Category Archives: The Never-Ending Media War

Blogs and rants about the media and its relationship with MJ

Wade Robson’s Trashy, Hidden “Tell All” Book: What This Latest Development Means In Regard To His “Case” Against MJ’s Companies

Celebrity "Tell All" Memoirs Are Big Business. Even Michael-Seen Here Reading His Late Friend Carrie Fisher's Memoir "Wishful Drinking"-Wasn't Immune To Their Appeal.
Celebrity “Tell All” Memoirs Are Big Business. Even Michael-Seen Here Reading His Late Friend Carrie Fisher’s Memoir “Wishful Drinking”-Wasn’t Immune To Their Appeal.

(Note: All of the court documents contained here are being used with the permission of Dailymichael.com. Please do not copy without  permission-thanks).

A few days ago, there was quite a ripple in the MJ fan community when Dailymichael.com released the latest bombshell information regarding the ongoing civil case between Wade Robson and Michael Jackson’s companies, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. While it’s not exactly a shocker to discover that Wade has been withholding evidence in the case, it’s the nature of exactly what he has been hiding that is particularly disturbing. It turns out that back in 2012, Wade Robson attempted to shop a purportedly “tell all” book about his “relationship” with Michael Jackson (note my use of quotation marks for both phrases!). This means that he was attempting to sell what he commented in 2013 as “my truth”  long before any lawsuit was ever filed!

waderobson-discovery1

waderobson-discovery2

For my purposes, I don’t wish to rehash all of the details of this latest discovery process (for that important information, I urge you to consult the original source here as well as the full document) but, rather, simply to provide my own analysis of what this latest development says about Wade’s motivations and what it may mean, potentially, for the case.

LA Gear commercial
Michael And Wade In Their “LA Gear” Commercial

Only a few weeks before this latest development hit, I had just published another piece in The Huffington Post which examined the timeline of events leading up to Wade’s lawsuit. I didn’t know at the time about the secret book manuscript which Wade had allegedly attempted to shop just prior to filing the lawsuit, as none of these documents had been released prior to this most recent discovery phase, but it appears I was pretty much spot on with everything else. The motion filed by the estate–and the surfacing of the previously hidden book manuscript-all pinpoints to a very specific set of circumstances that fell into place from around 2011-2012, or right about the exact time that Wade lost out on his bid to direct the Cirque du Soleil Immortal show and the start of his personal downward spiral, resulting in a substantial loss of income and employment opportunities. The discovery that Wade had been attempting to shop a book in early 2013 still leaves a couple of questions open: Did Wade specifically  plan to write and sell this so-called book, and only turned to the lawsuit as an alternative Plan B when that course of action failed to materialize? Or was it all part of a more elaborate Machiavellian camapign in which he imagined that the book would coincide with the announcement of his case against the Michael Jackson estate? Did he have dreams of a runaway New York Times bestseller that would have catapulted his case? At this point, we can only speculate. It would be easy to imagine that Wade had planned it all purposely as part of his official “coming out” media blitz, which he must have believed would be kicked off by his Today show interview (a media blitz that he must have believed, in turn, would be bound to pressure the estate to settle the case before…well, let’s just say, before things got too nasty). Or did the whole idea of a lawsuit only emerge as a by product of the book’s failure to ignite interest in the publishing world? I have been combing these recent documents to try to find those answers, and although nothing can be stated definitively, I have to say that reading through these emails and documents has been quite enlightening in piecing together Wade’s motivations, as well as an interesting step by step guide in how this “case” was (and is continuing to be) cobbled together.

To back track just a bit, one thing we do know is that Wade’s plan for his “confession” to ignite some huge, splashy media blitz never really materialized. At least, I don’t think it materialized in the way that he had hoped or planned. The media response to these posthumous allegations against Michael Jackson was surprisingly lukewarm, and it became apparent that the only people who really cared were, of course, the same marginalized group of people who always care most passionately about any Michael Jackson related news-the fans and the haters. In the meantime, none of it proved enough to deter public sentiment against Michael Jackson, at least not anymore or less than what it had already been prior to 2013. More importantly, it certainly wasn’t enough to put a dent in the continuing posthumous success of his music catalog or related projects (Immortal went on to achieve record success and the posthumous Xscape album reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 200, all within weeks of Wade’s allegations becoming public. This had to have been a terrible blow to his ego!).  In short, nothing much changed. Those who had always believed Michael was innocent continued to believe-and were sure that Wade must be lying. Those who wanted to believe he was guilty, of course, embraced the news, but what else is new? With the continued success of Michael Jackson’s name and brand, there certainly was no incentive to settle the case, even if the estate had been so inclined.

Conspiracy, The Book That Had To Be Self Published Because "Publishers Aren't Interested In Pro Michael Jackson Books." Wade Must Have Surely Thought He Had A Shoe-In Bestseller! So What Went Wrong?
Conspiracy, The Book That Had To Be Self Published Because “Publishers Aren’t Interested In Pro Michael Jackson Books.” Wade Must Have Surely Thought He Had A Shoe-In Bestseller! So What Went Wrong?

And now, thanks to the latest discovery, we learn that Wade’s plan to peddle his trashy memoir was similarly dashed. This in itself is an interesting development which is quite revealing, considering that both the media and the commercial publishing industry has pretty much had an open door policy when it comes to peddling smut written about Michael Jackson. Remember what Aphrodite Jones claimed as the reason she could not interest a major publisher in Conspiracy? It was because all of the major publishing houses only wanted to publish books that were anti Michael Jackson, and were not interested in books that explored other possibilities, let alone the idea of Michael Jackson’s innocence or his having been railroaded by the mass media. This is why I find Wade’s failure to sell his book a particularly interesting turn of events, but more about that shortly.

What is known is that after Wade’s initial scheme to ignite a media blitz that would pressure the estate to settle fizzled, he seemed to drop off the radar for a considerable time. Obviously, the case was still ongoing, but Robson and his legal team would have to take some time to draw back, rethink their strategy, and plan for another attack.

