Sunday, April 14, 2024

Michael Jackson’s Father Wants to Open Neverland Style Hotels


Imagine my surprise to run into Joseph Jackson this week in Cannes. We knew he was going to be around, promoting various schemes. But he showed up at Sean Penn’s J/PHRO charity dinner for Haiti at the Carlton Hotel with quite a gang in tow: he’s doing business with Michael Jackson’s one time, problematic manager Dieter Wiesner. And he’s also found wealthy patrons who don’t speak English too well and probably are unaware of his unusual history.

With these new partners, to whom Joseph introduced me, Michael Jackson’s dad is going to start something called the Happy Land Resort: A Jackson Neverland Themed Resort World Wide. Lost on these folks is the news that Happy Land was a New York disco where dozens of people once died. But hey, they know what they’re doing. I met a lovely older woman named Phan Thi Phuong Thao, who wore a beautiful black robed gown that was embroidered heavily with silver and gold. She’s the Chairman of the Board, and obviously quite smitten with Joe Jackson. She doesn’t speak English.

My hat is off to Joe Jackson.

I did ask Joe if he’d seen his famous daughter, Janet. She was also in town, staying with Roberto Cavalli on his boat. It was Janet’s birthday on Monday, but Joe told me: “We don’t celebrate birthdays.” When I asked if he’d seen her, he replied: “No, but tell her I said hello if you do.” Will do!

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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