This is probably the second most used fallacy (behind the aforementioned Big Lie and ad hominem techniques). Dimond repeatedly used this technique in her roundtable discussion with TruTV’s “In Session”, as well her partners in crime Nancy Grace, Maureen Orth, and Gloria Allred.
THE MYSTERY OF MICHAEL JACKSON
In December 2002, Michael Jackson, hobbling on crutches (reportedly from a tarantula bite), made his way through the press crowd outside a Santa Maria, California, courthouse for an appearance in a $38 million civil case—a contractual dispute filed against him by a concert promoter.
“Michael! What do you think of Gloria Alfred?” called out Jane Velez-Mitchell from TV’s Celebrity Justice.
From underneath a black umbrella held by his security guard to shield him from the sun’s glare came the response, delivered in his trademark breathy baby’s voice.
“Who’s Gloria Allred?”
The question drew chuckles from some of the press corps. How could Michael Jackson not know who I was? I had briefly represented a young boy in 1993 who accused him of child molestation. More recently, on November 26, 2002, I had filed a complaint with authorities in Santa Barbara, California (the jurisdiction that includes his Neverland estate) after seeing him dangle his nine-month-old baby, Prince Michael II, over the side of a fourth floor hotel balcony in Berlin, Germany.
Mitchell replied, “She’s the attorney who’s filed a complaint against you with Child Protective Services.”
Again, the voice came from under the umbrella: “Ahh . . . tell her to go to hell.”
Some reporters told me later that they were stunned by the response—not by the words, but by the tone in which they were delivered. The baby voice was replaced by a deep, angry adult male voice no one had ever heard before in public. I suspect that the real Michael Jackson temporarily peeked through the crack in his carefully maintained facade.
His “tell her to go to hell” comment played over and over on the evening news and reporters called me for a response.
I said, “While Michael Jackson wants me to go to hell, I want him to go to parenting class to learn how to protect rather than endanger his baby. My hope is that, upon reflection, he will realize that this is not about me, but about his behavior.”
Michael Jackson needed a wake-up call. He appeared to live a sheltered life surrounded by people who might only tell him what he wanted to hear. He seemed to think that what he did was okay. Well, I wasn’t a member of his entourage. I didn’t think that he deserved special treatment or that he should be allowed to take advantage of his fame to engage in actions that endangered a child—actions which, if engaged in by a non-celebrity, would have been condemned and investigated.
Dangling his baby over the side of the fourth floor balcony was reckless and irresponsible conduct. It demonstrated a complete lack of parental awareness of the substantial risk of great bodily harm or death that could have resulted had he dropped the baby. I told reporters that if Michael Jackson was truly sorry, he should demonstrate that in deeds not words by voluntarily submitting himself to a Child Protective Services investigation into whether he had endangered the baby and whether the child should be removed from his care. I said that children of celebrities deserve no more and no less protection than any other child. Rather than attacking me, Michael Jackson needed to address the problem. I felt that he needed to recognize that his baby was not a toy and that he had a duty to keep the child safe. I said that he should attend parenting class as soon as possible to learn how to become a responsible parent.
That he was able to avoid many of the consequences of his questionable treatment of children is disturbing to me. Acting as a private citizen following the child-dangling incident, I wrote to Child Protective Services and the district attorney of Santa Barbara County, Tom Sneddon, asking that they investigate Jackson’s behavior toward children. This was not the first scandal involving Michael Jackson and children, but it made me wonder why the system seemed to give the one-gloved wonder the kid-glove treatment. The mystery behind this apparent special treatment for Jackson dates back to a 1993 incident in which a young boy accused him of sexual abuse.
Law enforcement has publicly confirmed that the child made serious allegations against Jackson and cooperated with police and the district attorney’s office by providing statements. In fact, I took that child to the district attorney’s office in Los Angeles myself when I briefly represented him, and the child gave extensive and detailed answers to those who questioned him. At least one law enforcement officer involved in that investigation said publicly that he found the child to be credible.(As you can see, she’s trying to validate Jordan Chandler’s claim by reminding her readers that the police believed him; this is the fallacy of blind loyalty.)