For Wade, it would turn out to be another three years-and a change in attorneys-before his next preemptive strike. This time, thanks to the underhanded savvy of a legal team that thrives on publicity, as well as  Robson’s apparent friendly relation with Radar Online, they got the splash they wanted, with what essentially amounted to an internet hoax. By cleverly “leaking” to Radar Online public court documents that were, in fact, over a decade old (and which in actuality detailed nothing more than the same art and photography books that were well scrutinized in 2005) they managed to essentially create a media hoax out of the tabloid industry’s willingness to spin old court documents with lurid headlines that falsely depicted a ghastly tale of “stockpiles” of “disturbing” child pornography. This time, the damage done had far more reaching impact. The rebuttals to the false story were swift and vociferous, but not nearly enough in number to combat the tide of sheer willful ignorance perpetuated by yellow journalism. Every day, I still run across people-whether on the internet or in real life-who now believe that these stories are true. Why? Not so much because they read them on the internet, but due to the sheer pervasiveness with which the fake story took wings and grew. In my area, it was even reported on a local news channel during their nightly spot that is dedicated to news from around the world. This meant that now, Wade and his legal team had engaged in a strategy that had finally made it past the tabloids, and into the realm of mainstream news reporting. Not good.

While much of this may be old news to most readers of this blog, it’s important nevertheless both for establishing the narrative of Wade’s allegations, for establishing how the case has played out in the media (and will continue to do so) and for establishing the pattern of Wade’s motivation.

One pattern I find interesting in going back and reading the series of emails between Wade and his mother Joy Robson is that during this phase in late 2012, Wade’s biggest concern seems to be more about gathering information for his book than actually piecing together a legal case.  In an email to Joy Robson he prefaces the correspondence by stating, “Here are some questions that have been coming up for me as I write.” As many have already pointed out, the emails are revealing in displaying just how little Wade actually does remember about his time with Michael Jackson. Repeatedly, he seems to ask his mother very pointed questions that are obviously designed to fit his theories. He asks specifically about a testimony from a Neverland security guard (Charli Michaels) who described Joy Robson as being distraught during a Mother’s Day weekend visit to Neverland in 1990 because Norman Staikos had allegedly told her she could not have access to Wade during the time that he was rehearsing with Michael Jackson. To that testimony, Joy Robson had emphatically replied in her email: “Wow! None of that is true!” and yet later in his deposition, Wade nevertheless still entered Charli Michael’s report, even after his own mother had denied its validity! He repeatedly asks his mother questions about his own state of physical or emotional being after certain events and dates…”How did I seem when…” which, as a sexual abuse victim myself, I find hard to believe. Granted, I am fully aware that all childhood sexual abuse victims deal with and process their abuse differently, but I find it hard to believe that he would not be able to remember for himself exactly how he felt at those times. In my case, I remember being so physically ill that I could not get up and get dressed for school. All I could taste; smell; see in my mind was a penis being forced into my mouth.  Every time I would start to get up to get dressed for school, I would start retching, and it was only my empty stomach that kept me from vomiting.These are the kinds of details that a sexually abused child remembers. I wouldn’t need to ask my mother about it because, frankly, I am sure I remember it better than she does. In Wade’s case, it could be that he was merely looking for his mother to corroborate certain events he remembers, or believes he remembers. But in all honesty, his emails read more like someone trying to piece together a narrative and desperately trying to make all the pieces fit. You can see him literally latching onto any detail that might prove significant. At one point he even asks her what his father had said about sexual abuse! And in his December 2016 deposition, it is further revealed that he had emailed to himself a link to an MJFacts.com article, confirming a suspicion that many MJ fans have had for years about the link between this hater website and Robson’s case.

waderobsondiscovery6

 

The biggest factor is not so much that Wade was writing the book, but that he purposely withheld this information when repeatedly asked to supply all documents in which he had discussed his allegations against Michael. This would have included, for example, not only the manuscript itself but all of the related emails between Wade and his mother in which the book was discussed, as well as emails between Wade and his literary agent and any potential publishers of the book (all of whom would have known about its contents, as this would have been Wade’s main selling point of the book).

The book became a central focus of Wade’s recent deposition on December 12, 2016 (See here for full transcripts). The exhibits produced reveal that Wade had gotten as far as securing a literary agent, and that the book had been shopped to a select handful of major publishing houses, all of whom had passed on it except for Harper Collins (who, we must assume, also eventually passed). The exhibits include a request for Wade to participate in a conference call with Harper Collins, which means the manuscript must have at least made it past the initial screening phase at that particular company.

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waderobsondiscovery4

 

 

 

First of all, the fact that Wade had chosen this route to publishing-taking the trouble to secure a high profile literary agent who could get the book seen by the best commercial publishing houses-suggests that money was the main motive.  Wade obviously wasn’t looking to self publish this book! He was seeking a major publisher, obviously in hopes of an impressive advance figure, and for which major distribution would guarantee maximum profits. I can’t say I exactly blame him-it’s the route that most potential and wannabe writers envision as the best case scenario for their product. As a celebrity writer, however-and particularly as one writing about his association with an even bigger major celebrity-Wade would have had the benefit of additional perks. For example, it is very possible in his case that he might have sold the project on spec alone, before one word was even written! The idea alone-if correctly pitched and packaged to an interested publisher-could have guaranteed him a sizable income paid in advance, pending the manuscript’s actual completion and delivery.

What I don’t know at this point is whether Wade had an actual manuscript, or if the book was just an idea being pitched to his agent and to publishers. I do know it is possible to secure a literary agent based on a query alone, although usually most agents will at least want to see a few sample pages or chapters (you know, just to ensure that a potential client is actually producing what they claim to be producing, that they actually can write, and that the actual material lives up to the promise of the query). Some literary agents will request that clients produce the entire manuscript before they will agree to take them on, but not in every case. This is particularly true in the world of celebrity memoirs, where a pitch is often enough to at least generate agent representation.  In the case of Renaissance Literary & Talent Agency-the agency that was representing Wade-it is stated that potential clients are usually required to submit at least a partial. However, if Wade’s agent was simply querying his book to potential publishers, this could explain Wade’s insistence that no publishers ever saw his manuscript. However, it still doesn’t explain or excuse why this important bit of discovery was withheld all this time (let’s remember, he was still discussing the book’s contents with many individuals, including his mother, agent and potential publishers). Also, it is far more likely that they were at least distributing a partial manuscript to these potential publishers, which would mean that Wade was clearly lying when he claimed he had never sent his manuscript to any publishers.

