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“Speaking of vitiligo…” …and the double standard in Michael Jackson’s case

March 24, 2016

The recent discovery of a blog post of a vitiligo expert on the vitiligo blog of UMASS Medical School gives us the opportunity to once again clarify a few things regarding the skin disease Michael Jackson had and to explain why this is still necessary.

THE EXPERT

On January 18, 2016, Dr. John E. Harris apparently still felt the need to ask: „Did Michael Jackson have vitiligo?“ I don’t know what prompted him to write this post, but it seems he still saw the doubt around him and felt he needed to set the record straight. And he did!
Dr. Harris is a board certified dermatologist who specializes in vitiligo and in diagnosing and offering treatment for patients in the Vitiligo Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Hospital, Division of Dermatology.
In this post he clearly and in easy words explained once again that Jackson indeed did have vitiligo, he explained the apparent development process of the disease as well as the treatment with Benoquin = Monobenzone in Jackson’s case.

Here is the text:

novafotkaDid Michael Jackson have vitiligo?

Believe it or not, among the most commonly searched terms with vitiligo on Google Search is Michael Jackson. That’s probably because he is the most famous person to have claimed to suffer from vitiligo, and the disease is rumored to be responsible for a number of his well-known quirks, like wearing a single white glove. But possibly the most controversial discussion about Michael Jackson is the fact that his skin seemed to get lighter over time, and he was accused of using a bleaching treatment on his skin. That, combined with multiple plastic surgeries that changed a number of his features (nose, chin, etc), suggested that he wanted to look less like himself, and more like someone else – some have said he “wanted to look white”. The discussion is complicated, as was his life, but I think there are a few things that I can clear up in this post.
Michael Jackson was undoubtedly an incredibly talented performer, maybe one of the best in history. I remember seeing his music video Thriller, and being utterly amazed at just how innovative he was, not to mention a great singer, songwriter, and dancer. His fame began as a young child (6 years old) when he sang with his brothers in the Jackson Five, and so he spent almost his entire life in the public eye. That is not easy for anyone, but imagine him as a young man, maybe the most famous person on earth, when white spots started to appear on his skin, including his hands and face. He was likely embarrassed and ashamed (like many people with vitiligo who AREN’T constantly on camera for the world to see), and probably did not know exactly what was happening. And if he did get diagnosed early, his doctor wouldn’t be able to tell him how extensive it would become, or whether he would be able to successfully hide it with clothing and makeup.
First, we know that Michael Jackson stated that he had vitiligo, although this was not until many years after rumors were flying about his “turning white” and his many surgeries. The best-known occasion on which he addressed his vitiligo was during an interview with Oprah on her show in 1993. He said that his skin started to change sometime after Thriller, which was released in 1982, so he was about 24 years old when it started, and he had progressed for about 10 years at the point of the interview. He was a 24-year old man, one of the most famous people on earth for his music, dancing, and music videos, and he acquired a disease that started to change his appearance and was very difficult to hide. I have met and treated many patients with vitiligo, and I can tell you that for many, even those who are not public icons, it is devastating. They often become the focus of attention in any public place, getting stared at, stopped and asked questions (“did you get burned?” is a common one), and cashiers even refuse to take money from their hands. Michael Jackson, the self-proclaimed perfectionist who was never happy with his music or his appearance (he said he hated to look in the mirror and tried not to), must have been very self-conscious about the white spots appearing on his skin.
The single white glove made its appearance in 1983 (along with his signature “moonwalk” dance move), which was right after Thriller was released and when he said his vitiligo started. His new onset vitiligo may have been the reason for starting to wear the glove – while the disease typically affects both sides of the body, it can begin in a small area on one side, like the hand. But the single glove was switched between hands over time, and his costumer said that it was used so the audience could track his quick hand moves. He wore makeup to help cover up the spots, a point that he made in the Oprah interview. But over time and certainly by the time of the interview, he did not have the telltale white spots of vitiligo, he just appeared completely white, which was a big difference from earlier photos in which he had black skin. Could vitiligo do THAT? What about the bleaching cream that many accused him of using in order to “look more white”?
