Home Celebrity All About Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, And Anonymity

In the old days, if you wrote a letter to the editor of your newspaper, your name would be printed. It would also be verified. The letter would be vetted for racist, hate, or inappr0priate language. But the internet has changed all that. The cloak of anonymity means that you can say whatever you like in an email comment to a story on the web. Some sites just allow the comments to appear and deal with problems later. On this site, we monitor and approve the comments before they are posted.

What seems hilarious to me is that some commenters think that writing really terrible things about me will help get them published. It will not. I never signed up for abuse. So think twice before you decide to attack this messenger. Your correspondence will be deleted. Racist, anti-semitic comments, and ad hominen attacks are unacceptable.

I am a little surprised by all the hate directed at Lady Gaga. My reporting of her declining album sales is in no way an indictment of her music, personal style, or opinions. The outpouring of hate doesn’t seem commensurate with the over 1 million albums she has sold in the last few weeks. So she dresses as an egg and wears crazy outfits. This is no reason to express such bitterness. I don’t get it. Maybe she’s overdone it. And certainly the closeness of her sound and gimmicks to Madonna isn’t helping her cause. But Stefani Germanotta is not going away. She has a great voice and can write songs–she really plays that piano. “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” are great records. Maybe it was too much with “Judas.” But Lady Gaga is for real. Once she’s confident enough not to attempt shock all the time, Germanotta should settle down as a serious pop star.

And then there’s Michael Jackson. The 2nd anniversary of his death has brought out all the crazy fans, the people who loved Michael so much –and so unreasonably–that they believe they knew “the truth” about his life, his death and everything in between. This is a weird phenomenon of fandom, but worse with Jackson. It’s extraordinary. Facts never seem to matter to these fans. There’s always some “conspiracy” only they understood. With books coming soon by Frank Cascio (who actually knew Jackson and what was going on) to siblings Jermaine and La Toya–who knew very little, especially in the last five years–we’re just going to see the fan-atics really agitated. Ironically, they’re the same ones who hurt the sales of the “Michael” album. I thought they’d embrace the last music from Michael as a tribute to him. But spurred on by ridiculous claims, Jackson’s fans actually undermined him. And they missed the real treats Michael Jackson left behind for them. I guess it’s true, you only hurt the ones you love.

Finally, Michael’s former manager and publicist, Raymone Bain, had a lot to say to me in emails sent in the middle of the night. Even though the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and other publications reported that Bain had pled guilty to not filing taxes, she’s upset that I reported it. Bain would not explain to me why she hadn’t filed taxes. She wrote:

Roger…I’ve just read your column and my response:
1) As I and my attorneys indicated a couple years back when you first
reported it… I have never spoken to, met with, or had any dealings
with a Jason Cestaro… and what you are reporting, and any
representations he has made regarding me in this regard, holding
myself out as an agent, is a damned lie…you know it, he knows
it,  and you can print this response…I’ve had enough of this…
2) My “being advised”  by you about the loan, etc. “for the first time” is
also a damned lie…months prior to having dinner with you,  I had to issue
a press release announcing that the loan wasn’t called due to
the interest payments not having been made.
In addition, every number, every report, including a blaring headline of
your’s which read, “Michael Jackson Will Lose His Catalog in 2008”
proved inaccurate…including your facts and the numbers you arbitrarily
threw out over the years.
Back in 2004 and 2005 I was a bit coy and on June 10th, exhausted; but,
should have said what I’m saying now…then:  Tom Mesereau nor anyone
else had the authority to fire me based on my Agreement, which was
signed by Michael Jackson…the reason I was flown to Europe a week
or two later by Michael Jackson.  You, and others keep reporting it,
knowing it’s a damned lie.
With regards to my taxes…I pled guilty for failure to file income tax
returns for 2008, period…a misdemeanor.  Let me also say this, also
in response to your column, whatever Michael J.Jackson made in Japan, or anywhere else, would be reflected on
his tax returns…not mine.  You want to see my returns…I want
to see yours.

