MJ did not have anything to do with Schaffel by mid-November because of something that happened at the Britto party at Neverland in September of 2003.Unfortunately that is where Frank got (from Schaffel) some of his misinformation from about the Sony/Tommy Mottola (he was fired from Sony in January of 2003 before the Bashir thing ever happened) too because by that time the Interon investigation had been stopped at the demand of Dieter Weisner. It was David LeGrand that asked Interon to investigate several individuals on behalf of Michael including John Branca, Tommy Mottola, Dieter Weisner and Ronald Konitzer, (even Mark Geragos).
        Considering that it was the Dieter that fired him I would say that they were the ones with the most to hide in that investigation. It might also be notable that David LeGrand testified that he never found anything against John Branca and would be doing him a great disservice to say that he did. John Branca did ask the justice department to investigate Dieter, and specifically Al Malnik and his connections to organized crime because he was suspicious of a venture that he and Goldman Sacs were pitching to Michael in regard to him putting up his share of the catalogue to get money from Goldman Sacs to buy out the Sony share of the catalogue. It looked great on paper (too good to be true) but I think that was the first attempt by an outsider to get that catalogue away from Michael.
        I think what most people don’t understand is that Michael was inundated daily with “ideas” about how to run his business and given a sales pitch on projects that were less than desirable. All we have to do is look at the project that Dieter pitched to him and how close he got to MJ and we would have a better understanding of his life. What was the big project that Dieter pitched to him? The Michael Jackson Mystery Drink. OH and it was Schaffel that was giving information to Roger Friedman during the trial because when they subpoenaed Schaffels’ computers they found emails to Friedman from Schaffel about the trial up to June 29th of 2005. Then the emails continued through his lawsuit. There was an email that showed that Schaffel was introduced to MJ by Dr. Klein and he was bemoaning the fact that Michael finding out that he was a porn producer and firing him cost him his friendship with Michael. Personally
        http://www.khpblaw.com/news/michael_jackson_verdict.html

        http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/LegalCenter/story?id=2215972

        http://www.khpblaw.com/pdf/Daily_Journal.7-14-05.pdf

        http://abcnews.go.com/images/Entertainment/defense.PDF

        http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/57865/jackson-associate-testifies-at-trial

        http://content.usatoday.com/topics/topic/F.+Marc+Schaffel

        http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/complaint-for-copyright-infringement-f-19100/

        1. Frank Cascio also provided Friedman with info during the trial. It’s in his book. During the trial Schaffel was already suing Michael. Also the picture painted of Schaffel at the trial was not exactly positive. So I don’t know what kind of info he provided to Friedman. Was it positive or negative?

          By the way, Schaffel. He keeps on with his schemes. It’s obvious he was one of the major sources Randall Sullivan had for his book. At one point Sullivan talks about Howard Mann and that he bought the Vaccaro vault in 2009. He claims Mann found “salacious material” in it that the whole media were after, offering him 7 figures (yeah, right – by 2009 the Vaccaro thing was old news, Diane Dimond went through it before and she found nothing of interest) but he, being a good guy, instead turned to Katherine with them, for which Katherine was so grateful that they immediately made their deal. Mann claimed that the “salacious material” was a box of sex toys and gay porn films that Schaffel sent to Michael in 2002. Schaffel then “confirmed” this to Sullivan, saying Michael was curious of his work and the sex toys were “to make him laugh”. Now, the only problem with this story is that the Vaccaro stuff was acquired by Vaccaro in early 1999, so how could it contain material that Schaffel sent to Michael in 2002? Factually impossible. In 1999 Schaffel did not even have any assiciation with Michael yet.

          There were sex toys in the initial Vaccaro vault, but there was no way to link them to Michael. That stuff was the whole Encino household’s, it did not include only stuff belonging to Michael. In fact, Janet Jackson openly talked in interviews about how she and her boyfriend liked sex toys…

          And it did not include gay porn. No one before Mann and Schaffel mentioned any gay porn in it, even though Sneddon and Dimond went through it. Dimond mentioned the sex toys, but not any gay porn. And even she noted that there’s no way to tell what belonged to which family member in that vault. (Other than obvious ones, such as writings or signed drawings.)

          If it contained any gay porn it was put there by Schaffel and Mann in 2009. Possibly to blackmail Katherine into making a deal with Mann. And then they linked the sex toys and the gay porn to Michael by Schaffel making the claim he sent them to him. Only it’s impossible based on the timeline of the Vaccaro stuff…

          And Schaffel makes other harmful innuendo about Michael in Sullivan’s book too. At one point he talks about Michael sending him out to buy a book with baby pictures and how much he liked baby pictures. What does Schaffel do in Sullivan’s book? He makes a remark saying: “I don’t know if they sexually aroused him or not.” WTF? Why does he have to drop such comments?
          He trully is shady and I agree with Iutd that it puzzles me what Debbie has to do with this guy.