Yes, vitiligo can remove most, if not all, of the pigment in someone’s skin, such that they have no skin color. However that is very rare, and it usually takes many years to do this, with spots appearing during the process. So it’s not likely that vitiligo alone was responsible for his significant transformation in skin color. There is a treatment, though, that can remove the remaining pigment in someone’s skin if they have vitiligo. The treatment is a skin cream called monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone (monobenzone, or Benoquin), and it is, in fact, the only FDA-approved treatment for vitiligo. But in most cases, using this cream doesn’t work unless you have vitiligo, so it is not as simple as someone “wanting to look white” and using the cream. It is a bona-fide vitiligo treatment, approved by the FDA, for people who would rather remove their remaining pigment than continue to look spotted. I have prescribed this for vitiligo patients, and they have always been happy with the results. So it is not too surprising that Michael Jackson would use Benoquin to treat his vitiligo, and this is why he went from having clearly black skin to very white skin. In fact, Oprah commented in an interview after Michael Jackson’s death that he had no pigment in the skin of his hands, that they were essentially translucent. Benoquin would do that, and could do it relatively quickly, after about 12 months of use. From available pictures of Michael Jackson, his skin color seemed to change significantly sometime in the late 1980’s, which would make sense if he was diagnosed in the early 80’s, tried to treat it for a while, and then decided to go the other way and use Benoquin.
Did Michael Jackson have vitiligo? After his death, his autopsy report stated that there were “patches of light and dark pigmented areas” on examination of his skin, and vitiligo was listed as a diagnosis in his medical history. In addition, a tube of Benoquin 20% cream was noted among his medications, revealing that he did use this FDA-approved treatment for vitiligo. He also had a tube of BQ/KA/RA (Benoquin 8%, Kojic acid 1%, and retinoic acid 0.025%), another effective formulation for Benoquin, as well as hydroquinone 8% lotion (which would help to lighten any remaining pigment), and UVA Anthelios XL sunscreen, a good idea for anyone with vitiligo, especially if they had depigmented their skin. Microscopic examination of his skin revealed a lack of pigment and reduced number of melanocytes, which is most consistent with vitiligo, with or without the use of Benoquin, and vitiligo was the official diagnosis on the report. Rare photos of him when his skin was exposed appear to show his depigmented skin, and one (above) shows his largely depigmented arms with some remaining spots of pigment.
So there is no question that Michael Jackson had vitiligo, by his own admission and according to his autopsy after his death. He did appear to use Benoquin to help depigment his skin, but not because he “wanted to be white”, but as an FDA-approved treatment for his vitiligo. He was a remarkable man who was a self-proclaimed perfectionist who was undoubtedly stressed by his vitiligo and visibility, and this may have been an important factor in his avoidance of the public later in life, his use of drugs (which was ultimately the cause of his death), and his frustration about the press’s invasion into his private life. Did he have vitiligo? Yes, but he’s probably not a great example of what it looks like to have the disease, since he was very good at covering it up and, eventually, treated his condition with the skin depigmenting cream Benoquin. As with many of my patients with vitiligo, I hurt for him, and hope that someday people will recognize the disease, its effect on those who suffer from it, and have sympathy for them. I also hope that someday we will have better treatments and, eventually a cure, for patients who seek my help.
http://www.umassmed.edu/vitiligo/blog/blog-posts1/2016/01/did-michael-jackson-have-vitiligo/

THE IGNORAMUSES

In July 2009, after Michael Jackson had died, a lot of articles appeared about his “self-hatred” and “self-loathing”, his “numerous plastic surgeries” and his “skin-bleaching” because he “didn’t want to be black” etc. – written by people who had no idea of the person and of his health conditions. They just judged him without knowing anything – as it was customary with his person.

1D274906555123-today-ANTM-chantelle-140811.today-inline-large

Winnie Harlow, model with vitiligo

Then, by the end of 2009, when the autopsy report confirmed his vitiligo, this kind of articles may have become less, but many still ignored this fact. The troubling thing is that today – after 6 years of much more available information – we still can find articles, posts, comments and insinuations about Jackson’s vitiligo which clearly show the double standard many people still look at this matter. Meanwhile the disease has become more known and the affected persons are much more open about it. We all have seen the photos of the model Winnie Harlow who became famous by her participation in „America’s next top model“.