I’ll say one thing about Bain’s email: if Michael Jackson hadn’t died on June 25, 2009 it’s quite possible he would have lost the Beatles catalog and a lot more. At the time of his death, Neverland was in the hands of Colony Capital, and out of his control. Jackson was deeply in debt. For years he’d refused to do anything sensible to solve his financial problems. He was capricious and disloyal, and often acted out like a spoiled child. He went behind his advisors’ backs and made crazy deals that usually ended with lawsuits and reciminations. It’s only since Jackson died, and sensible decisions could be made, that his estate has partially recovered.  

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29 replies to this post
  1. Actually I think quite a few others said it better, and stood up and declared who they were while doing it.

    The memory of Michael Jackson would be better served in two ways; if journalists and writers stopped to think for one moment how their words perpetuate hearsay and disproven lies, and secondly, if fans could conduct themselves better on the web. The memory of an exceptionally kind and amazing man deserves that much.

    The end.

  2. MJJJusticeProject Inc said it all. I only hope, Mr. Friedman, that you got it. We who have loved and respected Michael Jackson for all of these years have done so for far more than mere glitz and glam. We loved him because he was a remarkable human being who refused to allow hatred and ignorance to cause him to lose sight of his vision which was to heal the world through love and compassion for others less fortunate than himself. I don’t know what he spent on his personal possessions, quite frankly, it’s none of my concern and neither should it be yours. But as has already been stated, and is documented for all who wish to see it , Michael Jackson routinely gave freely of himself and of his wealth to help others. Let the facts speak for themselves. Like it or not, Mr. Friedman, Michael Jackson made history and his legacy, his integrity will stand no matter by what manner one chooses to describe him or his fan’atics.

  3. Perhaps reporters should have spun it differently and shared the benefits of oxygen therapy. It’s all the rage NOW. Jackson was always on the cutting edge of the latest technologies. There’s a facility in my community where anyone can walk in off the street and spend time in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, for a price. As another commenter said, nothing he did was so out of the ordinary. Even sleeping in close proximity to children. It’s the way it was spun. How many thousands of children were helped by Jackson. Why isn’t that story reported? As Sharpton said, Wasn’t nothin weird about your daddy, it was weird what he had to deal with. We need more ‘weird’ people in the world who give more than they take; who refrain from judgment; who inspire; who genuinely care about children and the degradation of the planet.
    Do you know for certain that Jackson planted those stories? Or was it Bob Jones, who did some very questionable things. And once leaked, was it reported accurately? That’s the relevant question.

  4. Shallow response, Roger.

    Of course Jackson knew how to get attention. That’s show biz. The real showman’s image is a tantalizing mix of reality and fantasy, just like the shows he presents. Jackson had a pet chimp that he dressed up and carried with him on tour. Bubbles was cute and people enjoyed looking at him perform and copy human behavior. Jackson is not the first person to have exotic pets. I shudder to think about the pets people keep in their homes today — illegally and a threat to their neighbors. Jackson had a vast property zoned for a mini zoo and a professional staff to care for the animals.

    Nor is he the first to be interested in the fountain of youth. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide — and a fantasy we all chase to one degree or another. Nothing Jackson actually did or said about himself compared to the horrors the tabloid press invented about him and conned a credulous public into believing for decades. Moreover, the profit-chasing gossipmongers are still at it — two years after the man died. Keep the Wacko Jacko myth alive while Michael Jackson’s humanity recedes into memory.

    Moreover, the flamboyant, tasteless, vulgar, reckless, in-your-face excesses routinely practiced by today’s celebrities make Jackson’s pets and alleged oxygen tank seem pedestrian by comparison.

  5. Mr. Friedman, some of Michael’s “made up” stories about Bubbles, the oxygen chamber, etc., innocent enough, right? Attention seeking? Perhaps. But not harmful, hurtful, injurious and degrading, as you so-called columnists and experts spew out nearly daily two years after his murder, and yes, I said murder, slowly but surely Michael Jackson was murdered by false stories, inuendo, an out of control “civil servant” prosecutor with premeditated agenda, liars, deceivers, and backstabbers, all of which did more to crush Michael’s innocent soul than an assassin’s bullet. Many fans are so hurt by what we have learned since June 25, 2009 concerning the extent of the viciousness against this kind soul who, while suffering his own torments, continued to bring peace and harmony to this sick planet on which we find ourselves; never fear, we will continue to refute lies while we have the strength to do so.

