As an unashamed Michael Jackson obsessive, one question I get asked more than any other, more than what is my favourite song or album, is: What if he did it?
The question is always phrased in this way, in an ambiguous fashion but I know exactly what they’re trying to say.But I like to fuck with people so I always answer: did what?
There is a very interesting Danish film called The Hunt, where a man is falsely accused of sexually abusing his best friends daughter and his life comes crashing down as a result (here is my review). The main message the film gets across is that the accusation alone is enough to condemn someone and ruin their reputation. It doesn’t matter if that person is then proven to be innocent of the crimes, the stain will always remain and I think this is what has happened to Michael Jackson. For many, he will always be a paedophile and a child abuser, regardless of what happened in the 2005 trials. To some extent this is understandable, simply because this is human nature (no pun intended).
My view is actually very simple, I don’t think Michael was a paedophile and I don’t think he was a child abuser simply because he was put to trial and acquitted. Also if you read about the Jordan Chandler case, it is a lot more complicated than anyone gives it credit for – from both the pro and anti-Michael Jackson side. Something about the Chandler affair does smell fishy and I personally think the stench comes from the Evan Chandler camp rather than from the pop singers.
Most of the time this answer is not enough for some – most want to know how I would feel if during my lifetime it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Michael Jackson did indeed abuse children and was a paedophile. The answer to this question is actually very simple – I’d be devastated. I’d be angry and devastated. Let me put it like this, I think Gary Glitter made a handful of very dope music but I simply don’t listen to any of it anymore – I don’t want to support a man like that and I simply don’t want him to profit from my actions. The problem with Michael is that I listen to a hell of a lot of his music and the thought of songs like Billie Jean, Smooth Criminal and I can’t help it being sullied by such accusations actually makes me sick – and sad. Michael Jackson is a huge part of my culture identity and such a revelation would totally destroy part of what makes me who I am.
But in my heart of hearts I really do think this man was innocent of the crimes he was actually proven innocent of. This was one of those (sadly rare cases where if there was anything to the accusations it would be in the victims and parents best interests to come forward as they would be believed, by the police and large part of the general public.
I think this whole conversation does stem from the fact that Michael was extraordinarily popular – I think people underestimate just how so. Even at the time of his death, Michael Jackson was probably the most recognisable person in the world. And unlike most celebrities, little was known about Michael Jackson’s personal life. Let me be specific, little was known about Michael Jackson’s sex life. And I think this bothered a lot of people and this is why these accusations make sense to some – And I understand the need to make sense of Michael Jackson.