          1. I read the Daily Journal article and from that it appears to me that the correspondence between Friedman and Schaffel (already back in 2005) concerned the civil case between him and Michael, not the Arvizo case: “Roger Friedman reported in Fox News details of our CIVIL case that could only have been provided him from Mr. Schaffel.”

            “And I’ve got my very own leaked copies of the letters to help me tell this behind-the-scenes tale of the Jackson CIVIL case…”

            So I still think regarding the Arvizo case Friedman’s main source was Frank.

            I have to add to the stuff about Sullivan’s book that Schaffel added to that story they made up with Mann that he did not think Michael was gay. “At least I never saw any sign of it.” (About the alleged gay porn films in the Vaccaro vault the claim is that Michael was just curious of Schaffel’s work and generally he was curious of everything. But as I said the whole thing about the Vaccaro stuff containing gay porn films that Schaffel gave to Michael is easy to refute, by just taking a look at when Vaccaro acquired the vault and when Schaffel came into Michael’s life.)

            So Schaffel tells Sullivan he never saw any sign of Michael being gay. Yet, during their trial in 2006 he tried to insinuate things about Michael’s sexuality in the media. First he claimed he had audio recordings of Michael confiding in him about his sexual inclinations and he threatened to publish them. Of course, no such tapes exist (the recordings he could publish did not contain anything like that), so then he changed his story to Michael confiding him in private (without claiming having audio tapes). All these insinuations were obviously to try to blackmail Michael into a settlement by threatening him with bad publicity. That was the purpose of that whole Mr. X story as well. When Friedman wrote articles about that he always finished it by saying Michael would be better advised to settle with Schaffel if he doesn’t want such stories circulating about him in the media. So the purpose of those articles and what Schaffel and his lawyer were trying to do in the media is clear. I really hate Schaffel, he’s such a snake and he tries to pass himself on as “Michael’s friend”.

          2. If Schaffel confirmed that he sent those toys to Michael he was lying and so was Mann. Otherwise they are going to have to explain how those things got in there when it was under lok and key by Federal Marshalls since 1998.That is when the good were taken into cusotdy from the storage unit for the bankruptcy case with Tito, Joe, Katherine and Jermaine.Didn’t Sullivan do any checking on these two guys he was getting information from?

          3. Sullivan is an incredibly poor journalist and although he likes to consider himself an investigative journalist I would not even use that term for him. This story is good example of how little he cared about making a background check about the claims of his sources. It would have been easy to find out that Vaccaro acquired the vault much earlier than Michael got associated with Schaffel, so Schaffel and Mann’s claims are simply impossible.

            Sullivan is just someone who collected all the gossip he heard into a book. That was his big “investigation”. Be it the gossip of decades in the media or the gossip from his sources. He did not care to background check any of those claims.

    2. Lynette: Thx for this information about Schaffel. Some of it I knew; some was surprising. What do you mean that MS “hijacked” the song and video if Michael basically gave him the rights? I don’t doubt what you’re saying. I’m just trying to get a better understanding. I never trusted Schaffel and your point that he fed Michael paranoia producing information makes sense. Michael had many dark people around him who fed him much manipulated and inaccurate information. Sadly, Michael’s isolation contributed to him not being able to always sort those people out. I’ve also never understood D Rowe’s friendship with MS??? It seems they would be at cross purposes. Sounds like Schaffel made out well from the song & video yet he still sued Michael for $millions which showed up in the Estate’s 2nd accounting. There are many questions here.

  8. Thanks to Lisa Campbell. I bought her latest book and I really appreciate that she aimed to write a book about MJ as objective as possible. I also appreciate her sitting down with Raven for this interview.

    Just a couple of points I’d like to address:

    “And this was the stronger of the two cases!”

    “The Arvizo case was in many respects much more serious than the Chandler case –even though the facts of the case were actually much weaker.”