    So Mr. Friedman, I ask you, how harmful were the “stories” about Bubbles, and the oxygen chamber, and the other example you cited. Not really harmful at all, wouldn’t you agree? Certainly not deserving of the slow painful demise inflicted upon Michael Jackson by “journalists” and greedy elected public officials. Please read the excellent references provided herein by prior commenters; educate yourself before you write another slash and burn article.

  6. I will say this. Many of the “made up” stories were encouraged by Michael–all the stuff about Bubbles, sleeping in the oxygen chamber, walking to his Congressman’s office and asking why there aren’t more fast good places in town–Michael knew how to get attention. You’re right. He didn’t sign up for abuse. But a lot of it was of his own making.

  7. Your refusal to tolerate personalized invective is completely understandable Mr Friedman. I wouldn’t tolerate it either. As well as being boring to read, endless hate comments such as @John, in my opinion, add nothing of value to a discussion or makes the points intended.

    As one adult to another, if I may respond to your piece thus:

    As a non-fan (of anyone actually) but also someone who has friends who are Jackson fans, and as someone who has taken the time to research the background of not only the legal challenges Jackson faced, but his journey in media as a whole — when one is talking about the issue of how many fans feel about how Jackson was and is reported on in the media, and how outlets feel they should and do that reporting — the main problems I see are time and the bottom line.

    For decades, accelerating from the late 80s onwards, entertainment and news outlets have been more than happy to pay dubiously motivated sources to give their usually damning accounts of ‘what they saw from the Neverland pantry/stable/locker room’ — or simply make up stories to keep a story moving forward.

    You, yourself Roger, spoke of the National Enquirer’s practice of the latter in on record radio interviews with Matt Drudge in 2005, but many others have also exposed this ruse.

    One such journalist is Nick Ferrari of LBC news in England who boasted on air, on June 26, 2009, that when he worked at the UK’s Sun newspaper, he and his colleagues regularly made up stories about Jackson — all negative, all damaging, and all designed to shift copy.

    Ferrari is not alone. Other journalists, Nick Davies, in particular, have spoken about the target and destroy mechanism now prevalent in even non-tabloid outlets. Biased narratives that can take down a public figure or mobilize support for unpopular wars.

    From 1993 onwards, media reporting on Jackson not only supported a standpoint of open suspicion, as an inevitable by-product it also shaped and influenced public opinion. One only has to look at the comments of people who give their ages as under 25 in any given online scenario related to Jackson, to see evidence of the fact that so many of the younger generation only know of Jackson as the media caricature he was portrayed as.

    Diane Dimond, who, over time, has revealed her clear investment in the Jackson-as-molester myth, has repeatedly perpetuated falsehoods and directional narrative about incidents or events in Jackson’s life, to give a totally different impression of what actually took place. Her personal friendships with key prosecution personalities and witnesses aside, Dimond’s evident interest in assisting the Sneddon-led prosecution of Jackson in 2005, has of course been well documented — and that continues.

    During the build up to the 2005 Jackson trial, an abundance of sub-standard and clearly vested commentators filled the air waves with inflated hearsay and outright deception. Maureen Orth’s quotes of Myung ho Lee’s disproved fairytales about Jackson engaging in diabolical voodoo rituals or enticing children with alcohol, were cycled constantly in the public domain from 1995 even until after Jackson’s death.

    Add to this, the use by MSNBC and other big networks on copious occasions of guest commentary during the 2005 trial build-up by Victor Gutierrez — a known psuedo journalist and noted hostile Jackson detractor — and others like ex-Santa Barbara sheriff Jim Thomas and Ray Chandler — and one can see how gravely compromised news reporting resulted.

    This modus of influencing and directing the national conversation to pre-conceived conclusions of Jackson’s ‘guilt was, in 2005, the apex (pre 2009) of a process of incrementally malevolent media narrative which has been operative in relation to Jackson since the late 80s.

    The existence of this agenda has been confirmed by investigative journalists such as Aphrodite Jones, Charles Thomson as well as Mike Taibbi — as well as Matt Taibbi and several others who I have personally spoken to in the course of my research. And of course, much has been written about the substantive credibility issues of that 2005 trial by legal commentators Laurie Levenson, John Whitehead, Andrew Cohen and Julie Spilbor.

