Friday, May 24, 2024

Michael Jackson Estate Paid $100K for a Big Family Party, and the Funeral


I’m getting a lot of calls about the Michael Jackson story in Vanity Fair, which is an excerpt of a book by Randall Sullivan. Sullivan long ago wrote the unimpressive story of the Billionaire Boys Club. Now he’s back. Anyway: Sullivan says in his piece that Michael Jackson’s funeral was delayed because of financial wrangling between his estate and Janet Jackson over who was going to pay for everything.

This is incorrect. I know it, and the people who have called in know it. Indeed, the estate paid for everything including the Staples Center memorial blockbuster, a $100,000 party that followed in a hotel, and the eventual funeral at Forest Lawn. For the Staples Center extravaganza, AEG Live kicked in. The funeral was delayed over wrangling among family members and Colony Capital about whether Michael should be buried at Forest Lawn or at Neverland.

This went on for weeks. Also, Sullivan–at least in this excerpt– jumps right over the Staples Center deal where Janet pushed Paris Jackson forward to speak, where Louis Farrakhan sat in the row in front of me, and that big party that followed. There is also no mention of Joe Jackson bringing a Michael Jackson impersonator to the BET Awards four days after Michael died. That’s because Sullivan wasn’t there, and doesn’t know what he was talking about.

The Vanity Fair excerpt also deals with Katherine Jackson’s “abduction” earlier this summer. Again, Sullivan doesn’t seem to get it. Katherine Jackson’s lawyer, Perry O. Sanders, a nice guy, went to Arizona to meet Mrs. Jackson with Jermaine and Janet. When he got there, they refused to let him see her. They also told him there were no phones in the rooms where she was staying. This was an out and out lie, which I debunked exclusively.

I do fear that Sullivan’s book is going to be a cover to cover mess after reading this stuff. We’ll see in time what else has to be corrected.

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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