    Perhaps these were just worded a bit unfortunately, but the Chandler case was not “the stronger case”. None of the two cases was stronger than the other – they were both equally non-existent, not supported by evidence, only an allegation. I think the reason why people think of the Chandler case as “the stronger case” is just because it never went to trial. The Arvizo case was also said to be strong before the Arvizos got cross-examined and exposed in court. And it would have been no different in the Chandler case. The Chandlers, however, were smarter than the Arvizos – they knew they had to avoid a criminal court like a plague and they did. Even though there were attempts even in 2005 to get them on the stand – by both the prosecution AND the defense (the defense tried to subpoena Ray Chandler)! I read Ray Chandler’s book and I’m sure Thomas Mesereau would have had a field day cross-examining them! It’s just amazing how the Chandlers own self-incriminating statments in that book are never mentioned by the media, when in that book they admit that it was all about the money for them! I’d have loved to see Mez quoting from that book to the Jury… And I doubt Evan Chandler would have done better on the stand than Janet Arvizo.

    Re: the Dangerous album. It’s my favorite MJ album and I do not think the lack of Quincy Jones had any effect on its sales or quality. IMO it’s a better album than Bad, so Michael was right to move on. It was a bit less successful in the US than Bad (only slightly though) but it was more successful in other parts of the world. There are countries where it outsold Thriller and I think ANY artist (and that includes the biggest stars, such as Madonna) would be mighty happy with an album that sells 30-32 million world wide.

    “You mention, for example, the controversy over “They Don’t Care About Us” in the U.S. and how, as a result, the single peaked at only #30.”

    Funny thing is, that now TDCAU is one of Michael’s most watched videos on YouTube! It clearly is a very popular MJ song, so it’s a crime that at the time of its release the US media did everything in their power to bury it. (Bury it under an artificial “anti-semitism scandal”, for example.) They did well at the time, but by now that song emerges as one of the all-time favorites from Michael’s catalogue.. That speaks for itself.

    1. Clearly neither case has any merit whatsoever. In saying the Chandler case as the stronger of the two, it was just because the Arivzo case was clearly trying to mimic the first case – making suspiciously similar accusations down to hiring the exact same attorney. In both cases there was of course NO evidence and NO corroboration to support the charges being made. If the Chandler case had gone to court Michael would have surely been vindicated and the Arvizo case would have never happened.

  9. Suzy, I agree both cases didn’t hold water and that the Chandler case was just as weak (or nonexistent) as the Arvizos. They were both shakedowns based on nothing. Ironically, the change in the law Sneddon had instigated, that if the charges were the same, the criminal trial goes first, was actually a good thing b/c it meant that the Arvizo case had to go into criminal court, not a civil court. I don’t know if it was the Chandlers who were smart or Larry Feldman, who played the media all he could with a view to obtaininbg a settlement, including giving them documents. Some people suggest it was the body search that broke MJ’s will to fight the civil suit. Something was clearly not working with the justice system. I thought the judge was making terrible decisions over and over. Does anyone know how Feldman was selected by the Chandlkers–how he came into the picture as their lawyer?

    1. @iutd

      The Chandlers were incredibly lucky to get a DA like Tom Sneddon, who was so prejudiced against Michael. Gil Garcetti (the LA DA) was only slightly better. But it was the LA DA who refused to take seriously the extortion allegations against the Chandlers. Mind you, the LA deputy DA, Lauren Weis was friends with the lawyer who represented the Chandlers against the extortion allegations (this is also in Ray Chandler’s book). So corruption and misfunction everywhere on the part of the authorities in this case. I think they were all carried away to be involved in a big celebrity case and to be the ones to “expose” a big superstar as some big criminal.

      Had it been a more fair DA things could have turned out differently. I wonder if the LA DA read Ray Chandler’s book in 2004 and what does he think of the extortion claim now. When the Chandlers themselves write things like these:

      “Fields and Pellicano already knew Evan was willing to negotiate. Why not pay him off and nip the nightmare in the bud while you’ve got the opportunity? Especially when you know your man is guilty of sleeping with little boys, at least. Not only do you avoid a civil suit, but also, more important, you buy your way around authorities by removing their star witness. Ten, twenty, thirty million? Money’s no object. The deal could be a fait accompli within hours. And if it doesn’t work, you can always come out swingin’ anyway.”

      “On the morning of August 17, 1993, as he negotiated with Barry Rothman, Anthony Pellicano had in his possession a copy of the psychiatrists report with the names omitted. He held in his hand the future of the most famous entertainer in human history. Yet the tape is replete with examples of Pellicano refusing to compromise on what would amount to chump change to Jackson. Why take the chance of Michael’s name ending up on that report and triggering an investigation?”

      “Had Michael paid the twenty million dollars demanded of him in August, rather than the following January, he might have spent the next ten years as the world’s most famous entertainer, instead of the world’s most infamous child molester.”