    Despite the tidal wave of intellectual criticism of ex-Santa Barbara district attorney Thomas Sneddon’s deeply personalized obsession with Jackson — to the perception of ordinary consumers of media, i.e the man and woman on the street — the saturation of 24 hour cycled media replete with graphic allegations and a roll call of disgruntled so-called ‘victims’ of Jackson, made a neutral opinion about Jackson very hard to achieve — and certainly maintain.

    The breathless voyeurism of countless paid-by-the-word “experts” who, over a period of over twenty years lined up to dissect a man they never actually knew. The erosion of basic justice principles and de facto character assassination of Jackson resulted, because that’s simply what happens when an individual becomes objectified in the public’s perception.

    The evidence supporting the reality of Evan Chandler’s — the father of the boy in 1993 — successful extortion, along with the non-existence of any so-called ‘match’ between Jordan Chandler’s alleged description and the intimate photographs of Jackson, and the nonsense that the 1994 settlement could have in any way prevented the Chandlers from bringing their concocted case to court — if it had merit — are facts that have been either ignored or denied by the press since 1993 to the present day.

    And In 2005, the same invested ex-DA and same civil lawyer from 1993, along with a family of almost sublimely deceitful grifters attempted a second extortion. They failed, and Jackson was acquitted – but in real terms he lost.

    Press coverage around the world assumed Jackson’s guilt, and notably, no questions were asked afterwards as to how and why a case whose viability was on a par with a BP oil pipe, was sanctioned in the first place. Jackson never recovered from that case, and he was clearly driven to an early death by the toll of such sustained pressure.

    So when some Jackson fans write in to journalists or writers who still repeat the same biased commentary and unsubstantiated allegations, a lot of that feedback is angry, visceral and personal. Yes, sometimes that feedback could be better written and less combative, and many are working hard to address that behavior. The reasons for this are simple: It is frustration mixed up with a lot of other ‘stuff’ — and that ‘stuff’ is decades old.

    Michael Jackson was a human being. He was also a human being who, in 2005, was found overwhelmingly not guilty in a clearly tortuous, protracted trial that was itself subjected, as was its defendant, to unprecedented levels of scrutiny.

    That this verdict was essentially dismissed by the media and certain specific individuals at the time — and since, because it interfered with their grossly speculative conclusions; is a huge indictment on what and who American society assigns the ‘right to speak’ to, and of course it had huge implications for Jackson himself and his children.

    These implications continue. The media continues to marginalize voices attempting to speak rationally about the overwhelming physical and corroborative evidence that supports Jackson’s innocence of the charges he was accused — and acquitted of, but yet happily points a camera in the direction of individuals like Peter King, Dimond and the rest.

    You yourself, Mr Friedman, in this piece above, state that siblings Jermaine and Latoya know less than Frank Cascio. This is surely a subjective and speculative statement yet here it is in black and white. I would be very interested to know what you are basing that claim on.

    Lastly, Mr Friedman, when you quite rightly say that you “didn’t sign up for this abuse,” one can only agree. But I wonder if it has ever occurred you that Michael Jackson may well have felt the same?

    My money says he did. Many many times.

    For further information about 1993 and 2005, some fairly incredible links below:

    1: Phenomenal Analysis of the Evan Chandler Extortion & background to


    2: Report on Evan Chandler’s successful extortion by British journalist,
    Charles Thomson:


    3: Cogent expose of media bias against Jackson::


    4: Irrefutable rebuttal of Maureen Orth’s unretracted claims about Jackson:


    Note: If any of this type loses its ‘line continuity’ in translation I would be grateful if you could edit the text to maintain its coherence.

  8. The thing is that people are starting to wake up little by little. They realise the power that the media have and how the so called journalist have manipulated, lied, hide and distorted the truth from them. Michael Jackson is one of those cases.We have start to understand how journalist work and we don’t like what we see. You call the Jackson’s fan crazy but the reality is that they are just more allert, smarter and pick up the ish easier. I think you are afraid of the Jackson fan and that’s why all you journalist want to label them as crazy. Funny, though those “crazy” people have figured you media people better than enyone else and you don’t like it.