Having had some past experience with literary agents, how they operate and all of the various tiers within the industry (from the sharksters all the way up the chain to the most respected names in the industry) I was curious about Wade’s literary agent-Alan Nevins-and the company that agreed to represent him. Renaissance Literary & Talent Agency is, in fact, a legit agency (in other words, it is not one of those fly-by-night agencies that asks for a reading fee out of pocket or that requires a fee for representation). This would mean that the agency only takes on clients and projects that they genuinely believe they can sell. Judging from their profile, most of their clients are celebrities and they seem to specialize in celebrity memoirs. This would mean that most of the projects they agree to take on are projects that already have a built-in audience and thus, a guarantee of profit.

The following information is from Alan Nevins’s profile in Publisher’s Marketplace: 

Renaissance Literary & Talent
Post Office Box 17379
Beverly Hills, California 90209
(323) 848-8305
query@renaissancemgmt.net

Alan Nevins started his book career working for the famed super agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar. In 1993 Nevins founded Renaissance Literary & Talent with two Hollywood based literary agents and the agency thrived.

In 1995, Renaissance acquired the Irving Paul Lazar Agency and its extensive backlist after a year of negotiations, beating several eager bidders, including one of the majors. This acquisition, and that of the H.N. Swanson Agency, gave the infant Renaissance the enviable legacy of two of Hollywood’s most colorful literary agents and solidified its place as a powerhouse boutique literary firm supplying material to the New York publishers as well as the film/television community.

After Renaissance completed a three year stint associated with Michael Ovitz’s Artists Management Group, Renaissance was quietly placed in the background and Nevins cut a deal with music and film management company, The Firm, to create a literary division that would come with longstanding and impressive relationships in Hollywood, London and New York.

After six years with The Firm, Nevins departed in late 2008 and re-established Renaissance Literary & Talent which will allow him the continued independence to represent clients who may already have other talent managers and agency representation in place but seek exclusive literary representation.

A bit further down in the profile is a list of some of the clients he has represented, and it is certainly an impressive list, including some big Hollywood and literary names!

LEADING CLIENTS

And if you are curious, you can read more about the agency and who they represent here.

Clearly, then, both Alan Nevins and his agency, Renaissance Literary & Talent Agency, have a niche and that is selling Hollywood memoirs. Thus, Wade’s own short-lived career, as well as his association with names like Michael Jackson and Britney Spears, would have been enough selling point to at least get his foot in the door and to guarantee that his pitch would at least be given some consideration. But what happened beyond that isn’t immediately clear from the emails, other than the fact that publishers simply weren’t biting.

In a world where any scandalous fodder about Michael Jackson has been fair game, one has to wonder why publisher after publisher passed on Wade’s memoir. But perhaps the reasons aren’t really that far fetched. For starters, Wade was offering a pretty shocking set of allegations against a name celebrity. However, book publishers do not necessarily abide by the same code of ethics as tabloid journalism. This meant that before being willing to put their name and reputation on the line, any major publisher would have demanded that Wade’s story had to pass a fairly thorough round of vetting and fact checking. This may explain, in part, why Wade was prodding Joy with all of those questions. Obviously, we know how full of holes his story has been from the beginning, so it’s no surprise that some publishers may have bailed out if he refused to cooperate with the vetting process, or was unable to successfully corroborate his claims. Secondly (and the biggest reason Michael Jackson books are a particularly hard sell with publishers these days) is simply that the market is so glutted. The simple fact is that books about Michael Jackson are not the guaranteed profit makers that they were in years past. There is simply too much competition, and with the advent of social media, fans have become much more savvy at creating backlashes against controversial titles (which is a good thing, except it is also a double-edged sword in that most publishers are often only looking at the bottom line: Books about Michael Jackson simply don’t sell that well anymore, and usually create more trouble than they’re worth. This means that a lot of potentially positive titles never receive consideration, either!).

Thirdly, however, there may also be a more encouraging reason why Wade’s book didn’t sell. Although many fans may find it too incredulous to believe, there really has been a paradigm shift in the way the publishing world perceives Michael Jackson. At least part of this tide stems from the knowledge that trash written about Michael Jackson simply isn’t as profitable as it used to be, and a growing awareness that the shift in public sentiment which began with his untimely passing in 2009 has continued to influence these decisions.

Or it could simply be that the book was so poorly written that not even a ghost writer could save it! That is certainly a reasonable possibility as well!

What I find most telling is how Wade responded to his book’s failure to sell. He claims his only motivation for writing the book was to help him deal with “his healing process” and to help other “victims” work through theirs’. If that were the case, why did he turn to a civil lawsuit and more importantly, perhaps, why didn’t he simply self publish his book after it failed to find a major publisher? God knows it’s easy enough to get any book on the market place these days; all one has to do is set up an Amazon account and publish away! But the catch is that self publishing doesn’t lead to the kind of monetary awards Wade was after. Self publishing his book would have only brought the wrath of the entire Michael Jackson fan community upon him, with none of the compensating rewards of a three figure advance! The best case scenario with a self published book is that he would have earned a pittance in royalties from the handful of Jackson haters who would have most likely been his only audience. Nope. Better just to try suing Michael’s estate and companies.

Whatever we are to make of Wade’s attempt to “sell” his friendship with Michael Jackson, there are two facts we can take away from this new revelation which can’t be ignored. Wade Robson-again-deliberately lied and withheld evidence. What’s more, this latest development reveals even more clearly that his motive has always been about money. In his latest deposition, he comes across even more as the lying and manipulative con artist that I believe he is, as he attempts pathetically to try to explain his way out of very pointed questions as to why this information was withheld. Whatever develops going forward, this can’t bode well for Wade’s case.

Exposing Radar Online’s Secret Shame: The Truth About What Michael Jackson Had (And Didn’t Have) In His Bedroom-Pt 3

A Magazine That Was Part of Michael's Stash-The December 1994 Issue Of Playboy. When They Couldn't Build A Case Against Him For This...They Went After His Art Books Instead!
A Magazine That Was Part of Michael’s Stash-The December 1994 Issue Of Playboy. When They Couldn’t Build A Case Against Him For This…They Went After His Art Books Instead!