At the time, I noted that children everywhere were watching to see how this child, who had bravely come forward with allegations against a celebrity, would be treated. Other children might fear what could happen to them if they accused a celebrity or other powerful person of child sexual abuse. Many people loved and trusted Michael Jackson. This thirteen-year-old boy loved and trusted him as well. Unfortunately, that trust was destroyed. At the time, I waited to see if Jackson would be held to the same standards of conduct as any other person. I wondered if he thought that he was above the law.
The outcome was disturbing. In 1994, while the criminal investigation was being conducted, a settlement was reached in a civil lawsuit brought by the boy against Jackson. Another attorney represented him at that time. Although the amount was confidential, reports put the possible settlement at between $ 15 and $20 million.
After that settlement, Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti and Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon announced that there would be no criminal prosecution of Jackson. They said that the child in question now refused to testify, and without his cooperation, the case could not be proven. Was there a connection between Jackson’s civil settlement payment and the sudden implosion of the criminal case? That mystery would take almost a decade to unravel. (Allred just used the “post hoc” fallacy, which will be discussed later.)
In the ensuing years, Jackson married twice and became the father of three children. His 1994 marriage to Lisa Marie Presley ended after twenty months. During his three-year marriage to Debbie Rowe, from 1996 to 1999, she gave birth to a son and daughter, Prince Michael I and Paris. The mother of the third child, Prince Michael II, is unknown.
Just months after the baby-dangling incident, in January 2003, ABC aired a British documentary about Jackson that was taped with interviewer Martin Bashir. Its contents were shocking and ultimately set off Jackson’s latest legal battle. Jackson said that he had slept in his bed with young children unrelated to him and admitted to sleeping on the floor while a child named Gavin slept in his bed.
Bashir asked Gavin, “When you stay here, do you stay in the house? Does Michael let you enjoy the whole premises?”
Gavin replied, “There was one night, I asked him if I could stay in his bedroom. He let me stay in the bedroom. And I was like, ‘Michael, you can sleep in the bed,’ and he was like ‘No, no, you sleep on the bed,’ and I was like ‘No, no, no, you sleep on the bed,’ and then he said, ‘Look if you love me you’ll sleep in the bed.’ I was like ‘Oh man. . .’ so I finally slept on the bed. But it was fun that night.”
Jackson then interjected, “I slept on the floor.”
Later in the interview, Jackson said, “I have slept in a bed with many children. I slept in a bed with all of them when Macaulay Culkin was little. Kieran Culkin would sleep on this side, Macaulay was on this side, his sisters in there—we all would just jam in the bed . . .”
My concern deepened when Jackson said during the same interview that he would allow—and even condone—his own children sleeping with unrelated adult males.
Bashir said, “But Michael, I wouldn’t like my children to sleep in anybody else’s bed.”
Jackson responded, “Well, I wouldn’t mind if I know the person and, well, I am very close to Barry Gibb. Paris and Prince can stay with him anytime. My children sleep with other people all the time.”
I was extremely upset by these new revelations and by Jackson’s seeming total lack of understanding of the true significance of his behavior. I believe it is highly inappropriate for a young child to sleep in the same bedroom with Jackson, in light of the prior accusations of child sexual abuse made against him. A vast number of child psychologists would recommend against such behavior.
Jackson’s apparent condoning of it flew in the face of what many would approve and of common sense.
Jackson’s conduct once again demonstrated a lack of good judgment and a failure to appreciate appropriate adult/child boundaries. Once again, I filed a complaint with the Santa Barbara County Department of Child Welfare Services and forwarded a transcript of the interview. I also sent a complaint to Child Protective authorities in Los Angeles. I urged them to “interview the child named Gavin and any other child who has been in Mr. Jackson’s home and/or bedroom without the presence of their parents.”
Although I received a letter from the Santa Barbara authorities acknowledging receipt of my letter, I had no idea if they acted on it because that information is kept confidential. During Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial, however, a social worker from Los Angeles testified that my name was on her referral—and that this was the reason she went to interview Gavin.
There was another part of the Bashir interview that I believe offered new insight into the sudden implosion of the 1993 child sexual abuse criminal case.
Bashir asked Jackson: “The reason that has been given for why you didn’t go to jail [in 1994] is because you reached a financial settlement with the family?”
