Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana. With the help, encouragement, and guidance of his father, Michael Jackson’s career in music started at the age of 5. Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, was a stay-at-home mum and a staunch Jehovah’s Witness. His father, Joseph Jackson, was a guitarist who put his musical aspirations on the back burner to provide for his family as a crane operator. Behind the scenes, Joseph pushed his sons to be successful. He also used a lot of corporal punishment on them whenever they refused to heed his instructions. Michael Jackson was one of ten children; nine Jackson siblings, including Rebbie Jackie, Tito, La Toya, Jermaine, Randy, Janet, and Marlon, all left a significant mark in the music industry. In its entirety, this paper will give a small autobiography of Michael Jackson, with a specific focus on the allegations charges that he faced.
Michael Jackson is among the most renowned artists the world over for his impeccable dance moves, voice, and song lyrics that moved the masses not just because they were entertaining but also because they introduced themes that stirred meaningful conversations long overdue. From songs such as thriller to They don’t Care About Us, Michael Jackson’s creativity was structural and groundbreaking such that they challenged racial boundaries and revolutionized the music industry simultaneously. Undoubtedly, Michael Jackson’s extraordinary talent as a performer drew admirers from all over the world, resulting in several of the best-selling albums of all time and establishing him as a genius. For such a known public figure, even the slightest allegations have the potential of scandal that can take years, even decades, to settle. Such are among the legacies of Michael Jackson since he was accused of allegedly assaulting a thirteen-year-old Gavin Arvizo at his Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California. He faced numerous accusation charges of childhood molestation that created controversy to his death. The accusations took the entire world aback. Crowds of supporters gathered outside the courthouse as the allegations became a pop culture phenomenon. Naturally, such allegation leads to more questions elongating the scandal. More than a decade later, this scandal that coasted the singer his reputation and brought him to the spotlight is still controversial and stirs the question this discourse seeks an answer; whether these claims hold any truth.
It is no doubt that Michael Jackson faced several criminal charges at his death, including molesting a thirteen-year-old boy whose identity was revealed in the documentary “Leaving Neverland” released by HBO shortly after his death. In the allegations, he is stated to befriend young children, gaining the trust of their families and later assaulting them. A series of investigations brought to light several cases of boys close to him, including young James Safechuck, who appeared in a Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson in 1986. According to Safechuck, Jackson gained his trust by lavishing him with gifts, including his jacket, as he made the Thriller video (Tsioulcas, 2019). Other molested children backed this claim stating that the musician first befriended them, and he did this by luring them with enticing presents and eventually seduced them. According to Chuck, during one of his vacations, Michael first asked to sleep with him on his (Michael’s) bed. Investigations against Michel Jackson, a beloved musician of many, began officially in August 1993 by the Los Angeles Police department.
Among the possibly molested children were Chuck and another thirteen-year-old boy aforementioned above. The musician was accused of targeting boys from humble backgrounds since his enticement style attracted them emotionally and later demanded sex from them. Even though the accusation happened publicly and clarified the sexual misconduct, it was later settled in court. Moreover, a family member with a child only identified as Jamie is also filed a lawsuit against Michael Jackson alleging sexual battery. On December 8, the same year, at a press conference, La Toya, Jackson’s estranged sister, strengthened these claims stating that Jackson made lump-sum payments to several families in checks; hence allegations were true. “Michael is my brother…” she states, “But I cannot, and I will not be a silent collaborator of his crimes against small, innocent children.” (Tsioulcas, 2019).
Nevertheless, the case was settled out of court with team Jackson claiming that these allegations were a plot to extort 20 million dollars from the musicians. Even so, a report released later in 2004 claimed that he settled these allegations for even more than that (McDonell-Parry, 2019). This stance further worsened Jackson’s prospects of maintaining his image. Ergo, as history would have it, the first 2003 allegations and accusations were not the end of his molestation scandals.
The year 2003 saw Michael Jackson prepare himself to face child molestation charges that saw him face a warrant of arrest. Even though the 2003 allegations saw him acquitted two years later, Michael Jackson suffered dire consequences not just in his reputation; his finances and music career, in general, suffered a great hit in general. By this time, his reputation was already considered damaged. It was even made worse when he was seen dangling his infant child over the balcony as he greeted his fans in the same year. He later confessed that he made a “terrible mistake” and never intentionally placed his children in danger.
Nevertheless, his actions spiked controversy, and he was no longer regarded as a famous musician but was instead considered the curiosity of all news platforms (Billone 2017). To clear up the air, Michael Jackson allowed a British crew to have a taste of his life in a show that was dubbed, ‘Living with Michael Jackson.’ However, the show filmed by Martin Bashir, a British journalist, mainly dedicated significant airing time to Michael Jacksons’ relationship with Gavin Arvizo, a young cancer patient visiting the Neverland Ranch with his family for three years. As he described to the journalist, tucking in his young visitors was not sexual. “It is very charming and delightful” (McDonell-Parry, 2019). This documentary and these other factors caused a renewed outrage from the viewers and sparked novel interest in his sexual abuse allegations. The prosecution raised four counts against him; molesting a minor, intoxicating a minor, abducting a minor, and holding hostage one of the victims together with their parents. The holding hostage had taken place in his ranch, the Neverland Ranch. In 2005, Michael decided between permanently leaving the United States. Michael decided to relocate to the Persian Gulf Nation located in Bahrain. He decided to keep off from the United States, but he eventually returned in June the same year, restricted from accessing his ranch. He had lost authority and ownership of the ranch because of the criminal charges that surrounded him at the time. The charges against him saw him make significant losses regarding his financial abilities, where he lost tremendous wealth and properties (Stiegler 2017). The struggles that came with the controversy surrounding him saw him get to a point where he shut himself off from the media.
From the court’s ruling, the claims of Michael Jackson as a sex offender are nullified. Nevertheless, his claims as a sexual offender followed him to his death and indeed caused a tremendous fall in his reputation. Michael Jackson was accused of molesting young boys, which he denied. He was held in different counts, and all of them rotated around the lives of the minors he had been in contact with at some point in his life. Even though Michael Jackson’s trust continues to deny the allegations, claiming potential extortion plots by the families of the minors, the evidence that has been building up for years since 2003 was first to be too enormous to dismiss. However, most of it appeared invalid when the witnesses made controversial statements, some denying the allegations while others even praising the singer and his art. His sister, claiming her husband had forced her to make the accusatory statements, also withdrew her claims that Jackson abused and molested young children. In June 2005, after two years of salacious testimony and dramatic court moments, the jury delivered their verdict over the matter, finding Jackson not guilty of the allegations made against them.
Billone, A. C. (2017). sentenced to Neverland: Michael Jackson, peter pan, and Queer Futurity. In Michael Jackson (pp. 39-50). Routledge.
McDonell-Parry, A. (2019, January 29). Michael Jackson Child Sexual Abuse Allegations: A Timeline. Rolling Stone; Rolling Stone. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/michael-jackson-child-sexual-abuse-allegations-timeline-785746/
Stiegler, Z. (2017). remember always to think twice: the reconciliation of Michael Jackson. In Michael Jackson (pp. 207-221). Routledge.
Tsioulcas, A. (2019). Michael Jackson: A Quarter-Century Of Sexual Abuse Allegations. Npr.org. org/2019/03/05/699995484/michael-jackson-a-quarter-century-of-sexual-abuse-allegations“>https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/699995484/michael-jackson-a-quarter-century-of-sexual-abuse-allegations.