- Entertainment and Media
Michael Jackson: Peter Pan or pervert?
The King of Pop
What will the King of Pop be remembered as?
Five months after Michael Jackson's death, Evan Chandler shot himself in the head. He was, as most of the world knows, the father of Jordy, the 13 year old boy who befriended Jackson during the early nineties. He also accused Jackson of molesting his son. Evan Chandler did not survive his gunshot wound and his demise prompted two polar reactions. On the one hand diehard Jackson fans spat "Good riddance!" as they deemed Evan Chandler a cash hungry brutalist who initiated Jackson's fall from grace and arguably his early death. At the other extreme there are those, particularly in the press, who laud Chandler as just a father trying to bring a pervert to justice.
One such example was featured in The Daily Mail. David Jones wrote of Chandler as being, " a respectable and affluent dentist" who "first exposed the King of Pop as a common paedophile." The Daily Mirror painted him as a loving father, who only "wanted justice."
Evan Chandler's Not So Perfect Past
In reality, Evan had a history of professional mishaps whilst working reluctantly in the family profession as a dentist. In 1978 he had his license revoked after he was found guilty of "gross ignorance and/or inefficiency" after he did restoration work for one of his patients on sixteen teeth in one sitting.
A year before Jackson came into his son’s life, one of his patients sued him for dental negligence after he did restoration work on some of her teeth. Chandler claimed that the woman had signed a consent form in which she’d acknowledged the risks involved. But when Edwin Zinman, her attorney, asked to see the original records, Chandler said they had been stolen from his Jaguar. He provided a duplicate set. Zinman, suspicious, was unable to verify the authenticity of the records.
Chandler was dissatisfied with being a dentist and had aspirations to be a screenwriter, having enjoyed some success with the screenplay for the comedy film "Men In Tights" which he is alleged to have written with Jordy. He was desperate to make it in Hollywood and is acknowledged as having stars in his eyes. They must have been out on stalks when Michael jackson befriended his son.
And far from being the doting father he owed his ex-wife June Chandler thousands of dollars in child maintenance and had been estranged from his son when Jackson first came on the scene. He was also cited as having a violent temper by his Jordy's mother.
His Plan to Bring Jackson Down
After at first being friendly with Jackson, he grew to dislike his friendship with his son. He said he was suspicious of Michael's interest in Jordy, who was sleeping on occasion in Jackson's room, something which the popstar has always admitted to doing with children.
He was also jealous of Jordy's regard for Jackson at his own father's expense. To extract a confession of inappropriate behaviour from his son, who had always denied any wrong-doing from Jackson, he had a drug (Sodium Amytal) administered on Jordy while having he was having a tooth extracted. Sodium Amytal is proven to illicit false memories and evan asked his son, some leading questions about his relationship with Jackson to which Jordy groggily agreed with. Dr. John Yagiela, the coordinator of the anesthesia and pain control department of UCLA’s school of dentistry, adds, “It’s unusual for it (Sodium Amytal) to be used [for pulling a tooth]. It makes no sense when better, safer alternatives are available. It would not be my choice.” Sodium Amytal is essentially a psychiatric drug used for amnesia patients, but has been proven to unreliable.
However, Chandler got the "evidence" that he craved and then hired "the nastiest son of a bitch in town", lawyer Barry Rothman. The rest is history but as Chandler vowed, his intent "was to bring him (Jackson) down. I win". The case then all became about money. Chandler is on record as saying his son's welfare "was irrelevant."
Jordy himself in his transcript to the police does not seem particularly convincing. If you remove the horror factor of the allegations and the fact that he was only a teenage boy it seems that he was vague and coached, which is highly possible considering his dad moved the boy in with him, getting a court order disallowing him to go and live with his mother.
Jackson had hundreds of children both boys and girls stay at him with Neverland. He has raised millions for childrens charities and set up the Heal the World Foundation. Since as long ago as 1983 he professed his love of children. He said that he "could not live without children" and "'One of my favourite pastimes is being with children,' he explained. "When I'm tired or bored, children revive me."
At the same time as surrounding himself with children he reverted back to a childhood that he has so often being quoted as missing out on. He indulged in toys, Disney figures, fairgrounds and the belief that he was Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. He repeatedly watched "ET" and cried, identifying himself with the doomed alien. He lived in a fantasy world and to many may have seemed a bit odd, but before the Jordy Chandler case, Jackson was never really seen as sinister or perverted. He had never had a sexual relationship with a woman but this was more of a reaffirmation of his shyness and childlike ways. Even the suspicions that he was gay never really took off as he was never linked with a man either. He was an innocent, a big kid. To his voice coach Seth Riggs, he was just a 'natural, loving person' who went gaga over kids.