Other vitiligo cases are well accepted in public and even admired and appreciated by many people.
This website made a great contribution to raise the level of awareness for the disease.

But when it comes to Michael Jackson the disease is still not regarded as a serious condition which has severe effects and needs treatment, especially in his extraordinary case as a celebrity. Meanwhile most journalists acknowledge that he had the disease. But now they often either reduce the disease to a minor condition – a harmless „skin condition that produces blotches“, or they claim he nevertheless bleached – unnecessarily – the rest of his skin or even induced the disease himself.

I am talking of articles that were written after the autopsy report was made public. You would think that writers do some research for their writings and especially about vitiligo, when the autopsy report became available to everybody. But apparently some authors still don’t regard this as a fact worth to be examined or even mentioned.

In March 2010 a certain Professor Gershom Williams wrote an article in “The Journal of Pan African Studies” (to read the whole text please open the pdf) in which he talked about “Color complex and the politics of white supremacy” and for which he used Michael Jackson as an example. Mr. Williams is a historian and lecturer and I am sure he is a very knowledgeable expert on African American and United States history as well as the enslavement heritage and the impact of white supremacy, but he is certainly not an expert on Michael Jackson. Here some quotes from his article:

“The so-called ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson (MJ), as we all know, later in his adult life, underwent numerous cosmetic facial surgeries and skin lightening procedures that literally transformed and altered his appearance.”

And he goes on:

“What were the root causes for MJ’s seemingly anti-Black attitude and apparent acceptance of pro-White aesthetics and standards of attractiveness?
With all of his personal success, fame, fortune and power of influence across our global village, why would he reject and sacrifice his beautiful Black skin and features and surrender his Black racial identity?”

As the “most visible symptoms” for a “Post Trauma Slavery Disorder” Williams mentions among others the use of skin lightening/bleaching creams.

And at the end of his article he says:

“Black self-determination, Black pride, identity and self esteem were seemingly repressed in Michael Jackson’s life experiences. It is unfortunate for too many of us, that when we think that we have finally overcome and transcended racial oppression, we foolishly reject and abandon our cultural roots. And as soon as we become rich and famous, we think that it’s ok to not sustain and maintain Afrocentric art, culture and information in our lives.
I firmly believe that a Black person, even one born and nurtured in Gary, Indiana like Michael Jackson, who does not read, study and analyze the critical writings of W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Carter G. Woodson, Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El Shabazz), Frantz Fanon, bell hooks, Frances Cress Welsing and other anti-hegemonic authors will always be in the dangerous position of being intellectually colonized by the political philosophy of White supremacy.”
Williams G. Michael Jackson: Color Complex and the Politics of White Supremacy
The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol.3, no.7, March 2010, p. 106-112

Perhaps there is some truth in Prof. Williams’ claim that white supremacy caused some blacks to “surrender their racial identity”, but I don’t think this is true for Michael Jackson – on the contrary: I think Williams’ assessment of Jackson is gravely mistaken. And I would expect from an author that he researches the object of his “study” to learn the basic facts about him – which include that the man had vitiligo which he treated with a prescribed FDA-approved medication that evened out his skin color, and not with a “bleaching cream” some colored people may use for cosmetic skin lightening.
Not to mention that he would have learned that Michael was an avid reader and actually may have read some of the writings Williams mentions.
It is significant that the References at the end of this article do not include any source about Michael Jackson himself.

There is another example of an awful and disrespectful statement that a writer with the name Bill Wyman made in his highly biased article in The New Yorker in December 2012:

„In 1986, however, when Jackson learned that he had vitiligo, a skin condition that produces blotches on the body, his response was to bleach his skin and pancake his face with white makeup. His infantile voice, androgynous manner, ever-whitening skin, and de-Africanized features and hair became a grotesque literalization of the crossover aesthetic.“
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/12/24/the-pale-king

The article as a whole is appalling and full of lies, but right now we are focused on the vitiligo statement. The author could have researched the disease and the possible therapies, he could have examined the development in Michael’s case, but it’s obvious he didn’t care for it, and I wonder if he had written in the same disrespectful way about another person suffering from Vitiligo. What is not recognized by the author, is that “skin-bleaching” in a vitiligo case is something completely different than in a case of someone who just wants to obtain a lighter skin. It is actually not “skin-bleaching”, but “depigmentation”. We will see this later in this post.