 

“The most pure people are always torn down.. It will continue to be proven that my beloved dad has always been and forever will be innocent.”-Paris Jackson

As I’m readying to post this third installment of my series rebutting the lies Radar Online was responsible for spreading throughout the media, I am noticing a disturbing trend. Memories are all too short in today’s world of sound bite journalism, and already the malicious lie Radar Online released just in time to darken celebrations honoring Michael’s death anniversary is starting to fade from headlines and is dropping from the search engines. Traffic here has pretty much stabilized to normal, and on social media, many fans are back to tweeting images of Michael’s gold pants and all of the usual stuff we enjoy discussing when news is slow. Maybe in a way that is a good thing if this story that was never a story is dying down, as it should.

12-Year-Old Michael Famously Flipped Through A Playboy Issue During A Jackson 5 Interview
12-Year-Old Michael Famously Flipped Through A Playboy Issue During A Jackson 5 Interview

But I find it beyond disturbing that what Radar Online and the rest of the media did to Michael Jackson and his family this past week is being allowed to sink without formal retraction or apology, even after being called out by several conscientious journalists and even after the Santa Barbara authorities issued a statement concluding that they had issued no such documents to the media and that the documents included falsified information, which their statement made plain in no uncertain terms. It is also inexcusable that much of the media has turned a deaf ear as artists like Jonathan Hobin and others whose work has been similarly slandered as “pornography” have spoken out.

From Jonathan Hobin’s Twitter:

Jonathan Hobin Retweeted MJJJusticeProject

More than a 1000 tweets and the media are not listening.

Michael’s friend Corey Feldman has also reached out to the media time and again to say that he was abused as a child by a Hollywood pedophile ring. He continues to insist that his real abuser is still out there, but the media and-most importantly, the police-stopped listening to him as soon as he told them his abuser wasn’t Michael Jackson. The response to any offers to reveal his true abuser? Crickets chirping. Even The Daily Mail ran a story on it in 2013, so no one can say Feldman hasn’t been trying to get the truth out for a long time-that Michael Jackson provided him the only sense of normalcy he had as a child.

Corey Feldman In 2013 When He Came Forward About His Abuse-He Said Cops Didn't Care When They Found Out It WASN'T Michael Jackson.
Corey Feldman In 2013 When He Came Forward About His Abuse-He Said Cops Didn’t Care When They Found Out It WASN’T Michael Jackson.

Time and again, I have seen this cycle repeat itself-a really malicious story is printed about Michael (we are guaranteed at least one really good hit piece every six months or so) and the furor is stirred for a little while; then, eventually, the story drops from the headlines and everyone becomes complacent again-for a little while, until the next storm hits. This cycle has got to stop! How long can they keep picking the flesh from a dead man’s bones? I am going to continue working to expose these people for as long as it takes-not because I enjoy keeping the story going or “fanning the flames” but because I refuse to rest this time or to become complacent again until Radar Online and all of the outlets who spread this latest trash have issued a FORMAL RETRACTION AND APOLOGY. In the last seven years, I have seen quite a bit that has been allowed to simply sink without formal retraction-a good case in point being the phony FBI files story which was eventually squelched after a damning story in CNN exposed the hoax. At that time, many media outlets that had ran with that story simply deleted it, allowing it to quietly drop out of search engines. But not everyone. And again, because no formal retraction was ever given, the bogus story is still occasionally unearthed and given new legs for the uninitiated who, of course, will not remember the expose’ of 2013 (as I said, memories are fleetingly short in the media world-but that doesn’t make the damage done any less forgiving).

We really do have to ask some tough questions about the especial vindictiveness around this particular anniversary-June 25th, 2016. For example, although certainly a much less damaging story than the fabricated assertions of child pornography, The Daily Mail ran a hit piece on June 25th asserting that Michael had viciously dissed Prince during the taped sessions for his “Moonwalk” autobiography, claiming he was “the rudest person I ever met.” The purpose of running with such a story on June 25th of all dates is pretty obvious: They know that the emotions of Prince fans right now are very raw (the man just died in April) and, of course, what better way to play up the “rivalry” than by having Prince fans turn en masse on MJ on his own death anniversary! A cheap tactic to be sure, although I credit Prince fans with more intelligence than to fall for it. The fact is, if any such tape exists, it hasn’t surfaced. Secondly, even if we extended benefit of the doubt and assumed maybe, okay, he said it, I would say to that: Big whoop de-do deal. If truth be known, most fans would be shocked to know what artists really have to say about each other in private moments-they are human beings, after all. Let’s not forget that this was the era in which Prince had just refused, twice, to collaborate with Michael and had effectively snubbed every overture Michael had made toward him. But what we do know is that their respect for each other as artists was immense and only grew exponentially throughout the years (I even learned recently that Prince hung out with Michael in the recording studio during the HIStory sessions!) and in 1983, it was Michael who persuaded James Brown to call Prince up on stage with them.  As I have been writing in many previous blog posts, Michael’s relationship with Prince-just like his relationship with Madonna-was a complex one fraught with all of the complexities that comes with success, ego, and artistry, but also with the kind of immutable bond that only those who have shared the experience of fame can understand. This is nothing more than celebrity gossip, of course, which doesn’t mean much in the grander scheme of things-gossip, as always in the celebrity and tabloid world, will come and go, and we can’t afford to expend too much energy getting overly riled up about these things. However, I am concerned-very much-with the especially slanderous allegations of the past week which cannot afford to go unchallenged.

