This has not been an easy week for anyone who cares about Michael Jackson and, by extension, his children. In addition to the sleazy autopsy show that aired on UK’s Channel 5, the UK press also published a fake story about Michael’s youngest child Blanket.
The story, which appeared to have originated with the Daily Star, claimed that Blanket Jackson had produced a “disturbing” animated video titled “Kill Them All” about a young boy who avenges his father’s murder. This story proved to be completely false, as the video in question is actually part of a series by two brothers names Nyarko who just happen to have the first names Prince and Michael-hence, the use of the moniker Prince Michael II in the credits.
But let’s back up. True, it didn’t take vigilant fans long to crack this mystery. But even before we were aware that the story was complete baloney, something just seemed very fishy and “off” about this piece. What is even more “disturbing” (since they love that word so much) is what this latest shameful tabloid scandal reveals about the true nature of the media and its ongoing conspiracy against Michael Jackson and his family.
I hesitated on re-printing the contents of the original article, since the story has now been deleted from most (though by no means all) media outlets who ran it. However, I have to assume that at least a few readers may be unaware of this story and how it was subsequently handled. In order to understand the context of what I am addressing, it may be necessary to re-print it, but only to let readers know just how outrageous this story was to begin with, and also, subsequently how poorly it has been handled since all of these publications have learned they screwed up and slandered an 11-year-old kid. There are times when simple deletion may be good enough, but not once a story has already been put out, consumed by the masses, and copied and pasted around the world. And not when its subject is a minor child who has now been wrongfully labeled as “disturbed” and mentally unstable. I don’t know where anyone gets the idea that something like that can just be swept under a rug. Nothing less than a full apology and formal retraction should be accepted.
But again, I’m jumping ahead. Let’s look at what The Daily Star printed last Sunday:
Horror show vendetta of Michael Jackson’s son ‘Blanket’ revealed in terrifying cartoon
MICHAEL Jackson’s youngest son yesterday launched a “disturbing” cartoon series about a young boy avenging the murder of his father.
By Mike Parker/Published 5th January 2014
Blanket Jackson seems to still want someone to pay for his father’s death.
Long-haired Prince Michael II, who is 12 next month, is named as writer and creator of the five sketches Kill Them All.
But experts have described the four-minute films by the youngster, nicknamed Blanket, as “deeply disturbing.”
The storyline is billed as “a silent stick-man action animation about a nameless boy who witnesses his father’s murder and, 12 years later, begins a one-man crusade to kill the people responsible.”
In 2011, Dr Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for administering a fatal dose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol to Jackson.
Last night a source close to the family claimed matriarch Katherine Jackson, 83, had been “unaware” of the macabre project and had “no idea” who paid the £10,000 for it to be produced and uploaded online.
“This has caught her completely off guard,” our source said. “She’s very shaken by the theme. This is a side of Blanket she never suspected was there.”
“He clearly harbours the belief that someone should be made to pay for his father’s demise”
Carl Nelsen, psychiatrist
New York-based psychiatrist Carl Nelsen said: “Given the unique and well-known circumstances of Michael Jackson’s death, his son’s revenge theme in his cartoon series should be a cause for concern.
“He clearly harbours the belief that someone should be made to pay for his father’s demise, even though Dr Conrad Murray has served his jail time.
“I would say this young man might benefit from therapy – or more therapy if he has already undergone some.”
So far Blanket has avoided the publicity surrounding sister Paris, 15, and brother Prince Michael, 16.
Immediatly, the story spread like proverbial wildfire. It was picked up by Radar Online (doesn’t surprise me that Dylan Howard and The Australian Posse of which he’s a part of should play a hand), The Daily Mail, The Examiner, Yahoo, and many other outlets. It was even posted on some fan sites by shocked and upset fans who, at first, simply weren’t sure what to believe-or what to make of the story.
Even before the story was revealed as complete bs, the sinister agenda behind it was plenty enough to be upset about. Almost every tabloid that ran the story accompanied it with an unsmiling photo of Blanket (none too hard to find since the kid tends to look very solemn in most photos) and it was obvious that this ploy was intended to underline the idea of Blanket as a sinister and mentally troubled child. Or as I put it in one comment, the idea was to make Blanket look like “The Bad Seed” incarnate. Coming as it did on the heels of older sister’s Paris breakdown, I honestly believe these rags felt it would be easy to sell the idea of “Michael Jackson’s Mentally Unhinged Kids”. Okay, so maybe no one put it quite that way but it couldn’t have been more obvious; more in-your face that this was the idea they were selling.
To add further insult to injury, they went so far as to quote a psychiatrist commenting on Blanket’s mental state! And here is where it gets bizarre. They are going to such lengths-even to the point of bringing in a “child psychologist” to comment upon Blanket’t mental condition-without an IOTA of proof that Blanket was even behind the cartoon! And that isn’t speculation. We know now that they never had such proof, when it was so obvious that Blanket was never behind any such video; when the Nyarko brothers themselves have released a press statement stating that this was their production and that Blanket Jackson had no part in it, and when just a bit of basic fact checking on their part would have revealed all of this quick enough.