  9. Obvioiusly Mr. Friedman wants all the priviledges of holding the megaphone but doesn’t want to be ruffled with all those pesky reader responses — good bad or indifferent. In other words, he can dish it out but can’t take it. Anyone who puts out product in the marketplace — be it prose or a new mousetrap – is going to be evaluated. That’s the deal. If you want to avoid the people’s opinions, create in priviate and enjoy your work alone. Can’t have both ways.

  10. Seriously, I have never abused you in any way and I got on the blacklist? What’s up with that? John can call you a POS and it’s cool though…

  11. Funny how you can write an article about people calling you names yet, in the same article, call Michael Jackson fans “crazy”.

  12. about michael jackson, the only people who really hurted michael was SONY (and you could hear michael’s words in many videos, go and check it out) and all the journalist like you.

  13. Roger Friedman, the World’s Biggest Hypocrite, wrote: “I never signed up for abuse. So think twice before you decide to attack this messenger. Your correspondence will be deleted. Racist, anti-semitic comments and ad hominen [sic] attacks are unacceptable.”

    Michael Jackson never signed up for abuse, either, but he and his ardent admirers have had to put up with the most scurrilous, hateful and hurtful printed and verbal abuse heaped on him for over 25 years. He’s been called every nasty ad hominem thing one could think of…many of them by you, Friedman.

    Exactly what “message” is it you’re trying to convey, Messenger Friedman? Does this resonate with you?

    Tall Poppy Syndrome is a term used to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers. Google for it, Friedman; it’s a darkly fascinating lesson in human psychology.

    Medialoid (mainstream media infected by tabloid journalism) has resented, attacked and cut Michael Jackson down since he reached the pinnacle of worldwide stardom. Instead of celebrating the genius that he was and thanking God that he lived in our country in our time, medialoid–of which you, Friedman, were and continue to be an integral part–turned on him with blood in your mouths…snarling jackals all.

    After Mr. Jackson died, I, like so many others, researched his life. My research took me to past columns of yours, Friedman, and all I can say is, you should be very ashamed of yourself. All you’re experiencing from distraught fans is what Michael Jackson put up with in spades, day after day, year after year, until he died. You could not have lived a single day of this magnificent man’s life. They would’ve found you the fetal position in a corner somewhere, uttering gibberish.

    Yet still Jackson soldiered on, Friedman, in spite of the taunts and jeers from so called reporters like you and your buddies, Martin Bashir, Nancy Grace, Diane Dimond, Maureen Orth. The list goes on–all members of the now-disreputable profession called media personality. That’s a pretty long term for common thug.

    You complain because the internet affords your detractors anonymity. Yeah, well, you’ve got a megaphone. You and your buddies always have the last word. You spend your days talking trash about high profile people and then you wonder why the tables get turned on you. I can’t believe you would be so tone deaf; that you wouldn’t understand that of course you’re going to be attacked when you don’t treat beloved citizens with compassion and decency. Do you think karma is just going to pass you by? Do you think you can jeer and mock and ridicule high profile people and not pay the piper yourself in some way?

    Some of the things you’ve written about Michael Jackson would be enough to provoke an unstable fan to do the unthinkable. If I knew I wouldn’t get caught…well, never mind. You owe Michael Jackson’s memory and his family a huge apology. You need to write a column and apologize. You need to say, “I’m sorry for the nasty things, the speculative and harmful gossip I’ve written about Michael Jackson for so many years or, for that matter, about anyone in the public eye. It’s not my place to ridicule and judge them. I have faults, too, and I shouldn’t be earning my keep by exaggerating and exposing the faults–real or imagined–of my fellow man. I hate this job and I hate myself for working in such a useless and non-contributory job.”

    You don’t use your megaphone responsibly, Friedman, and you’ve got lots of company. Journalism around the world is in a chaotic, fragmented, unethical, and largely anti-social state. Its future does not look bright. Journalism is losing its appeal to serious, moral persons and is becoming simply another business enterprise. The “bottom line” has become the objective in the media world—not public enlightenment and social progress. It has become evident that the gulf between freedom and responsibility is as wide as ever.

    You deal in the world of prurient and salacious commentary and now you want respect? You’ve got to be kidding. I’d rather commit ritual suicide than wake up every morning with my sole goal being, “Who can I smear and mock today for ten cents per word?” The Good Book says Satan is the father of lies. Surely you are one of his dedicated minions.