With that in mind, I am going to resume where I left off in refuting the claims that Radar Online and other media outlets professed, via overly sensationalized headlines, made about the 2003 police reports on Neverland. To do that correctly, I will need to go back to a previous page that was missing from RO’s originally published 88-page document. Here goes:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-stfayCXLjudXY1b0d2c2JoSUU/view

Item #505 is especially important to this discussion, as this was an apparently sealed package containing three books that will be crucial to our discussion in this post-Underworld, Room To Play, and Drew and JimmyRoom To Play is important because this book played a prominent role, both directly and indirectly, in creating many of the most sensational media headlines. First, this was the volume for which Jonathan Hobin’s “American Idol” photo was mistakenly identified as being a part of in Radar Online’s pages that were falsified. As discussed in Pt 2, we now know that this image was not included in Room To Play at all, but instead, was part of Hobin’s collection of art photography titled In The Playroom-an important detail because In The Playroom, a book published in 2008, could not possibly have been a book recovered during the 2003 raid. Granted, we could attribute such an oversight to human error, but this was not the kind of error that would have been allowed in an actual police report! However, it is exactly the sort of error that could be made unknowingly by someone doing a sloppy Google search for images from Room To Play-just exactly the kind of error that could have been made by Robson’s and Safechuck’s attorneys before “leaking” these newly sensationalized documents to Radar Online (the “Amercian Idol” photo featuring a JonBenet Ramsey lookalike with a noose tied around her neck is now among the twenty-seven pages that have suddenly “disappeared” from Radar Online’s documents). Just as a test, I did a Google search myself for In The Playroom. Guess what image came up? That’s right-Hobin’s photo!

Here you can see page 11 of Radar Online’s version, where the “American Idol” photo from In The Playroom is identified via a handwritten note as being from Room To Play.

file:///C:/Users/user1/Downloads/RO-report-88-pages%20(5).pdf

This image does not appear at all in the original report-and now we know for good reason! Because it didn’t exist in 2003, and was never recovered from Michael Jackson’s home!

But what about the actual book, Room To Play, as well as the other two books that were in this sealed package? I would like to take an especially close look at Room To Play because the description of this book in the report was responsible for a particularly reprehensible headline ran by Vanity Fair, an article written by Laurie Bradley  claiming that pornographic photos were seized in Michael’s home of children’s heads morphed onto adult bodies. That headline was particularly disturbing because they had the brass balls to run it above  one of the most innocent photos of Michael that could have possibly been used-a photo op from one of one of the many charitable events at Neverland for under privileged, inner city children.

"Vanity Fair" Twistedly Used This Innocent Photo Of Michael Inviting Inner City Children To Neverland To Help Promote Its Malicious Agenda!
“Vanity Fair” Twistedly Used This Innocent Photo Of Michael Inviting Inner City Children To Neverland To Help Promote Its Malicious Agenda!

The sensationalized juxtaposition of the image and headline were completely intentional. Unfortunately, this was a hit piece that received a lot of traction from the fan community because Vanity Fair was the first outlet that also ran the rebuttal statement from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department denying that they had authorized the documents for release and also that some of the information appeared to have been tampered with. That was an important step, but unfortunately, having that information did not lead to a retraction or formal withdrawal of the story-it is merely tacked on as a kind of obligatory footnote, where it is bound to be all but ignored amidst that glaring salacious headline.

Even though I knew that no such photos had ever been claimed to have been found in Michael’s possession (this “revelation” was total news to me!) I couldn’t help but find the headline disturbing. I know of pedophiles who have been convicted for possessing just such material. It is a particularly sick “hobby” in which pedophiles will sexualize children by placing images of their heads and faces onto adult bodies. But going back to the report, it is clear that those descriptions came solely from the description of the book Room To Play (i.e, these did not refer in any way to photos Michael had personally taken or doctored himself, as the Vanity Fair headline suggests).

Cover Photo From Simen Johan's "Room To Play"
Cover Photo From Simen Johan’s “Room To Play”

I did some more digging, and guess what? Room To Play, like so many of the books that came into question from this report, is a perfectly legal art book by Simen Johan that can be purchased on Amazon! (Provided one can afford the exorbitantly high cover price of $750.00; evidently the book must be out of print or an extremely valuable collectible!). An excerpt from a review of the book written in July of 2003 stated thus:

Johan has many similar images in Room to Play.  “Untitled #71.  1999” shows a girl in a gymnasium, taking a model’s pose, one hand on her hips, facing to the left of the viewer into the distance.  She is wearing a transparent one-piece outfit, and her young face does not match the pre-pubescent body.  Indeed, the darker complexion of the face makes it easy to guess where Johan stuck the image of the head to that of the body.  In “Untitled #79.  1999” a girl with a baby doll-like face but very styled hair is reclining in a park, exposing adult breasts.  She has bright eyes but her face is utterly devoid of expression.  The picture brings to mind bring to mind some of Hans Bellmer’s use of dolls and the psychoanalytic interpretations such work invites.  It’s easy to analyze them as the expression of forbidden fetishistic desires, embodying a consciousness of their own depersonalization.  They also could be read as feminist works, protesting the sexualization of young girls in pageants, and the loss of childhood innocence that comes with the commodification of girls’ bodies. 

However, the other pictures here tend to discount such readings, because they are darker, more bizarre, and more complex.  The first image in the book, “Untitled #71.  1998” shows a boy and a dog, and is more obviously a well-crafted collage.  They seem to be in a trailer park surrounded by high-rise apartment buildings.  The boy has Asian facial features and looks at the viewer.  His body is that of a toddler, but his face is of an older boy.  He is wearing an odd sort of hat or crown, with a furred cylinder topped by a crude bejeweled dome with a cross in the middle.  His underwear has a wet dark spot in the front.  The little dog is a highly groomed fluffy white poodle, also wearing a garish ornament on its head.  The picture has a drab feel to it, but it relishes its own incongruity.  “Untitled #65.  1997” shows a girl in a foggy field holding a dead sheep, with flies on her and the sheep.  Her face is intend but not upset.  “Untitled #78.  1999” shows a boy and girl dancing in their underwear against a background of jet planes leaving impressive looped jet trails.  The blond boy looks about four years old, and is wearing a wet tight fitting pair of swimming trunks — he seems to have a rather large penis for his age.  “Untitled #75.  1999” shows a girl in a room with the curtains drawn.  Her face gives little clue to her age — her hair is unevenly cut and disheveled, and her upper teeth have large gaps between them.  Her eyes are rolled up in her head and she has running mascara; a tear rolls from her right eye.  She is wearing a bright silver necklace and the pendant shines from inside her mouth.  She looks drugged or even possibly dead.  These are not pretty images, and their flirting with taboos of child sexuality, disturbance, and death place Johan’s work in the realm of a rather adolescent surrealism.  Yet they are emotionally powerful, and even darkly humorous. 