On February 4, 2016, three weeks after the blog post of Dr. John E. Harris was written, an article of a certain Mr. Anthony L. Hall (“a Bahamian native with an international law practice in Washington, D.C.”, who BTW has a long list of biased articles on MJ) was published as a response to the widely discussed “road trip story” that would be made into a film comedy with a white actor playing Michael Jackson. This disgusting and completely untruthful post still talks about MJ’s “self-hate” and is based on old allegations without proof. He even goes as far as to talk about “psychological defects” of MJ and a “psychological impact” on his children. I want to spare our readers all of the disgusting outpourings of this writer, just post a few quotes to illustrate the ignorance still existing today:

“‘Black and proud’?
By contrast, Michael maintained the charade of saying, “I’m Black and I’m proud.” He never looked more dishonest, if not delusional, than when he said that during a famous 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah questioned him about reports that he wanted a White child to play his younger self in a Pepsi commercial. Michael protested that the very thought of this was “stupid … ridiculous … horrifying … crazy.”
He protested too much, methinks. Not least because those words unwittingly described the racial metamorphosis Michael was undergoing at the time, which would soon see him get “Whiter than White” and even produce White children to play his own in real life.
[…]
Sociologists have proffered the notion of “complex personhood” to explain the psychopathology of Blacks bleaching themselves White. But, no matter how nuanced or complicated the psychology that causes this pathology, there’s no denying the racial abnegation involved.”

He goes on:

“Meanwhile, MLK famously preached that people should “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Michael famously sang that “it don’t matter if you’re Black or White.”
It mattered to him
He practically compelled us to judge him not by the content of his character, but by the color of his (bleached) skin. Whether you’re Black or White has always mattered. And we did not need #BlackLivesMatter or #OscarsSoWhite to throw this into stark relief.”
http://flcourier.com/2016/02/white-actor-playing-michael-jackson-exploits-his-self-hate/

Nowhere in his article Mr. Hall mentions vitiligo and the autopsy report – and this almost 7 years after Jackson’s death.
It is shocking to see this kind of dumb, unfounded writings still today. What do these authors think? Do they think it is legitimate to write something about a person without any research and proof? That accusations and allegations don’t need to be substantiated? Or do they regard it legitimate only in Michael Jackson’s case? Because it was done to him almost his entire life?

I would encourage our readers to leave comments on the site of Hall’s article.

MBEH FACTS

Now let’s go back to Dr. Harris’ post. Two aspects in it stood out for me especially in this paragraph:

„There is a treatment, though, that can remove the remaining pigment in someone’s skin if they have vitiligo. The treatment is a skin cream called monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone (monobenzone, or Benoquin), and it is, in fact, the only FDA-approved treatment for vitiligo. But in most cases, using this cream doesn’t work unless you have vitiligo, so it is not as simple as someone “wanting to look white” and using the cream. It is a bona-fide vitiligo treatment, approved by the FDA, for people who would rather remove their remaining pigment than continue to look spotted. I have prescribed this for vitiligo patients, and they have always been happy with the results. So it is not too surprising that Michael Jackson would use Benoquin to treat his vitiligo, and this is why he went from having clearly black skin to very white skin.“

1024px-Monobenzone-3D-balls

Ball-and-stick model of the monobenzone molecule, the monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone, used to treat medical depigmentation. Source: Wikipedia

So he says that
1. Benoquin or MBEH (monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone) is „the only FDA-approved treatment for vitiligo“, and
2. „the cream doesn’t work unless you have vitiligo“

To say it in plain words:
Michael used the only FDA-approved treatment for vitiligo (for cases with more than 50% coverage) which means he didn’t use any illegal or unsuitable or inadequate substance for his vitiligo.
And at the same time he used medication that can only be used by vitiligo patients and not by someone who just wants to get a lighter skin.

MEDICAL LITERATURE

To back up that statement I did some further research into the Monobenzone treatment as well as the justification for this treatment, and I looked for scientific publications in medical journals to see what is written by experts. I found numerous case studies as well as articles on this subject that also could have been found by any author writing about Michael Jackson.
Some of the publications are not available for free, but my work at a university hospital helped me to get access to these publications without payment.
One thing became clear from these articles: Vitiligo is regarded as a serious disease with far-reaching emotional effects which needs individual treatment to improve the patient’s quality of life.