Jackson responded, “Yeah, I didn’t want to do a long drawn-out thing on TV like O. J. and all that stupid stuff, you know, it wouldn’t look right. I said, ‘Look, let’s get this thing over with. I want to go on with my life. This is ridiculous, I’ve had enough. Go.’”
To me, Jackson’s comments answered the question that had been hanging in the air since 1994: Was there, at a minimum, a connection in Mr. Jackson’s mind between payment to the child to settle a civil suit and his being spared from a criminal prosecution which might have resulted in his going to jail? (In this example, Allred is using the post hoc fallacy to try and show a connection between the settlement and the collapse of the criminal case.)
The answer, if one listened to Jackson’s own words in the Bashir-Jackson exchange, seemed to be yes. The “long drawn-out thing on TV like O.J.” to which Jackson was apparently referring was the criminal trial of Mr. Simpson, since the civil case was never televised. Arguably, in this context, the only way that Jackson could go on with his life when he’d “had enough” was for the criminal case to “go” or disappear. That is exactly what happened after the settlement.
I took my concerns to Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley in March 2003. I asked him if the payment of the civil settlement might be viewed as an effort on Michael Jackson’s part to obstruct justice in the criminal case. California law makes it a felony to bribe a witness not to attend trial or withhold testimony. The purpose of these laws is to assure that the justice system can operate fully and fairly, without improper interference. It must not be corruptible. While civil settlements may be reached in cases that may also allege acts that could be criminally prosecuted, those agreements may not include promises not to testify in a criminal case. If they do, the settlement itself would be void and parties to it might be subjected to obstruction of justice criminal charges.(Gee Gloria, if MJ was never charged with obstruction of justice, shouldn’t that tell you that the settlement wasn’t “hush money”, and that it didn’t include any promises not to testify?) I felt that a grand jury should have been impaneled years ago by former DA Gil Garcetti to determine whether or not there was an obstruction of justice or an attempt by Michael Jackson to obstruct justice.
DA Steve Cooley and I agreed that victims of child sexual abuse should know that civil settlements can’t preclude a victim or witness from talking to law enforcement about a crime. A person cannot enter into a legally enforceable contract to conceal illegal activity, such as child abuse. In other words, a person accused of such a crime can’t buy a child’s silence. (Thanks for letting us know that, Gloria! You just answered your own question! All that money you spent on law school really paid off, huh?)
Unfortunately, even if a crime had been committed, it was now too late to prosecute—the six-year statute of limitations on the case had expired. I was concerned that Jackson had left the impression that the rich and powerful can buy their way out of the criminal justice system. The public might have been left with the impression that the system allowed poor defendants to be prosecuted for child sexual abuse, while it spared the rich, who could afford multimillion-dollar civil settlements.
I appreciated the opportunity to meet with District Attorney Cooley to discuss these important issues with him and I vowed to continue to be alert to both public and private reports about Michael Jackson and his behavior with children.
In November 2003, those reports became very public indeed. Jackson was arrested on seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of fourteen, and two counts of using an intoxicating agent to commit those acts. An article in Vanity Fair suggested there might be evidence that Jackson placed alcohol in the soda pop cans of the minor and showed pornography to him.
I again filed a formal complaint asking the Santa Barbara Department of Child Welfare Services to open an investigation into whether Michael Jackson’s children should be removed from his care and custody and whether the Juvenile Court should immediately assume jurisdiction over the children for their protection.
California law provided that the Juvenile Court could step in when “there is a substantial risk that a child will be sexually abused by his or her parent or by a member or his or her household.”
In light of the criminal charges against Jackson, coupled with the 1993 sexual abuse complaint and his own admission that he has slept with young children in his bed, I felt there were more than sufficient grounds for such an action. Authorities have the right and responsibility to protect children who are at substantial risk or harm, even before a conviction or acquittal in a criminal case. Protection of children is always paramount. Many people feel that if Jackson were not a celebrity, but had the same history with children, his own children would have been temporarily removed from his care long ago.
On January 14, 2004, after Michael Jackson moved his legal residence from Neverland in Santa Barbara County to Beverly Hills, in Los Angeles County, I filed a similar complaint with the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services asking that it temporarily remove the children from his care. The next month I filed a formal application with department director David Sanders, asking that Juvenile Court proceedings be started.