A detailed discussion of the book (and others) on the Vindicating Michael website contained these images from the book to give a feel for Johan’s particular style of photography:

room-to-play-4-pictures

Something that struck me was that the image at top left bore an uncanny resemblance to Aubrey Powell’s famous cover for Led Zeppelin’s 1973 Houses of the Holy album. That cover photo had, in turn, been inspired by the ending of Arthur C. Clark’s novel Childhood’s End. So…does this mean that all of us who own classic rock albums are guilty of owning porn?

Led Zeppelin's "Houses of The Holy" Album Cover
Led Zeppelin’s “Houses of The Holy” Album Cover

The image on the top right also reminds me a lot of a slightly demonized Carol Ann, the character that Heather O’Rourke played in Poltergeist. 

As with Jonathan Hobin, whose work was discussed in Part 2, the images in Johan’s work can be viewed as disturbing because they depict children in various extreme settings, but they are not pornographic in nature. The purpose, as with Hobin’s work, seems to be depictions of how society has victimized children. We know that childhood was a subject dear and close to Michael’s heart; it permeated much of his own work, and in songs like “Childhood,” “Little Susie,” “Hollywood Nights” and “Do You Know Where Your Children Are” he was brutally honest in confronting the darker aspects of childhood. “Little Susie” depicts a child who is murdered. Both “Hollywood Nights” and “Do You Know Where Your Children Are” feature as subjects young girls who have been sold to prostitution.

Michael’s Own Artistic Vision Of Childhood Could Be Quite Dark: He, Better Than Anyone, Recognized It’s Not Always A Happy Time For All Children. “Little Susie,” For Example, Is The Story Of A Murdered Girl.

Given Michael’s artistry and vision, it’s easy to see how and why he might have found inspiration in these works-that is, if we can assume he indeed had ever even looked at or opened this book! Let’s not forget, it was described along with the other three as being inside a sealed packaging-one for which the the seals had to be broken in order to review the items! This suggests the possibility that Michael could have merely received the books as gifts and had never opened them-for sure, we know Michael received thousands of such gifts from fans every day, as Michael often said and which has been confirmed by many sources who knew him.

I hav boxes of unopened fan mail from years ago that we haven’t gotten 2. now LEAVE IT ALONE

doesn’t mean he purchased it, or even looked at it. I’m sure U hav weird stuff ppl giv U. Magnify

 But even if these were books he legitimately owned and had purchased, they really speak of nothing except Michael’s insatiable curiosity to learn as much as he could about the human condition.

However, what about the morphed images referred to in the report? Although some of the images were described in the report as “appearing” to sexualize the children by morphing them with adult images, the intent in most of the images seemed to be more about showing the children as neglected and prematurely aged by a society that has forced them into adulthood too soon-a society that has literally left them with no “room to play.”

This Is One Of The So-Called Scandalous "Morphing" Images From "Room To Play"
This Is One Of The So-Called Scandalous “Morphing” Images From “Room To Play”

What of the other two books contained in the packaging-Underworld and Drew and Jimmy? Kelly Klein’s 1995 book Underworld is also a book that can be purchased on Amazon.  It appears to be nothing more than a boudoir coffee table art book featuring Calvin Klein-like images of models wearing underwear in ads throughout various decades of the twentieth century. And guess what? It was a book highly endorsed by my all time favorite author of vampire  and Gothic fiction, the venerable Anne Rice, who wrote the introduction!

One Of My Favorites, Best Selling Author Anne Rice, Highly Endorsed "Underworld" As
One Of My Favorites, Best Selling Author Anne Rice, Highly Endorsed “Underworld” As “A Monument To Our Freedom.” Yet For Simply Owning It, MJ Was And Is Being Raked Over The Coals!

“The camera empowers you to be intimate with the lens, even abandoned, in a way that may not be possible with another human,” Rice muses. “This book is a monument to our freedom, not only to express ourselves but to want more than we are allowed. The camera is the safest vehicle for this excess.”-Anne Rice, from the introduction to Underworld. 

Underworld is also a highly rated book on goodreads.com.

drew and jimmy
The Cover of “Drew and Jimmy” by John P. Salisbury

Drew and Jimmy by John P. Salisburyis also available on Amazon and appears to be little more than a pictorial of rural boyhood. This is what one reviewer wrote of the book:

I came across this book on the recommendation of the author’s mother. She was my grade school art teacher and mother of a long time classmate-Burton. I had not seen her since Burton’s funeral, but when she mentioned Patrick’s book I couldn’t resist. I had been back in Walnut Grove for a weekend visit for a girlfriend’s wedding. I had left for college a few years before and kept going. My family was not as deep rooted there as the Salisbury’s were, but I grew up there and those roots run just as deep. Whenever school or life was getting stressful, the Delta was the first place I’d run to. It was a truly wonderful place to grow up, and the book depicts the eviroment beautifully. When I saw the pictures of the glass-like water, it made me want to be behind a ski boat once more. I knew Burton well, but Patrick was always the quiet older brother. I did know that they were total opposites personality wise. Burton was always the daredevil; class clown, as well as very gifted artistically like his mother and now as I see, Patrick also. My earliest memory of Burton I have is:him standing on a huge round table in our kindergarten classroom, which he then fell off of and cracked his head open for a few stitches. We grew apart after graduation, but he was part of many good memories I had while growing up in Walnut Grove…including one of my first crushes. I think about him often, though my life is far away from where I knew him last, and I miss him. Thank you Patrick for a little more closure:)-

Even the original police report couldn’t offer too much to say about this book or its contents, conceding that it contained merely “photographs of two Caucasian male juveniles that appeared to be in their early to mid teens. The boys in these photographs are primarily clothed with occasional photographs of them wearing swim trunk-type clothing.”

From what I can tell, the following example photographs are about as “erotic” as it gets, and quite frankly, these young men appear to be far older than “early to mid teens.”

drew and jimmy2

 

drew and jimmy 3

Typically, the report concluded of all three books:

“None of the above noted books contained materials, which depicted illegal activities (including sexual acts with children) None of the books would meet legal requirements to be considered child pornography.” -Sheriff’s Department, Santa Barbara County Continuation Sheet Page 3. 

