Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Final Years of Michael Jackson

There's been a lot written about Micheal Jackson over the past week and a half, but the best piece I've read is by Ian Halperin. Last December, he predicted that MJ would be dead within 6 months. His book about Michael was initially set to be released this week, but out of respect for the family, its release date has been pushed to July 14th.

There are quite a few bombshells in the book, but for the most part, they make sense to me. Check out an excerpt here. Some choice bits:

"Some liked to snigger at his public image, and it is true that flamboyant clothes and bizarre make-up made for a comic grotesque; yet without them, his appearance was distressing; with skin blemishes, thinning hair and discoloured fingernails.

I had established beyond doubt, for example, that Jackson relied on an extensive collection of wigs to hide his greying hair. Shorn of their luxuriance, the Peter Pan of Neverland cut a skeletal figure.

He was also playing a truly dangerous game. It is clear to me that Michael was homosexual and that his taste was for young men, albeit not as young as Jordan Chandler or Gavin Arvizo (his accusers).

In the course of my investigations, I spoke to two of his gay lovers, one a Hollywood waiter, the other an aspiring actor. The waiter had remained friends, perhaps more, with the singer until his death last week. He had served Jackson at a restaurant, Jackson made his interest plain and the two slept together the following night. According to the waiter, Jackson fell in love.

The actor, who has been given solid but uninspiring film parts, saw Jackson in the middle of 2007. He told me they had spent nearly every night together during their affair – an easy claim to make, you might think. But this lover produced corroboration in the form of photographs of the two of them together, and a witness.

Other witnesses speak of strings of young men visiting his house at all hours, even in the period of his decline. Some stayed overnight. Jackson was afraid of being revealed as gay, believing many would view this as confirmation of the false allegations made against him that he was a child molester.

During my investigation into Jackson's life, I discovered a disturbing new twist to the infamous allegations that first emerged in the early Nineties. It may explain the star's increasingly fragile state of mind. When Jackson settled out of court with his first accuser, Jordan Chandler, for more than $15million in 1994, his career went into a rapid decline from which he never recovered. Jackson had not wanted to settle the case. I have obtained legal documents proving that his insurance company forced the settlement on him against his will.

The documents state: 'The [1994 Chandler] settlement agreement was for global claims of negligence and the lawsuit was defended by Mr Jackson's insurance carrier. The insurance carrier negotiated and paid the settlement, over the protests of Mr Jackson and his personal legal counsel.' Jackson was said to have almost collapsed as the settlement was forced upon him. His aides insist this marked the beginning of his mental and physical breakdown.

The ordeal had left him physically shattered, too. One of my sources suggested that he might already have had a genetic condition I had never previously come across, called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency – the lack of a protein that can help protect the lungs.

Although up to 100,000 Americans are severely affected by it, it is an under-recognised condition. Michael was receiving regular injections of Alpha-1 antitrypsin derived from human plasma. The treatment is said to be remarkably effective and can enable the sufferer to lead a normal life.

But the disease can cause respiratory problems and, in severe cases, emphysema. Could this be why Jackson had for years been wearing a surgical mask in public, to protect his lungs from the ravages of the disease? Or why, from time to time, he resorted to a wheelchair? When I returned to my source inside the Jackson camp for confirmation, he said: ‘Yeah, that’s what he’s got. He’s in bad shape. They’re worried that he might need a lung transplant but he may be too weak."


Sarah said...

fascinating stuff, but i don't think we'll ever know the truth.

disestablishingpuritanism said...

I guess we have to forgive those who didn't know or understand Michael. It's upsetting some of the very same people who made a living mocking him are now celebrating his life. They certainly didn't celebrate it during his final years before his untimely death.

It's sad to hear his testimonies and how he suffered from immense emotional and physical abuse. There was one quote Al Sharpton recited Michael said when looking at James Brown's corpse: "I hope he gets his due in death that he never got in life." I'm a little less sympathetic to Brown based on his spousal abuse, but Michael was someone who really stirred all our imaginations during the 80s and really was a musical and choreographic genius.