In March I was notified that the department would not be taking any court action. Based on that decision, I felt it was absolutely necessary for me to file directly with the Juvenile Court, which I did on March 17, 2004. The Court now had to review the decision of the social worker who had decided not to remove the children, and it could either affirm his or her decision or order the social worker to commence Juvenile Court proceedings. The response of the Court was that that matter was still being investigated. It remains a mystery to me why Jackson’s children have not yet been temporarily removed from his care, in light of the known facts.
I was happy to hear in April 2004 that Jackson would go to trial. All of the facts could now come out in a court of law, where Michael Jackson would not be able to hide behind his fame, money, or power. The public would finally be able to see the face behind the mask and the life behind Neverland’s closed doors. “Mr. Jackson, the gloves are off!” I said at the time.
Michael Jackson went on trial in March 2005. As it unfolded, we saw and heard a great deal of new and deeply troubling evidence in regard to his behavior around children. The alleged victim, first seen in the Martin Bashir TV interview, claimed under oath that Jackson molested him on a minimum of two occasions when he was thirteen years old. According to the child, the two were alone in the master bedroom suite of Neverland when Michael Jackson offered to teach him how to masturbate. The child testified that he hesitated, but Jackson explained to him that men who did not masturbate could become unstable and rape women. He said that Jackson told him “It was okay—it was natural .. . that’s when he put his hand down my pants.” The child went on to relate in some detail his allegation that Jackson molested him that night, and again on the following night.
The child’s younger brother testified under oath that he personally witnessed Michael Jackson masturbating his brother on two occasions, in Jackson’s bed. “I saw Michael’s left hand in my brother’s underwear and saw his right hand in his [own] underwear,” he testified. “He was masturbating. He was rubbing himself.” The younger brother also testified that Jackson had provided him, his brother, and other boys with wine, adult-oriented magazines, and access to sexually explicit Internet sites.
Both brothers testified that on one occasion Jackson appeared in front of them naked, with an erection. The alleged victim testified that [the brothers’| response was, “Euwwww! . . . [because] we never really saw a grown man, like, naked before.”
They also testified that Michael Jackson provided them with wine and hard liquor on multiple occasions. The alleged child victim said that Jackson routinely gave him wine in soda cans, encouraging him to drink it and referring to it as “Jesus Juice.” He described his feelings when he drank vodka that he testified Jackson supplied: “. . . it smelled like rubbing alcohol … I chucked it back really quick … it really burned. And then like two or three seconds later my head started . . . like it looked like the room was spinning, so I put my head inside the couch.”
The alleged child victim testified that he’d had concerns about all the liquor he was drinking with Jackson, because it might show up on routine urine tests he underwent as part of his treatment for cancer. The child said he asked Jackson what to do about it and Jackson replied, “Doo-doo, just don’t take the test.”
A former Neverland housekeeper and former Neverland house manager testified that they had seen children intoxicated on the estate on multiple occasions. The former house manager testified that he once saw three boys whom Mr. Jackson had taken on a tour of the wine cellar come out “drunk.”
A twenty-four-year-old man gave emotional testimony that Jackson had molested him multiple times when he was a young boy staying at Neverland while his mother worked as Jackson’s personal maid. After the first incident, which the man testified began as a “tickle session” but escalated into unwanted sexual touching by Jackson, the pop singer allegedly slipped the boy a $100 bill and said, “Don’t tell your mom.” Similar incidents of tickling-into-sexual-touching by Jackson continued for approximately three years, until the child was ten-and-a-half years old, according to the witness.
The same man’s mother, the former personal maid, testified that she had seen multiple boys spend the night in Michael Jackson’s bedroom. She had seen one young boy she could identify taking a shower with Jackson, as their underwear lay together on the floor. She had also once seen Jackson in bed, nude from the waist up, watching TV with a boy. She also testified that child actor Macaulay Culkin had spent nights in Jackson’s bed with him during her employment there.
A man testified that he was once called to bring French fries to Jackson and Macaulay Culkin at around 3:00 A.M. When he arrived with the snack, he testified, he saw Jackson fondling the child: “Jackson’s left hand was inside the pants of the kid , . . down in the pants … in the crotch area. I was shocked. I nearly dropped the French fries.”