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Extensive Vitiligo awareness in schools across Ghana by the Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation – Vitsaf

This free article of 2012 with the title “Successful treatment of extensive Vitiligo with Monobenzone” is a case report by an expert team at St. Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim, Norway, and explains the impact of vitiligo on patients as follows:

“The undesirable aesthetic properties of vitiligo, especially facial, may result in significant negative psychological effects, notably a rate of depression twice that of the general population. In some cultures, vitiligo is not well understood. The depigmentation of vitiligo is thought to result from sexually transmitted infections, or of leprosy, and can have a damaging effect on educational, social, and employment opportunities. Patients may feel embarrassed or ashamed of such a visible disorder. Studies have shown that vitiligo is associated with a greater burden of disease to patients, especially those in populations with darker skin. Therefore, treatment, although not medically necessary, provides large psychological gains for the patient, increasing their quality of life.”

They go on:

“Due to the difficulties with repigmentation, it is often easier to achieve depigmentation, especially when vitiligo affects more than 50 percent of the body. It is, however, a more aggressive approach and its use is considered on an individual basis because of the irreversible changes and increased sensitivity to sunburn of the treated areas. […] Monobenzone (monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone, MBEH) is usually the treatment of choice of depigmentation therapy for severe cases of vitiligo, and MBEH is usually used in concentrations of 20 to 40 percent to achieve the desired permanent depigmentation.”

Regarding side effects of the MBEH (= Benoquin) treatment they say:

“Side effects of MBEH include skin irritation, contact dermatitis, ocular side effects, exogenous ochronosis, and difficulties in predicting response. There can be repigmentation because of sun exposure or rarely as a reaction to the drug. Due to these side effects, MBEH treatment can be somewhat controversial, and its use has been limited in some countries, such as the Netherlands, which has restricted it since 1990. MBEH has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration since 1952 for permanent depigmentation of extensive vitiligo.”

The conclusion of the specialist team is:

“This case highlights the importance of timely aggressive treatment of vitiligo and its effect on the patient’s quality of life. Physicians should not have to shy away from prescribing the more potent treatments, due to the significant negative psychosocial impact vitiligo can have. A generally accepted psychosocial questionnaire and a modern study investigating the rates of side effects of MBEH would allow the development of a patient benefit-risk index, which could help both patients and physicians determine if MBEH treatment is appropriate for their individual cases.”
Rordam OM et al. Successful Treatment of Extensive Vitiligo with Monobenzone.
J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 Dec; 5(12): 36–39.

fig.4 Italian article

Fig. 4 of the Italian article: “The patient hides the skin really or presumed imperfect”. Doesn’t this picture remind us of Michael’s surgical masks?

There is another interesting article of 1997, which goes much more into detail about the emotional impact of vitiligo. It was published by doctors of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Florence, Italy, and they called the premise of their article: “The skin as a mirror”. Unfortunately it is not available for free, but I can provide a few quotes.

According to the Italian dermatologists vitiligo can be accompanied by the following conditions:

“Sometimes there are associated eye abnormalities, autoantibodies, and a high incidence of associated disorders, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, diabetes mellitus, , pernicious anemia, Addison’s disease, myasthenia gravis, lupus erythematosus, Crohn’s disease, scleroderma, alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis, and biliary cirrhosis. Many of these disorders have been reported to be associated with psychological problems.”

As to the pathogenesis of the disease, the authors say:

“To date, the etiology and pathogenesis are still unknown, although there have been reports of several precipitating factors, such as severe sunburn, repeated trauma, and emotional stress (vitiligo has been reported to be more frequent during wars, after bombing attacks). […] Other workers calculated that 33% of their cases of vitiligo could be considered emotionally triggered […].”

…and they tell this interesting case of a young woman:

“A case was reported by an investigator concerning a pretty 22-year-old young woman, married with a child, who was admitted to hospital because she was afraid that her skin lesions would enlarge. She presented vitiligo localized on her right hand and three little spots on her breast and abdomen. A psychologically oriented interview provided evidence (not noted by her previously) that her lesions were localized in the same points where her father presented war wounds, making evident a process of identification.”

