Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Showbiz Casualty
Could The King of Pop's Downfall Have Been Prevented?
A little bit of everything has been written about Michael Jackson both in the fifty years he spent with us, as well as in the eleven years he’s been gone; everything from an alleged attempted purchase of the Elephant Man’s bones, sleeping in a hypobaric chamber, and the worst of them all, accusations of pedophilia. Where the latter differs dramatically from the former, is the truth that there is little to no real evidence when you run through the facts of the allegations with a fine toothed comb. So, why did allegations of pedophilia even come up you might ask? How did it get as far as becoming public and open to media scrutiny? How did it all come to the point where there was even a trial? And how did all of this ultimately, lead to Michael Jackson’s death? Much of this is speculation, my own personal opinion, with all the information that is out for the public to see. All I can hope with writing this, is you’ll let it sit in your head for a while, make up your own minds, rather than have the story the media has tried to brainwash you with cloud your judgement.
In the early 90s, Michael Jackson met a young man named Jordan (or Jordie) Chandler, who was in the middle of a bitter custody battle with his parents June and Evan. When Michael came into their lives, completely by accident, with his car breaking down and Jordan’s stepfather owning a tow yard, this was a boy who adored Michael Jackson, and got the chance of a life time, to be in his company, and over time, became his friend. By the time Michael met this young man, he had achieved great success musically, won eight Grammys for his album “Thriller” which still holds the title of the top selling album of all time. While one would think this level of success would make anyone happy, it didn’t make Michael happy, not in the ways he might have desired, on a subconscious level at least. While Michael was strange without question when you put him beside the average Joe, while he did do things that weren’t always appropriate; one has to consider how this man grew up, what he was exposed to from a young age, and how this kind of upbringing doesn’t create a pedophile but creates a man with a desperate desire to please everyone he can.
From the age of five, Michael Jackson was built for the world of entertainment. By a father who longed for a music career of his own, but never got the chance due to different life circumstances getting in the way of this dream, who ruled over his children with an iron fist. While this kind of disciplinary action towards children wasn’t uncommon during the time when Michael Jackson was a child, it didn’t make the actions of his father any less traumatic. Michael’s father hit him with belts, ironing cords, “whatever was around”, in Michael’s own words. For the rest of his life, Michael lived in fear, whether he was aware of it or not. There’s not a doubt in my mind that Michael loved his father, and that his father Joseph loved him, though they may not have expressed it in any traditional father and son way. What I also don’t doubt, is the events of his childhood, followed Michael for the rest of his life. It followed him in how he was a perfectionist with his music, with his dancing; practicing for hours on end in front mirrors, and making sounds with his mouth to create the base hooks for songs. These childhood events also followed him when it came to how he viewed himself. He never liked how he looked, based on the insults thrown at him by his father. That his nose was too big and things of that nature, enough to make him never want to look at himself in pictures, despite keeping many pictures of him with his family in his home. This, combined with medical issues such as Lupus and Vitiligo, created a person with someone who, while he might not have shared it with most people, believed he was a monster, and doing this all in the public eye, with many adults around him always wanting something from him; this created a person with a heavy need to please, thinking this might give him love.
This, in my opinion, is why he often had children around him. Children never wanted things from him the way adults would. Children are honest, and unconditional with their actions. This was what made his meeting Jordan Chandler the biggest tragedy. Jordan Chandler was a boy from a broken home, with a father who had had very little interest in his son, at least until his son met Michael Jackson.
Evan Chandler was a man who worked as a dentist, who had many complaints over botched jobs, accusations of assaulting a patient, and at the time Jordan met Michael in the early 90s owed thousands of dollars in unpaid child support. He also wanted to be a screenwriter, gaining one credit under his belt for “Men in Tights”. When his son met Michael Jackson, he saw his opportunity to make a lot of money, perhaps get a script picked up, and all it would take to make it happen were his self-proclaimed skills as a story teller.
What began as a friendship with a family became the event that would change the way the world saw Michael Jackson, and change everything about his life from that moment forward.
Beautifully put together in the documentary film “Square One” which is now available to be seen on PrimeVideo, are all the facts that would lead to the infamous settlement Michael Jackson made with his first accuser. Facts which to this day, leave me baffled that any of it was allowed to happen at all.
In my personal opinion, Michael Jackson was the victim one of the most insidious extortion attempts of all time. One that involved endless negations between Evan Chandler, Chandlers lawyers, as well as Michael Jackson and his own legal team. All over the dollar amount, rather than any real crimes that had actually taken place. Had a crime actually taken place, had there been evidence that a crime had actually taken place; Michael Jackson would have been charged with these alleged crimes in 1993. This didn’t happen though. What did happen was the civil suit taking place before a criminal trial, right away preventing any hope of Michael Jackson having the fair trial he had every right to. The reason being, in a civil suit, everything is more or less laid out for the opposing party to see, therefore making any changes to their own case before going up to bat. This is the reason in California there’s the criminal trial, followed by the civil suit, to prevent any possibilities of unfairness. This was the event which would lead to the settlement. Michael Jackson’s hands were tide. Either he paid Evan Chandler, make him go away, and more likely than not cast a shadow of doubt over himself; or he would go to trial, and end up in prison since the other side has been given all the opportunity to create an airtight case with the facts from the civil suit in hand. Any defense Michael might have had would have been scrutinized and would have left him with nothing to defend himself.
This decision, Michael Jackson would always regret for the doubt people then had towards him. When you consider what he was dealing with during the ordeal with Chandler, there would have been no way of winning, in any way shape or form.
This left him vulnerable to future accusers, which would lead to the trial of 2005. The trial being a trial only because California didn’t allow a civil suit to precede the criminal trial, despite what the mother of that particular accuser had wanted.
In the end, Michael was acquitted though he was then treated as a pariah, slipped deeper into prescription drug addiction, which would all ultimately lead to his untimely death, which was followed months later, by Evan Chandler’s suicide, an event I personally don’t see as a coincidence.
Could any of this have been prevented?
It’s hard to say. It’s a possibility. Had there been anyone willing to look at this entire situation a little closer before it came out to the media maybe no one would have known about it; however, being Evan Chandler came out with the worst accusation anyone could receive, chances are all these events were unavoidable.
What can we learn from this story?
What we can learn is how we look at the stories the media tends to push. The uglier the story, the higher ratings, and the higher the sales, regardless of whether or not the story is true. That much can be said about all the events surroundings Michael Jackson. There was only a witch hunt, rather than professional, objective reporting or news coverage. We need to learn from this, especially in the age of social media that things are not always as they appear, and how the result of not looking a little deeper can result in fatal consequences.