But again, let’s reel this back just a bit. Even before I found out it was a completely bogus story, there were some things that struck me as odd about the media’s reaction to it-or at least the reaction they were trying to so hard to sell to the public.
The first revelation for me was that I watched the video and…well, call me desensitized if you want, but nothing about it seemed particularly shocking or disturbing to me-even if a kid had been behind it. Especially given the content of most kids’ video games these days, or the films they typically watch. Many astute viewers picked up on the similarities to “Kill Bill,” the Quentin Tarantino flick in which Uma Thurman’s character returns to seek revenge against those who had tried to kill her. To be honest, my first thought was that if Blanket had indeed produced this, then he must be one heck of a brilliant, creative kid. We’ve all seen his cam videos that were leaked awhile back, and he certainly seemed like a very imaginative kid.
But…even if we gave him that, it was pretty obvious that this video is not the work of an 11-year-old kid. While crude in its way, it is still much more sophisticated than anything an 11-year-old child, even a very brilliant one, would be capable of producing. Frankly, nothing about this story was adding up.
Secondly, nowhere in the video is the name Michael Jackson-or, for that matter, any specific names associated with Michael Jackson-ever mentioned. So even if, let’s say, these writers genuinely believed this video was made by Blanket, on what were they basing the automatic assumption that the storyline was supposed to be about a plan to avenge his own father’s death? Couldn’t it have just as easily been a case of a kid with a vivid imagination who has seen one too many action-adventure movies?
What I’m saying here is that even before being made aware that this was a fake story, there were a lot of problems with the way the story was being handled. It was already a case of a hasty assumption, and again, this was even before the press release from Morphline Productions. So clearly, there was a conspiracy afoot. These tabloids knew they had no proof that Blanket was behind the video. But what’s more-even with the coincidence and circumstantial evidence of the name “Prince Michael II” appearing in the credits-they had no direct proof or correlation that this was a story about avenging the murder of Michael Jackson. Someone simply decided to draw that conclusion, obviously because it would be sensationalistic and would generate headlines. It is bad enough that they obviously didn’t bother fact checking to make sure that there wasn’t a possibility of someone other than Michael Jackson’s son being behind this-like maybe-duh!- someone else who just happened to share the same name. Oh, no, that’s bad enough, but then add to that the fact that they couldn’t even be bothered to find out if their false assumption was correct (because to do so would have ruined a great headline). No, it was much easier just to run with it and truth be damned.
Ah, but the story doesn’t end there. As I said, it didn’t take long for the true identities of those behind Morphline Productions to be known. And, even more bizarrely, it took a little known outlet called Mosh News to do one simple task that none of the bigwig publications could be bothered to do-that is, to actually contact Morphline Productions. They were also the first to report that it was a false story.
Blanket Jackson’s name was used by the Daily Star in a story talking about a YouTube series called “Kill Them All”, and according to a source directly within the company behind the YouTube channel, Jackson “has nothing to do with the series.”
In a story by the Daily Star, the tabloid used the headline, “Horror show vendetta of Michael Jackson’s son ‘Blanket’ revealed in terrifying cartoon” — they also claim a source close to the family told of Katherine Jackson’s concern and being “unaware” that Blanket was venturing down a path of getting “pay-back for his fathers death” which is what the Daily Star keep going over. In a small snippet below an image of Blanket the publication stated, “Blanket Jackson seems to still want someone to pay for his father’s death”
We spoke to someone behind the “Kill Them All” series and they have made it clear that Blanket Jackson has no affiliation with the company. The closest the company have with the Jackon’s is the names of the two brothers behind the project, Prince and Michael. They told us, “We used to use the name Prince Michael II as pseudonym but after we registered our show on IMDB and found out there was some one else called Prince Michael II we changed it to Prinse Micheal II”
And from the get-go, Michael and Prince Nyarko were adamant that Blanket had nothing to do with the video series and that the whole thing was a case of a terrible misunderstanding.
Here is a link to their Twitter account, where they discuss the issue with fans:
And here is the press release that they sent out to the media:
PRESS RELEASE FROM MORPHLINE PRODUCTIONS
Monday, 06 January 2014 7:28 AM
“Prince Michael aka Blanket Jackson II has and has never had any connections with the KTAshow.
We, Morphline Pictures want to categorically state and deny the rumour spread by the Daily mail and other tabloids that Prince Michael Jackson II (“PMJ II”) has had or continues to have any connection with our show. PMJ II is an innocent 11 year old whom these tabloids are smearing with this false rumour.
“Kill Them All” is an animated series produced by Morphline Pictures and written by brothers “Prince” and “Michael” who used to work under the pseudonym “Prince Michael II” which is not connected to and has never been connected to PMJ II.
We, Morphline Pictures would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the Jackson Family especially Prince Michael for any harm this may have caused.”