 Keep in mind that the police, as well as prosecuting attorneys, were well aware that these items did not constitute pornography. But when their search for actual pornography had turned up nothing but a bunch of heterosexual adult magazines, their only alternative, as stated previously in Part 1, was to seize any items that could be construed as possible “grooming material.” However, the jury didn’t buy that argument when these items were presented in 2005, and it is a lame argument that doesn’t hold up any better under scrutiny today.
So again, we must ask, what can possibly be the motive in attempting to “retry” Michael on these items in the court of public opinion, eleven years after his acquittal and seven years after his death? That is the burning question a lot of people want answers to right now. We can’t afford complacency until we have those answers-not just for the sake of Michael’s musical legacy, but for his children and all artists whose works and reputations are being impacted by the media’s carte blanche attitudes in printing anything they want and running wild with a story without the slightest degree of fact checking.
I will continue combing through these reports; hopefully I should be able to have the next post up sometime this weekend.
In the meantime, I want to continue to urge everyone to please sign these petitions:

Exposing Radar Online’s Secret Shame: The Truth About What Michael Jackson Had (And Didn’t Have) In His Bedroom-Pt 2

What Michael Kept "In The Closet"...Is Maybe Not All That Sensational.
What Michael Kept “In The Closet”…Is Maybe Not All That Sensational.

In the time since I posted Part 1 of this series late on Friday, the focus throughout social media has been largely about Radar Online’s tomfuckery in falsifying the documents they claimed as “official” police documents in the original story they dropped on June 20th. My purpose in Part 1 was mainly to provide a broad overview of the story and to rebut the sensationalistic media claims that these were “new” or “recently unearthed” reports; secondly. to remind readers that there was nothing in those original reports that ever stated child pornography had been found at Neverland-a statement that was signed off by both the defense and prosecution, as well as Judge Melville. From there, I touched briefly on how Radar Online had faked a lot of the information and was making grossly exaggerated claims about the items that were in the authentic reports.

Late Friday, just as i had posted Part 1, the crap really started to fly when Canadian artist Jonathan Hobin reached out to the media to let the world know that one of the photographs Radar Online had falsely inserted as “evidence” of Michael’s “sick and twisted, disturbing stockpile” of sexually graphic images featuring children was, in fact, part of Hobin’s well known collection titled In the Playroom. It is, in fact, an art book of photographs for which the theme is the depiction of children who have been victims of violent crimes. It is a collection that uses “shock art” as a call to social awakening of what is happening to children in our modern society. Further research revealed that the media has covered this collection and its author quite extensively. There were stories on Vice.com as well as an extensive write-up for The Huffington Post by Priscilla Frank in 2013-yes, the same Huffington Post who jumped on the MJ story bandwagon and repeated verbatim Radar Online’s lies that an image from this collection supposedly was included as part of Michael’s “stockpile” of “disturbing images.”

Yet here is what Huffington Post wrote of Jonathan Hobin’s book in 2013:

Although generally childhood is portrayed as a time of innocence and bliss, the reality is often far more sinister. Photographer Jonathan Hobin captures our childhood fascinations with the darkest aspects of adult life in his polarizing series “In The Playroom.” The series recreates disturbing historical moments such as the attacks on September 11, 2001 and JonBenét Ramsey’s death. We reached out to Hobin to learn more…

Note that the JonBenet Ramsey photo is clearly mentioned here, which means The Huffington Post as well as other media outlets were clearly aware of this photo’s origins as part of an art collection.

Jonathan Hobin's Photo "American Idol" was falsely identified as a photo in MJ's collection at the time of the 2003 raid of Neverland
Jonathan Hobin’s Photo “American Idol” was falsely identified as a photo in MJ’s collection at the time of the 2003 raid of Neverland

But the real clincher is that Hobin’s book wasn’t even published until 2008! So this book was not possibly something Michael Jackson could have even owned in 2003 when the raid of Neverland took place!

This same photo was featured as part of a Huffington Post slideshow of Hobin’s work in 2013-there was no mention then of it being anything other than a work of art!

Hobin has tried to reach out to the media to spread the truth about the photo and its origins. So far, I don’t know if anyone has taken him up.

Im the artist of the infamous photo. Who wants the real story? via

hobin tweet

 

But interestingly, as soon as Hobin spoke out-and as soon as other media outlets began circulating that Radar Online had faked at least a portion of the documents-the original 88 page document Radar Online had posted suddenly lost 27 pages overnight, shrinking to a mere 61 pages. This is clearly a case of track covering! With no retraction and no formal apology forthcoming, the gesture of merely removing these blatantly falsified images and documents means nothing.  They created the damage by putting this fake crap out there in the first place-now that they’ve been caught, they are trying to cover it up.

And to make matters worse, now that the spotlight has been placed on how Radar Online falsified official police reports. they and their cohorts have merely created another diversion, one that is far more disturbing since it involves unfounded speculations about Michael’s own children and nephews. If this isn’t the ultimate in defamation, I don’t know what is! I do know that it’s time it has to stop; this feeding frenzy has gotten so crazy that anyone, it seems, can make up anything they want about Michael or his family-or his children (one of which, let’s not forget, is still a minor!) and have it printed by media outlets who will never bother fact checking the story. In fact, it’s scarier than that. One can truly speculate anything they want, and in so doing, create an atmosphere where people will believe it is fact. What they are doing is creating a lot of smoke to cover up the fact that there is no fire. It’s an old media tactic, but unfortunately, one that often has the desired effect.

Anyway, I guess I am allowing my anger to get me sidetracked and ahead of myself. What I intended with this series was to rebut Radar Online’s claims with what I know to be true about the Michael Jackson case and what was found (as well as what was not)-to separate truth from sensationalized fiction. And the best way to do that is just to go straight through the documents, addressing each item or issue as it appears. I will be basing this, obviously, on the original 88 page document which Radar Online has since deleted-not because I wish to further sensationalize their fabrications, but because I think it is important that everyone knows what they tried to get away with (I don’t think it was because they honestly didn’t think they would be caught; more like they just wanted to see how much and for long they could milk the story before the truth did  catch up). The fact we must keep uppermost in mind when reviewing these materials is that many of these items had already gone through one round of misinterpretations and attempts to view them out of the context of their original intent-remember, the prosecution was trying hard to build a case for them as “possible” grooming materials since they had no actual evidence on which to build their case. Radar Online (as well as Vanity Fair and others) then merely added another layer of sensationalism to what was already, in many cases, gross misrepresentations of these items. It has also been reported by sharp-eyed fans that many of the “fake” images obtained from internet sources carried identifying information pinpointing them back to Wade Robson’s and Jimmy Safechuck’s attorneys. You will be seeing this as we move through the documents and come upon the faked images.

