Monday, June 17, 2024

Michael Jackson’s Book Editor Skeptical About Audio Tapes, Says He Had “Utmost Respect for Prince”


It’s not like we take the UK Mirror seriously. But they’ve been flacking so called quotes from so-called audio tapes they say Michael Jackson made when he was writing his book “Moonwalk” in 1988. On the tapes, the Mirror– not exactly a Pulitzer finalist– says Michael dissed Prince many different times.

This didn’t sound plausible to me, and the Mirror has not actually offered up the tapes or transcripts.  So I called up the editor of “Moonwalk,” Shaye Arehart, now head of the Columbia University Publishing Program. Shaye worked for Jackie Onassis at Doubleday as senior editor. She sat with Michael and recorded him, and put “Moonwalk” together.

Shaye had not heard about this latest contretemps. She is skeptical that anyone has any tapes. She told me, “All of the tapes are under the control of Michael’s estate.” That is, if there are tapes. And transcripts are a total question mark. But when she was done editing the book, all the tapes went back to Michael’s office.

As for Prince, Shaye told me: “I always found that Michael had the utmost respect for Prince. And he named his son Prince? Has no one thought of that?”

Indeed. The Michael Jackson-Prince feud sounds concocted at best. I’m also mystified why stories of Michael’s so called “porn” collection have surfaced as repurposed garbage. All of the books, magazines and pictures at Neverland were indexed and put into evidence at Michael’s 2005 trial. All of it was thrown out or disproved to be anything. The jury found him innocent of owning child porn or any porn. The whole thing now feels contrived and orchestrated. To what purpose, I can’t imagine.

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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