Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Katherine Jackson Reads “Hostage Statement” And ABC News Lets Her


UPDATE: I am told that Trent Jackson and the security team in Calabasas are employed by the estate of Michael Jackson. They can’t be fired by a family member.

EARLIER: First of all, the ABC News report on “Nightline” with Katherine Jackson reminded me not just a little bit of a hostage reading her kidnapper’s message to the press. Janet and Jermaine Jackson stood behind their mother as she read from a script. It was an orchestrated event, and ABC News– which sources tell bought footage from Randy Jackson for “Good Morning America’–just went along with it. The interviewing producer wasn’t allowed to ask questions! How completely unprofessional! That ABC has allowed itself to become the network of Janet, Jermaine and Randy just to grab access and ratings is very very disappointing.

Then: the hostage crisis. The warring Jacksons each have someone they want gone from the others’ camp. Randy, Jermaine, and Janet want their cousin Trent fired. Michael Jackson hired Trent personally, and Joe Jackson’s nephew has been a loyal and devoted assistant and caregiver to Katherine Jackson. Sources say that Randy in particular hates and resents Trent. Indeed, the “minor scuffle” at the house this week was between them. Trent, they say, put Randy in a headlock. Randy happily Tweeted today that Trent had been fired by his mother. But the reality of that remains to be seen.

Of course, the insiders in Calabasas want someone on the other side gone, too: Janice Smith, Katherine’s assistant. In the reading of the “hostage statement,” Katherine mentioned Janice Smith. From what I know, everyone in the Calabasas house hates Janice Smith. And here’s where it gets interesting. The children say that Janice helped arrange for Katherine’s fake trip to Arizona by telling everyone Mrs. Jackson would be attending her sons’ concerts in Arizona, Nevada, and California. In fact, it was Janice Smith who set up the visit to Miraval Spa in Tucscon, and knew that Mrs. Jackson would not be going to those shows.

Here’s how the whole thing went down according to those in Calabasas: The kids thought their grandmother was going on a road trip to see the shows with Trent. They said their goodbyes. Then Jermaine and Randy managed to axe Trent from the trip, and Janice went on the plane with Mrs. Jackson. In the next day, the infamous letter asking for the resignation of Michael Jackson’s executors appeared.

In the letter, Randy Jackson said his mother had had a “mini stroke.” Seeing this was what inflamed Paris Jackson, who knew no such thing had happened. That’s when she panicked and began Tweeting. It was probably also the moment she realized something was not right with her father’s family.

Now we see Katherine Jackson on ABC News flanked by certain members of her family who want Michael Jackson’s money. She says she’s returning to Los Angeles. It’s not like she’s in Bora Bora. Instead of reading that statement, why hadn’t she simply gone home? What is stopping her? Who? Hopefully once she is home, her advisors will explain what happened. The real question is, Will she listen and understand? Watch the ABC News Nightline video. It’s revelatory.

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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