Vitiligo2

The glaring difference between black skin and white vitiligo patches

They go on:

“While vitiligo occurs worldwide and affects all races, it is particularly a problem in persons whose normal skin color is dark (skin phototypes V and VI), because of the strong contrast of brown and black skin with the chalk-white color of the vitiligo macules. White persons who can acquire a deep tan (skin type IV) also have a more serious problem of disfigurement. For these people, vitiligo can be a major medical tragedy, and not simply a cosmetic disorder. Therefore, although vitiligo is painless and not associated with shedding scales of skin, such as occurs in psoriasis, it can be a devastating disease. The contrast of the normally colored skin and the white spots gives these affected people a harlequin or leopard-like appearance that can limit their potential for leading normal lives in terms of marriage, family, friendship, and even work. It is no wonder that patients with vitiligo have been found to suffer from feelings of inferiority, to become aggressive, to feel a sense of shame, and sometimes to become secluded and resentful.”
Hautmann G, Panconesi E. Vitiligo: A psychologically influenced and influencing disease.
Clinics in Dermatology, Volume 15, Issue 6, November–December 1997, Pages 879–890

The authors present another example of a female vitiligo patient who wrote a letter in which she described the effects of vitiligo on her life with words like these:

“I feel as though life stopped somewhere around age 23 or so for me.”
“I am not enjoying life the way it was meant to be. I am simply existing.”
“I feel like I should join the circus as one of their freak acts. They have the snake man, an albino lady, a fat lady, now what they need is the bleach lady.”
“I feel like a mistake.”
“At least fully dressed, with long pants and long-sleeved shirts, I look almost like one of you humans. To be rid of vitiligo would be like being reborn for me, to be normal and happy.”

The authors recommend a “close collaboration between the nonpsychiatric medical staff and the psychiatrist. The purpose is to teach the nonpsychiatric physician to include psychosocial variables in patient-care programs and enable the physician to deal with patients directly in making an integrative diagnosis.”
Their last sentence is: “Never abandon the patient or refer him or her coldly, never ‘wash your hands’ of the patient.” (I remember similar words said by doctors in the Murray trial.)

fig.5 Yale article

Fig. 5 of the Yale article: Numerous perifollicular macules of repigmentation following unprotected exposure to the sun.

This article of 2001 of dermatologists at Yale Medical School in the US gives similar information:

“Eventually it became clear that application of MBEH to one site, for example, the face, could be associated with a loss of pigment at a distant site, for example, the arms.”

“As with other treatment modalities, the first step in depigmentation therapy is to choose the right patient. An individual with widespread extensive vitiligo where the probability of cosmetically significant repigmentation is nonexistent represents an excellent candidate.”

“Strict limitation of sun exposure via physical barriers and high-SPF sunscreens is essential following depigmentation therapy, not only to avoid burns but to avoid areas of perifollicular repigmentation.”

“For the patient with widespread vitiligo, depigmentation therapy represents a viable treatment option. The most commonly used therapy is topical MBEH, and currently it is the only medication that is FDA-approved for this indication.”
Bolognia JL et al. Depigmentation therapy.
Dermatologic Therapy, Volume 14, Issue 1, pages 29–34, January 2001

THE DIFFERENCE

As we saw from these case studies that Vitiligo patients deserve adequate care and treatment which sometimes requires depigmentation, let’s look once more into the monobenzone/Benoquin = MBEH treatment. Dr. Harris clearly said that Benoquin is only approved for Vitiligo patients and is of no help to people who want to lighten their skin for cosmetic reasons. I think this is the main factor many writers or commenters don’t (want to) understand in Jackson’s case. The Norwegian doctors above already explained some of the side effects of administering Benoquin which are already serious enough for persons with normal skin when they use the cream (skin irritation, contact dermatitis, ocular side effects, exogenous ochronosis, difficulties in predicting response).
But I think the biggest danger for using MBEH on normal skin is its radical and permanent effect of destroying the melanocytes completely and permanently, making the skin not lighter, but snow-white, and making its effects irreversible and erratic. Therefore Benoquin is contraindicated for all skin conditions or cosmetic procedures except Vitiligo.