Some have questioned the intent of the Nyarko brothers and their role in all of this. Could it have all been a publicity stunt? Did they intentionally use the name of Michael’s son and the tragic circumstances of Blanket’s father’s death to promote their KTA show? They have denied such accusations vehemently and without further proof, we should probably at least extend them the benefit of the doubt. From what I am gathering, it looks as though they have been very generous and cooperative with fans in setting the record straight. Some have asked how could they not know that Michael’s son is named Prince Michael II? That’s a good question but we have to remember that very few people other than Michael’s diehard fans are even aware that Blanket is only the child’s nickname. So it’s certainly possible that they didn’t know (although I did find it interesting that the name of their production company also sounds a lot like “Morphine.” Coincidence?).
Regardless, one thing that is for sure is that what happened this week just may well rank as a new all-time low for the tabloid press. They displayed an all too trigger quick desire to portray Michael’s eleven-year-old son as a mentally disturbed individual, and as I commented on social media earlier this week, this seems symptomatic of a much bigger problem with how the media in general has been treating Michael’s kids. When it became apparent that Michael had been a great father and that his kids, via their public appearances, had come across as “surprisingly normal and well adjusted” (those adjectives the press always liked to use) it seemed from that point forward there was a desperate search for any chink-any sign that all may not be well. When Paris attempted suicide, it was a foregone conclusion that the media would stop at nothing to expose what some may have smugly perceived as the dysfunction of Michael’s children.
It is a double-edged sword because, on the one hand, these kids do have a lot of public sympathy (at the very least, lip service public sympathy). Few would dispute that they’ve certainly endured enough trauma in their lives. Yet, while feigning sympathy, the media is always ever ready to exploit their tragedy.
Then, of course, comes the ever convenient excuse to bash the “dysfunction” of the Jackson family-yet another excuse to highlight what a poor choice of guardian Katherine is. I suspect that may have been at least part of the reason for the story. They were banking on the idea that even if the story was built on the flimsiest evidence, it would generate controversy and hits by stirring up the usual anti-Jackson sentiments.
However, this highlights another important reason why the publication of this story ranks as despicable and unethical journalism. Michael Jackson’s children are vulnerable. Between the stun gun incident in 2010, the “Grannygate” episode of 2012 which resulted in Katherine’s loss of sole guardianship, and Paris’s suicide attempt, they are under the ever watchful eye of Child Protective Services. Anyone who has ever had to live under that yoke knows that it is hell. Did anyone think-while publishing this fake story to get hits-of the repercussions it could have for Blanket’s life? Or that it might bring more unnecessary intrusiveness and trauma into his life?
That a media conspiracy existed against Michael isn’t just fan paranoia. It is all too real, and the actual evidence of it continues to pile up. Consider, for example, this recent piece in which Charles Thomson illustrated exactly how the UK press conspired to create the phony myth that Michael was booed at the 2006 World Music Awards:
The UK press, for whatever reason, has been and remains an especially guilty party to this conspiracy. What we saw this week was little more than another play on the same old spin-only this time they got caught.
But instead of doing the ethical thing, which would be to admit their f*&%-up and offer an official retraction, the biggest players in this fiasco have taken the coward’s way out by simply tucking tail and deleting the story. Yes, that’s the way. Let’s just pretend this whole bit of embarrassing unpleasantry never happened.
Meanwhile, the story still remains up on several of the sites who simply cut and pasted the initial story, thus continuing to perpetuate this lie to any readers who will not be savvy enough to research it any further.
Here are some addresses and contacts that have been shared with me on social media, and which I will gladly share here.
To register a complaint against the UK tabloids:
To contact those outlets still carrying the story:
In closing, I’ll just add some final words about Blanket. I read a lot of what is said about him-by fans, by haters, and everything in between. It bothers me that the false picture keeps being painted of a morose and sullen youngster. “Blanket is so quiet, so shy,” people say. “He never seems to smile. He never looks happy.” I even see the cruel speculations as to whether he is, in fact, “normal.” People ask, Is he slow? Is there something emotionally wrong with him?
Hogwash. I have seen Blanket interacting with his siblings, his family, and the fans. He laughs. He loves to joke and pull pranks. He has a contagious smile and giggle that lights up the sphere-just like his dad. From what I have observed, he can be a bit stubborn when he doesn’t want to do something. He is very much his own kid. But in that regard, again, not any different from his famous dad.
He is shy, yes. But I suspect only with strangers. I’ve seen a lot of kids like him, and he is not at all unusual in that regard. He is a normal kid who, like his siblings, just happened to be born into extraordinary circumstances. And who, let’s not forget, has endured a terrible tragedy. No doubt, that trauma has left its mark on him. But he is coping and adjusting as well as can be expected for any child.
Like his siblings, he is making the best of those extraordinary circumstances and the tragedy of losing a parent, and is living his life.
I wish this could be the last time that I will say to the world, please let him alone and let him live it.
If only it were that easy.
ETA 1/12/14: Although I posted this article last night, I wanted to add one more thing. You know how sometimes you get these nagging thoughts that just won’t go away? Here is something to consider: Why does the media only seem to insist that Michael was murdered when it is convenient for them, in order to sell a good story, while they paradoxically spend the rest of the time trying to convince the public that Michael was responsible for his own death?
An interesting riddle, isn’t it?