    I feel sorry for you, Friedman. You don’t even know why you’re so despised. You’re a lowlife, a worthless piece of tabloid detritus. You and your howling hyena buddies aren’t worth the powder it would take to blow you away. You contribute to nothing but the further deterioration of society because you’ve got nothing good to say about anyone. Even when you manage to say something nice about someone, you neutralize it three days later. Your heart is black and your soul is stone cold.

    You won’t publish this because (a) you know I speak the truth, and (b) you don’t know how to do anything else but be a gossip columnist, for God’s sake. What a damn shame. What a waste of a life. You’re nothing. Live with that.

  14. Mr. Friedman. I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan and the truth is that I think about all kinds of conspiracies. That man was a target of lot of sleazy, not right people, who just wanted to extort from him. Why would it be different after he died? And who really knows how he died. Some of us think he could have been murdered. Some of us don’t. We just don’t know. And we will never know the truth which is really sick. I’m also one of those who did not purchase the new album. There is lot of songs that I like on that album, don’t get me wrong. But there are some that don’t even sound like Michael. Even if it is Michael, they didn’t have to process his vocals this way. I just don’t like the final product. And Michael hasn’t release those songs when he was alive so I think there was a reason for it. I would definitely buy an album that he had final touches on, that he created. But this wasn’t created by him but finished by other people. Not the same. So – we all are different. We have different opinions on things happening around Michael. But we are very united in love and support for Michael. We just are confused about where the truth is. And nobody is giving us clear answer. It’s like with 9/11. If you don’t tell us the whole truth, we will always be filling in the blanks somehow.

  15. Seriously, i’m fed up of so-called “journalists” all these years thinking that they do their job “correctly” and the fans are just crazy. You have to admit that the good news never sell in your job. Fans are angry and we have right: All these years we’re reading a whole bunch of craps. It’s kinda ironic to say that “the facts doesn’t mean anything to fans” when the journalists (like you) don’t even search before writing an article. Don’t forget that during MJ trial in 2005 ” mj fans are crazy and can’t see the truth” according to media: But when the court verdict was “not guilty” on all counts i didn’t see any of the media or any journalist (except Aphrodite Jones) to apologize for all this misinformation.
    As for the catalogue and the debt: come on now, do you really believe that he would loose his catalogue? This is it IS the fastest selling concerts in history, the day that tickets went on sale the site had 6.000 clicks every second to BUY a ticket (and obviously the site gone down). Do you realize what this mean? If the site didn’t went down, 50 concert would be sold out in 167 seconds….

  16. Shame on you really! Michael Jackson fans aren’t afraid of any anonymity. We are proud of Michael and our love for him in opposition to your own bitterness and tabloid junkie over the years.
    “The crazy fans, the people who loved Michael so much –and so unreasonably–that they believe they knew “the truth” about his life, his death and everything in between.”
    He have been called “crazy fans” for years by the media, by haters by anyone who couldn’t understand Michael neither as a person or an artist. Do you want me to remind you your articles when you were an employer on FOXNews? I don’t think so… You were always trashing Michael based on your “sources” spreading lies just to make him seem anything but normal. Yes, Michael had surgery, yes Michael had a troubled childhood, yes Michael had bad financial advisors and consultants especially the last 10 years but that doesn’t give you the right to trash him and humiliate him in your articles. He was the most loved and hated person in the planet. I don’t think that any other celebrity has been attacked more or lawsuited more than Michael. The weird thing is that he never hurt any of you but just himself. You constantly use his name to make headlines, you know that and we know that. The difference between you and the fans is that WE love him so much, we have followed him throughout the good and the bad, we love him unconditionally, we know facts, we have suffered with him, laughed with him, cried with him, we are fighting for him not to make money or benefit form him in any way but because we really care about him. I bet you don’t know what care means. It’s non of your business how many plastic surgeries he had done, if he suffered or not, if he lost his Ranch or his catalogue (which he never did), if his children are well or if his records are selling! It’s non of your business simply become you have no interest in him apart from accusing him to attract readers.
    LEAVE ALL THE CARING AND LOVING TO THE CRAZY FANS. We are proud to be called crazy if this means that we love and support Michael.
    Find another celebrity to torn apart!