Whichever information site you go to, they all warn explicitly of using Monobenzone for anything other than vitiligo:

„Monobenzone is used to treat the uneven appearance of the skin due to a loss of skin color (vitiligo). It works by permanently removing color from normal skin located around skin with vitiligo. This will help to make the appearance of the skin more even.
Do not use this drug to treat other skin discoloration problems (“sun spots,” “age spots,” freckles, skin discoloration caused by hormone medicine, perfumes, pregnancy, or skin trauma). Monobenzone is not a mild cosmetic bleach. Because it causes a permanent discoloration of the skin, it may not be the right treatment for these other skin conditions.”
http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6692/monobenzone-topical/details

monobenzone-benoquin“Benoquin Cream 20% contains a potent depigmenting agent and is not a cosmetic skin bleach. Use of Benoquin Cream 20% is contraindicated in any conditions other than disseminated vitiligo. Benoquin Cream 20% frequently produces irreversible depigmentation, and it must not be used as a substitute for hydroquinone.”
https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=ADDB5A47-6693-4F77-8622-C2631C17A119

There are more dangers from depigmentation by Benoquin, like ultraviolet damage and sunburns, unpredictable effects like repigmentation, risks from skin-to-skin contact, dry skin, itching, rash etc.

“The entire monobenzone therapy usually takes 1 – 2 years and may even take longer. The general advice is not to apply monobenzone to every part of the body at once. This is because it is usual for depigmentation to occur in another part of the body different from where monobenzone is applied.
Other precautions to take including avoiding skin-to-skin contact for at least 2 hours after application. Contact with the eyes and mucosal surfaces should be avoided. Therefore, bed time application of monobenzone is not recommended.
When the 20% strength produces unsatisfactory results, 30% and 40% monobenzone should be used.
Lastly, since depigmentation stops the production of melanin, the skin is placed at greater risks of ultraviolet damage including sunburns. Therefore, sunscreens should always be worn over depigmented areas of the skin.”
http://www.progressivehealth.com/vitiligo-depigmentation.htm

“Potential side effects are dry skin, itching, or a rash. Because of the possibility of these side effects, it is not recommended to use monobenzone on the face. This medication has a systemic effect, so even areas where it is not applied will still depigment. Since no pigment will be left in the skin, people who have depigmented must be very cautious about sun exposure due to the risk of burning.”  https://www.vitiligosupport.org/treatments_and_research/depigmentation.cfm

This site is obviously an information site for people interested in “objective info on safe & effective skin lightening”. Even this site is very serious and detailed with the advice to NOT use Monobenzone for skin-bleaching:

“If you’re considering using monobenzone to achieve a lighter complexion – stop. If you have already started using monobenzone and you do not have vitiligo, stop immediately.
(Did that grab your attention? I hope it did!)
Of all the chemicals that bleach the skin, monobenzone is the worst thing anyone with normal skin can use. And by ‘normal skin’, I mean the skin of someone without vitiligo.”

“In vitiligo sufferers, monobenzone use may lead to pigment-free skin within 1 to 2 years. However, monobenzone has unpredictable effects, and even vitiligo sufferers being treated with monobenzone by their doctors have difficulty maintaining their even and white color. Spots of pigmentation may reappear after several years because of the follicular reservoirs that can produce melanin.
Michael Jackson (rest in peace), was the world’s most famous person with vitiligo. Yet, even after what was probably years of intense monobenzone treatment with the best doctors available to him and all the resources he had available, he still had to live under a veil of make-up and gloves. It is important to realize that even for vitiligo sufferers being treated with monobenzone by their doctors, make-up and other ways of camouflaging the skin often become a way of life, as patches of color may remain resistant to depigmentation.”

