Friday, June 14, 2024

The Michael Jackson Vultures Circle June 25th for 1st Attack


The vultures around Michael Jackson have circled June 25th–the first anniversary of his death– for their first attacks.

That’s the day Ian Halperin, sleazy tabloid muckracker, airs his “Gone Too Soon” film on the TV Guide Network. Halperin has already feasted on Michael Jackson‘s remains with a book last year. Now he comes with an editorial film in which he interviews the D list from the Jackson outer circle about their knowledge of Jackson’s life. It will be interesting to see how he handles not having Jackson’ s music in his film, let alone the people who really knew him. Expect much heavy weighing in from the illustrious Tohme R. Tohme.

Even better: June 25th is also launch date for a, ahem, book by Leonard Rowe, erstwhile concert promoter. Rowe was in cahoots with Joseph Jackson  before Michael died to try and wrest control of the London “This Is It” concerts from AEG Live. Rowe and Jackson actually called this reporter a few weeks prior to Michael’s passing, thinking they could enlist my help in this effort. I essentially hung up on them. For a short time, Rowe wormed his way into Michael’s good graces before he was fired. Yes, Rowe was fired in writing by Michael Jackson. Now he wants to sell his side of the story.

The self published “What Really Happened to Michael Jackson, King of Pop” looks like it’s a hoot. On Rowe’s website he’s already given away the introduction. Rowe basically accuses AEG Live of killing Michael. My favorite of his assertions is that “not many people knew that Michael owned 50% of Sony’s entire catalog.” Uh, Leonard, I don’t think there’s a Sherpa in Nepal who doesn’t know that whole story. This is not exactly a revelation.

rowe writes: “I was also trying my best to fight what I perceived to be the evil that was surrounding him at that time.” He says: “In my opinion, AEG had a contract with Michael that was nothing less than a cocked financial gun pointed to his head.  It is my belief that he was being totally exploited.”

Indeed, the only people who certainly intended to exploit Michael Jackson were Leonard Rowe and his partner, Joseph Jackson. These two have their own long history. Joe Jackson actually sued Rowe in the 80s over a Jacksons tour. Not only that, but Rowe is an ex-con. He also lost a lawsuit brought against him as a concert promoter by R. Kelly and was ordered to pay $3.4 million. He also had to pay NeYo $700,000.

In Rowe launched a lawsuit against the William Morris Agency, CAA and other group claiming racism as the reason he couldn’t promote more concerts. On December 30, 2005 ,after losing the case and appealing it, Rowe was finally crushed by a federal appeals court judge. A year earlier, another judge, finding for the defendants, wrote: “plaintiffs raised no genuine issue of material fact and that no rational trier of fact could find for plaintiffs on any of the myriad of claims made in this action.”

According to one report: “Rowe spent time in federal prison in the early 90’s for being convicted of wire fraud for his role in the cashing of a fraudulent insurance check. He has had multiple arrests for writing bad checks.”

Stay tuned because the lunacy has only just begun. There’s word that Brian Oxman, representing Joseph Jackson, wants to file a wrongful death suit against AEG Live. And he is going to accuse AEG of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act, saying that they knew he was a drug addict. To paraphrase Michael Jackson, “I got to be there” when these actions are filed, just to see the looks on the faces of the court clerks.

Oxman was disciplined by the California State Supreme Court last December, for the second time in a dozen years. He was fired by Tom Mesereau, Jackson’s criminal attorney, for among other things falling asleep in court during Jackson’s child molestation trial.

Here’s a story I wrote in 2005 about Oxman getting fired.,2933,154573,00.html

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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