But hang on a minute, doesn't that also fit the profile of a paedophile? That was the drift in opinion when Evan Chandler made his accusations. What followed was quite a lurid account of what Jackson was alleged to have done. None, interestingly involved full sex. It is interesting because this could have actually been proved.
Nobody else could corroborate Jordie Chandler's story and there were many kids who had passed through the gates of Neverland. None of them made similar accusations, and the case was weak. There are famous children (grown now) such as Sean Lennon, Macauley Culkin and Mark Ronson who spent a lot of time with Jackson who have denied any impropriety. Macauley Culkin has stated "He was just like a big goofy kid." Sean Lennon, who starred in Jackson's film "Moonwalker" has said "No way is Michael a child abuser. Take it from me. I knew the kids he knew. I would have known if anything funny was going on."
Perhaps Michael had the loyalty of these youngsters. Or, maybe he was innocent. The issues were never aired in court. A civil case against Jackson was settled out of court with a settlement reckoned to be about 20 million dollars. Jackson always vehemently denied the allegations and wanted to fight, but as the accusations grew along with salacious press coverage which portrayed Jackson as being guilty, he was growing increasingly mentally fragile and became addicted to painkillers. To settle; is believed to be the on the advice of his lawyers and insurance company. Even his greatest friend actress Elizabeth Taylor urged him to settle, not because she believed in his guilt but was worried about his erratic mental state and deteriorating physical health.
Many people who knew him believe Jackson to be truly childlike and innocent. But as we now know he did have a darker side. He obviously had unresolved issues relating to his father's harsh treatment as a child and his incredible rise to fame as a young boy due to his precocious singing and dancing talents. He had issues with his appearance which lead to what experts believe up to 20 surgical procedures which drastically altered his appearance. He made films about the occult, and alluded to death and drug addiction in his later songs. In his latter years he was in the grips of a shocking addiction to morphine, Demerol and anti- anxiety tablets. It is alleged his corpse was raddled with syringe marks. It is believed that the Chandler case exacerbated his dependency.
After the settlement he got clean and then in 2003 the same old charges of child molestation popped up again, as did his slide back to drug dependency. This time the credibilty of the plaintiffs, the Arviso family was convincingly ripped to shreds in court by Jackson's lawyer Thomas Meserau. The charges really did beggar belief. Why a family would suddenly decide that Michael Jackson started abusing 13 year old cancer patient Gavin Arviso, who appeared with Jackson the now notorious Martin Bashir TV programme "Living with Michael Jackson" one day after it was shown? Especially after Jackson had saved the cancer sufferers life by paying for all his medical expenses.
Jackson was found not guilty of all thirteen charges . The psychologist who interviewed the Arviso children, Dr. Stanley Katz stated that he believed Jackson to be "a regressed ten year old." who didn't really qualify as a paedophile. Many people who were close Jackson believed he had a kind of arrested development- a Peter Pan Complex. Jackson said in the Bashir programme, "I am Peter Pan." The British Medical Association cites such fixation as "powerful, belief resulting from especially traumatic relationships or series of events or experiences, that would be expected from a child....and an underlying cause of emotional disorders. " This, knowing what we do of Jackson does seem more plausible.
It is unfortunate that two counts of child abuse allegations have left doubts about Jackson's attitude towards kids. Newspapers and other sections of the media only seem to want to reaffirm falsehoods. Yes, Jackson was an unconventional man, a genius, an eccentric, an enigma and it seemed that there would be little likelihood that Michael Jackson at any time, would have what most of us know as a "normal life." He was too far gone, had been too rich, too talented, too famous with unresolved issues from his childhood. Does that alone make him a bad person? No, but all this seemed to make him misunderstood and there were a lot of people out there who wanted to exploit this.
The Press out to get Jackson
The whole reporting of both allegations sent the press and in the latter case the police investigation into an unprofessional frenzy of sensationalised headlines and unchecked sources. False witnesses demanded higher and higher amounts of cash for lurid stories. It is interesting that Jackson has repeatedly said that "It was society's problem, not his" if they could not understand his sharing of his bed space with children. He never shied away from this and genuinely seemed to have no clue why it evoked gasps of shock from people. His career slumped and he became a recluse, flitting from home to home with his own three children in tow, until 2009, when his return to the public eye was cut short by his death.
Still, some people will refuse to believe that he was anything other than a sick saddo, but if that is the case why haven't more of these children come forward. A paodophile would have more than two victims surely? I believe that Michael Jackson did love kids in an innocent way inappropriate to pur society's mores and was trapped in a lost world of childhood to compensate for the lack of one in his earlier years. With his humanitarian actions which usually gets ignored by the media I think he did more good than harm when it came to the lives of children.