Macaulay Culkin denied that Michael molested him, but a former security supervisor at Neverland testified that he witnessed a late-night Jacuzzi session with Michael Jackson and Culkin, after which the two disappeared behind a locked restroom door, then emerged wearing only towels, with Jackson carrying the child “piggy-back” style into the house and locking the door behind them. The security supervisor noted that in the past he’d “never recalled Mr. Jackson locking the house.” He later observed two pairs of swimming trunks about two feet from each other on the stone floor of the restroom. A former Jackson security guard also allegedly witnessed this incident; he testified that, out of curiosity, he peeked into the restroom containing Jackson and Culkin and observed Jackson kneeling down to perform oral sex on the boy.
Still, Michael Jackson was acquitted on all charges on June 13, 2005. (Gee Gloria, would you mind explaining to your readers WHY he acquitted? How about being a little fair and balanced, you know?)
Several of the jurors said later that they believe molestation had occurred. Juror Raymond Hultman said on the Today show that he believed Michael Jackson has a pattern of molesting young boys, although he was not persuaded of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in this case. (We debunked them in this post, and in this post.)
Given the serious and substantial new evidence provided under oath during the criminal trial, I again sent a complaint to Santa Barbara Department of Child Welfare Services requesting that they initiate a much-needed investigation into Michael Jackson’s activities with children at Neverland. I urged that the Jackson children be immediately removed on a temporary basis from his custody during the investigation.
Although in a criminal case the prosecution is required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction, the burden of proof for removal of children by Child Protective or Child Welfare Services is much less. There must be clear and convincing evidence of a substantial danger to the physical health, safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being of the minor if left in parental custody, and there must be no reasonable means of protecting the minor’s physical health without removing the child from parental physical custody.
Therefore, whether or not Michael Jackson was convicted is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not his children should be temporarily removed from his care and declared dependent children of the court. Given the testimony at trial by the alleged child victim in the criminal case, his brother, and other witnesses, I believe that the Department of Child Welfare Services of Santa Barbara County should have immediately intervened in order to protect the health and welfare of Jackson’s three minor children. I am convinced that they would have done so if that parent had not been a celebrity.
Children of celebrities should not receive less protection than children of non-celebrities.
You’ve got to be kidding me, right? This should prove, once and for all, that MJ’s haters are not ignorant of the facts; they know EXACTLY what they’re doing when they smear MJ! She researched the case well enough to be able to describe the testimonies of the Arvizos, Jason Francia, the Neverland 5, etc., yet she didn’t devote a single sentence to Mesereau’s demolishment of them under cross-examination! This is the very definition of not only a half-truth, but also the blind loyalty fallacy as well! Her readers will proudly admit that they believe her analysis solely because of her extensive legal record (as if that makes her analysis above reproach!)
For more examples of Allred’s treachery, look no further than her involvement with Daniel Kapon, one of the many “phantom victims” whose claims of molestation dissipated like smoke in a summer breeze once they were scrutinized! For more information, please read this post on MJ’s phantom victims, and this post on how MJ’s settlements were not signs of guilt. This post deals with Allred’s minor involvement with the Chandler family in 1993, prior to their decision to FIRE HER for trying to thwart their plan of suing MJ first by going for a criminal trial. Here is an excerpt from All That Glitters, page 167, where Ray Chandler describes the rationale of Evan’s decision to fire her:
If you want to see something truly hilarious, look no further than this interview Allred granted to Hollywood TV on July 29th, 2009, where she reminds everyone that Conrad Murray is entitled to the presumption of innocence, a fair trial, blah blah blah, yet certainly she didn’t give MJ that presumption, as evidenced from her book!
Ironically, a few weeks ago she gave an interview to Radar Online, and she proudly proclaimed that the public should “remember” the allegations against MJ! Click here to listen to it. (The interview is around 40 minutes long.)
Here is a recent tweet from Lisa Bloom, who criticized the Jackson family for what she perceived as hypocrisy from them. If you think her feelings on MJ have changed because he’s dead, think again! You can see how she used the Blind Loyalty fallacy to make her followers think that MJ’s refusal to testify was a sign of guilt!