  17. Michael’s problems were to a very large degree, due to the money grubbing sycophants that he found himself surrounded with. With all due respect to his mother – who with Janet seems to be the sanest of that nut bunch, and that’s a scary thing to say – it seems to me that “mom” should have fought for a conservatorship, it might have saved Michael’s life and even perhaps revived his career.

    Arty The Ziff

  18. You have every right not to publish bile and hate – more power to you, people are way too willing to spew nastiness behind the anonymity of the Intertubes. But please don’t delete thoughtful comments just because they represent views you disagree with, good discussion involves a variety of views.

    I fear some of my comments about Spiderman didn’t make it – I am not impressed with that production, and honestly don’t think any amount of talent could make it proper material for Broadway…

    Of course this is your web site, and you can publish what you want… It’s one of the most thoughtful in the arena of “celebratory dish” , I’ve followed your insights since discovering your column at Fox News, and was much less entertained during your brief siesta after being unceremoniously jettisoned from that poor excuse for a news network… My opinion, of course…

    – Arty

  19. Mr. Friedman: I wonder if Mr. Jackson ever thought the same thing that you expressed, “I never signed up for abuse.” He didn’t have a button to push to delete hateful, repetitive slander and vilification of his person, life choices and eccentricities; which, in large measure, really were quite innocent compared to other well known celebrities, both then and today.

    I will speak for myself and agree with you about the behavior of some fans.
    This is an ongoing issue and one that has been addressed repeatedly. Anger, confusion and disparate information abounds…family, friends, acquaintences and media talking heads relay opposing information that is impossible at times to decipher or make sense of. I can tell you that Michael’s humanity is important to many and remembrances and truth from
    those who really knew him will be welcomed and understood.

    Responses to continuing bashing by printed and televised media will continue; sometimes wisely and sometimes not. We have a pretty good idea of who was around Michael in his later years and who was not. We know that 2005 did irreparable damage; and I know it’s not really my business to delve into financial issues.

    Oh, and not all fans undermined ‘Michael.’ Never did understand the issues that some folks had with it; maybe the family could answer that one.

  20. There is no doubt that the anonymity of the internet has allowed hateful speech to thrive. Just as some people seem to lose any sense of common courtesy while behind the wheel of a car, the internet has become a place for bigots and their ilk, some probably actually deranged, to brawl and etch dehumanizing content onto cyberspace.

    What you don’t address here and should be discussed more is the role that bloggers, journalists, “jeernalists,” gossip mongers, and everything in between have played in debasing the public discourse with the rise of 24/7 news coverage, much of it feeding the overwhelming obsession with celebrity. Hits, ratings, and money now trump reporting accurately and fairly, especially about public figures. Dirt sells–that’s what we’re told.

    Writers such as yourself bear a lot of responsibility for how things have devolved, especially if they’ve ever succumbed to the temptation to report what is prurient and sensational at the expense of facts. This happened many times in Jackson’s case, certainly, and the new viciousness seems to require that stars like Lady Gaga be torn from the pinnacle of their success as soon as they’ve reached it. The reasoning is that celebrities somehow signed up to be treated as less than human, and deserve whatever misfortune befalls them.

    Much of this tone is driven by writers. It’s hardly a surprise when commenters similarly start drinking and spewing from the gutter.

  21. Did Michael have a sensible financial advisor after 2005, he was in such bad shape that he could not have handled his own affairs?
    You are right, the fans are unreasonable and don’t like to hear any criticism but on the other hand, where was all this love in 2006/7? I used to see the pictures of the man sadly making his way around las Vegas and say, what is going on here? Why isn’t he making records-Roger the comments you receive are pretty decent, I am glad you sort through them and you are right Lady Gaga should think less about ‘get-up’ and more about singing, one stops looking after a while(and listening) MMH

  22. One thing you forgot to mention – throughout his career, people Michael Jackson should have been able to trust, stole from him. Even in death, some of his ‘best friends’ try to take credit for his songs, his speeches, even his children! MJ was sued more than a thousand times, mostly by liars and kooks, and all of these lawsuits had to be defended, which cost him millions. It’s hard to think of another celebrity who was attacked so relentlessly. Maybe the fact that Lady Gaga is being sued over her charitable dealings means that she’s officially arrived at superstardom.

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