Here is the first page of the document:

RO-report-88-pages (2) (1)

The first three pages, as noted, are missing so the document essentially picks up with page 3.  (Updated: You can find a discussion of the content of those missing pages here). The first item being discussed is Item #507, a drawing made on notebook paper of a boy in a circle. There were some apparent impressions made onto the paper by someone writing on a sheet of paper that had been on top of it, but nothing could be determined as far as what the writings may have been. However, anyone familiar with Michael’s art style knows that this sounds very typical of the types of drawings he liked to do. Many of his sketches have been seen publicly (many are available at a glance with a quick Google search) and we can see that, typically, Michael liked to draw self portraits of himself as a child, other famous figures and cartoon characters, or scenes that in some way evoke the essence of childhood. Below are some very typical examples of his art work:

mjdrawing2

mjdrawing1

 

mjdrawing3

mjdrawing4

 

mjdrawing6

It is very obvious, then, that the drawing described could have been very typical in style and content to any of the above. Notably, nothing further is inferred about the drawing other than that it would need to be “forensically processed” in order to read the latent writings. Translation: They knew they were wasting time even taking up space talking about it, as it was just a drawing of a boy sitting in a circle (interestingly, this could have been one of Michael’s many self portraits depicting himself in the spotlight, but without actually seeing it, it’s hard to say. All I know for certain is that, being familiar with Michael’s style and the types of subjects he liked to depict in his artwork, this is typical).

Moving on:

Next described is a book found in the arcade room, The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes. The report describes it as a book about adolescents and the counterculture, with “some” pictures featuring apparently adult individuals “with no clothing, or in a state of partial dress.”

I did a little further research on this book (which frankly wasn’t hard-a quick Google search is usually is all the detective work that is required, since these were and still are perfectly legal art books) and found out that the entire project was part of an Italian art exhibition that opened in Florence in January of 2003. The project’s purpose, as stated on the pittidiscovery website was:

“an opportunity for reflection on the increasing importance of teenage tribes in our society. A society where the obsolesence of concepts of sexual and demographic identity reflects social changes in progress in a violent, contradictory manner. The fourth sex belongs to adolescents. A sexually indefinite moment, in which gender ambiguity prevails. Adolescents are not boys or girls and not yet men or women. They belong to a parallel, fluid universe, in a state of becoming. They are closely connected to the present, yet symbolically contain the seeds of future.

Adolescence is not just a phase of passage in human life, it also is a mental state, an existential condition with an overwhelming impact on lifestyles and trends. Adolescents are omnivorous, tireless consumers, distracted but also attentive, easily persuadable but also independent. Adolescents do not want to be well-balanced, they love extremes in everything: from fashion to art to music…

Unbalanced between the present and the future, adolescents appear to us as both agitated and strangely passive. They may give form to their world in an aggressive way, but at the same time they are also forced to come to terms with the labels, the judgments and  the formulae of the adult world.

Observed and studied by experts of all kinds, monitored in their behavior patterns, adolescents represent a decisive segment in the strategy of consumption. They adore clothes and music. They want to be cool at all costs. Fashion watches the teenage universe closely both as a source of inspiration and as a crucial target group, while contemporary art explores, exploits and analyzes the myth of the eternal adolescent. From the rebellion of the historical avantgardes, through the counterculture of the Sixties, to the doubts and uncertainties of Generation X, contemporary art has treated adolescence as an indispensable point of reference, coming to grips with its radical gestures, its violations and impatience.

The exhibition The fourth sex. Adolescent Extremes observes and portrays the restless territory of teenagers :an incredible resource of creative energy. The show lights a series of emotional fires where ideas meet and derail in new constellations of meaning. The materials in the show reflect the complex universe of contemporary culture: fashion, communications, art, music, cinema… The themes are many, and inevitably touch some of the nerve centers of our society. Talking about adolescence doesn’t only mean the subject of young people, but it also means talking about their restless relationship with the adult world. This doesn’t only mean representing the positive energies of this age group, but also exploring the insecurities and fears that can lead to terrible, extreme gestures. 

The two curators, Francesco Bonami and Raf Simons, intend to construct an exhibition that is itself an expression of the languages of adolescence, mixing expressive codes and disciplines. Drawing inspiration from the multiplicity of the languages of teenagers, The fourth sex will be a space in which different ideas and trends release, transforming the show into a place of encounter and dissemination.
The exhibition, installed at Stazione Leopolda by a group of young architects, the Cliostraats, sheds light on the strength, weakness and promises of the fourth sex. The book/catalogue offers a variegated montage not only of the images in the show, but also of supplementary iconographic materials, such as images from art, fashion, teenage icons, legendary films. The volume is also an anthology of the most interesting writings on the theme of adolescence, in which a mixture of poetry, literature, current events, journalism and essays, give form and color to all the contradictions and ambiguities of an unhappy age we will never regret.

After wasting considerable space to describe the book, the report clearly states: “None of the material within this book would meet the legal requirements to be considered child pornography.”  Get used to hearing that phrase; it’s one that’s going to crop up with just about every item described! The only thing they could try to claim is that such items could be used for grooming material. This, again, is going to come up a lot because, remember, it was all they had to go on and the prosecution was trying desperately to build a case on this!

Well, this is as much as I’m going to have time to post today, but I will continue on Wednesday to take you through both the real and “imagined” journey of Michael Jackson’s “stockpiled” porn. Sorry, though, if it isn’t as titillating as the tabloid accounts. Truth seldom is.

In the meantime, here is a cool rebuttal video that’s starting to go viral. Share it and make it go viral some more!

And don’t forget to sign:

“We’ve Had Enough” – An appeal to the fan community to take a stand against slanderous tabloids.

Read Firpo Carr’s statements rebutting Radar Online as well! This is in two parts. He gives an excellent example of how innocent items that didn’t even belong to MJ were entered as “evidence”!

http://firpocarr.com/firpofiles0625a2016.html

http://firpocarr.com/firpofiles0625b2016.html