Friday, April 12, 2024

Will Katherine Jackson Understand What Happened? The Family Lives in Denial


Now that Katherine Jackson is home, will she understand what really happened? That she was lured out of her home for concerts and wound up in a spa, isolated from the world? That because of this she lost custody of her grandchildren, who were frightened? That her grown children are trying to unseat Michael Jackson’s executors in order to get their hands on his money? And that the two usually most vocal Jacksons–La Toya and father Joseph– have been conspicuous in their silence?

Maybe not. Katherine has lived a life in denial. “Ignorance is bliss” has been her motto. Well documented: how Joseph beat and tortured her children over the years. She did nothing to stop it. Michael spoke about it often. It informed his life.

Jermaine, now part of the cabal that brought Katherine away from the grandchildren, wrote this in his autobiography last year: “over time, Randy and Janet got to know what the belt felt like, mainly for disobedience…There is no denying that Michael was terrified of our father.”

But Jermaine also lives in denial. He wrote: “If he [Joseph] had truly abused us, we wouldn’t still be speaking to him…”

Joseph himself told me about his abuse on September 10, 2001. I wrote in my old column, Fox411:

We did not ask Joe Jackson about allegations in the past from his children, specifically LaToya, about abuse in their household when they were growing up. I did ask him though about his parental philosophy. “You have to be strict with kids,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with punishment as long as you know how to punish.”

What would be a typical punishment? “Beat his back,” Joe Jackson replied before I could even get the question out.

If Katherine Jackson let all that go on for more than twenty years, how she will now, at 82, rationalize the behavior of the last ten days?

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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