      The Judge too made very poor decisions in 1993. The settlement was basically a result of that. Michael’s attorneys fought to push the civil proceedings behind the criminal, but the Judge denied their requests on all occasions. The criminal proceedings were ongoing after the settlement but they could not get the Chandlers participate. Gil Garcetti said already at that time that he will seek to change the law so that they can get the Chandlers testify in the criminal case. They could not get the Chandlers, but they did change the law so that a civil process cannot get ahead of a criminal now. That they even changed the law shows how wrong the Judge’s decisions were in the Chandler case to not to push the civil proceedings behind the criminal. Civil cases are only about money, so why was that more urgent than the criminal? The Judge’s decision only helped the Chandlers to get away with extortion, not to serve justice.

      And then there was the media, which paid people money to make allegations against Michael. So fired ex-employees came up with allegations in the media. Thus the media helping create supporting “witnesses” for the Chandlers. Much of the civil trial would have been based on the testimonies of these “witnesses”. Even in 2005 the prosecution could not come up with more credible “witnesses” than these people. So the “prior bad acts” part was based largely on their testimonies. And they were all exposed as liars, cheaters, thieves.

      But this is an element that you do not normally have in such cases (where a celebrity is not involved): the media which pays people to tell lies and then those people get used by the prosecution as “witnesses”. So the media played an active role in distorting justice in this case.

      These cases are a story of human corruption on every level possible.

      1. “Thus the media helping create supporting “witnesses” for the Chandlers”

        Yes, this is so true, Suzy. The case had to have other kids–and that is where the Blanca Francia, Jason Francia, was the answer to Feldman’s prayer–also Sneddon and maybe Garcetti’s too (IF Jordan had not pulled out). They needed one more kid–and he was the ONLY one–they started on him at age 12 and put him in therapy for 5 years to get him to comme up with the ridiculous ticking story. Blanca, as you could tell by her testimony, was barely able to understand English properly (I think she needed a translator at the trial b/c she did not understand things like were they “on the covers” or “under the covers.”) She was paid for that DD interview on Hard Copy BEFORE her deposition. It was all a nightmare.

        Do you know how Feldman got hired? I see him as having a major role in all this–playing the media and urging them on. Victor Gutierrez is very much in the middle of all this too.

        Raven, does Lisa talk about VG??

  10. Feldman was recommended to the Chandles by Richard Hirsch and/or Robert Shapiro. He was recommended when the tow of them had to be hired to represent Evan and Barry Rothman for the charge of extortion.Shapiro represented Rothman and Hirsch represented Evan Chandler. Sorry about the typos in the above comment.

  11. Since Mann and Schaffel’s fraud on Katherine Jackson can be proved ( if you believe Sullivan then any contract that she signed with im was under fraudulent circumstances and it is null and void.Not only that they are guilty of exploiting a vulnerable adult. I wonder if the Estate knows that because that is a criminal charge.Not to mention they made her sign the kids into her contraact with them.

  12. Tatiana never dated Michael.

    In Tatiana’s OWN words, she states in her book that she lied about dating Michael for a year because she thought by saying she was in a relationship w/ him, she thought she was helping him by defending him in ’93.

    She also said by going on TV, she thought Michael would get in touch with her but he never called her.
    ——-
    From her book “The Way He Made Me Feel” (2005) :

    TATIANA THUMBTZEN -“Even though I had old issues lingering in the back of my head, I put them all aside for the sake of love and loyalty. As I told even one little white lie I was becoming a part of it all”.

    TONIA RYAN (Co-Author) : “So you lied and said that you dated Michael for a year when you did not? Why did you do that?”

    TATIANA THUMBTZEN: “The lie slipped out of my mouth simply because of my feelings for him. I felt that an injustice was being committed. Plus, I wanted Michael to see how much that I loved him. In my fairytale mind, I thought that he would come looking for me to thank me. Boy was I wrong!”

    1. That is true, she did say that. Sometimes it is hard to know what to believe, especially in the crazy world that surrounds MJ associates. So many of these people have contradicted their own stories so often that it is sometimes hard to know what to believe. However, let’s not forget that her motivations for lying in 2005 could have been just as strong in 2005-if not moreso-than in 1993. Public sentiment against Michael was at an all-time high in 2005, and it was certainly the perfect time for anyone who wanted to “get back” at him for any slight. Her 2005 comments strike me as a bitter woman scorned. It’s very possible that she simply wanted more out of their relationship than he did (sort of like the Diana Ross thing in reverse). I’ll just say that I am personally more inclined to believe they did than they didn’t, but of course only Michael and Tatiana know the real truth.

      And she has changed her own story too many times to be a credible source IMO.

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