“Unlike skin lightening creams which only lighten the areas it is applied to, monobenzone applied anywhere on the body will lead to white patches at different areas. For example, if you applied monobenzone on your face, you could develop permanent white patches and streaks on your arms, legs and torso as well.”
http://www.whiterskin.info/skin-bleaching-with-monobenzone/

And this describes the danger for people who use Benoquin without having vitiligo:

• Within one to two years, the skin may start to repigment itself
While this repigmentation may happen to vitiligo sufferers as well, it occurs sooner and more aggressively in people with normal skin. This is because vitiligo sufferers’ immune systems are constantly attacking their own pigment cells. There is no such action in people with normal skin. With a fully-functioning immune system, melanocytes will become active again. Spots and patches of pigmentation will start to appear over previously white skin, leading to a patchy appearance.
• If the skin does not repigment, expect a lifetime of zero sun protection
Because melanin offers sun protection, completely depigmented skin which has no melanin offers zero sun protection. Vitiligo sufferers who have successfully depigmented wear hats, long sleeves and long pants outdoors all the time to protect themselves from sun damage. Even on cloudy days, sunscreens with broad coverage are a must.

I think from all this information it became clear why Monobenzone or Benoquin is not usable by healthy people who just intend to lighten their skin. There are too many serious risks, and the effects of MBEH application are different for people without vitiligo than for vitiligo sufferers. The use of MBEH has to take place under the supervision of a doctor. With all the unpredictability of the side effects and risks and dangers by using MBEH, it is implausible that Michael would have used the cream to just whiten his skin on a whim. He would have risked his health and his whole appearance because his look would have been unpredictable. The use of MBEH is incalculable, or “bona fide”, as Dr. Harris called it.

Darcel de VlugSNF13GIRL2_682_865770a

Darcel de Vlugt – once a black girl with vitiligo patches, now a white-skinned woman after depigmentation

But as for vitiligo sufferers we need to understand:

“Despite these negative side effects, its [the cream’s] potential cosmetic and psychosocial benefits are significant and should always be taken into consideration when treating these patients, who may feel distressed and stigmatized by it. A quick and effective treatment is important to ease the burden of disease from these patients and increase their quality of life.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3533321/

they-dont-care-about-us2

Michael’s right arm full of vitiligo macules

So in summary, Michael Jackson had a documented vitiligo and used approved medication for the treatment of it. The disease has serious effects which impair the quality of life for the patients, so in serious cases a treatment in form of depigmentation can be necessary. For this depigmentation (not skin-bleaching) scientists found a depigmentation agent (Monobenzone = MBEH = Benoquin) which became the only FDA-approved depigmentation cream for vitiligo patients – and for nobody else. Now can anybody tell me what’s so inappropriate about Michael Jackson using this medication for his disfiguring disease? Especially when he was the most famous person on earth, an entertainer, who was permanently in the public eye?
Furthermore, do these people who accuse Michael Jackson of “hating his race” want to say that the depigmentation therapy is reserved for whites? Because black people “deny their race” when using the therapy? Hence, they seem to be the ones who deny a black man the right to use the same medication as a white person and thus make a therapy a privilege for whites! Instead of accusing the black person suffering from vitiligo of “self-hate” and “racial abnegation” they should leave him the same right to choose the same medication that white patients can use with much less attention, just because the difference is not so apparent. Did they ever think about that?

Finally, I would like to say thank you to Dr. Harris who with his post became a voice for Michael and an authority for us to refer to.

 

12509173_1406783252685161_1474741362126795185_n

Hillwood, Neverland and the Importance of being Honest

February 6, 2016

To explain my long silence all I can say is that surviving in the broil of lies and patriotic craziness here with little hope for a better future does not invite to a quiet analysis of Michael Jackson’s situation. It invites you to shutting yourself out and escaping from reality.

In my case the escape has taken the form of growing lilies on the window-sill and weeks spent on redesigning my garden, which also involved ordering a crazy number of new plants and will need a crazy amount of time for planting them in spring. This still has to be coped with, but at the very least it will be a distraction.

Why am I telling you this? Because when studying the various gardens in search for new ideas and harmonious color schemes Michael Jackson somewhat reminded me of himself – the garden that incidentally came my way demanded a comparison with Neverland and once again testified to a huge distortion in public perception of everything Michael did or didn’t do. Simultaneously the life story of the garden’s owner opened my eyes to some incredible details in our joint (Russian/American) history as well as the reality we now live in.

There is even something supernatural in this accidental chain of uncovering the truth – you look for one thing and find another and at some point all of it fuses together into one knot which gets untangled as if by some magic resulting in a totally new perception of things. And surprisingly, very often it is Michael Jackson who is the key to open the door to this new reality.

Let me no longer speak in riddles and explain how the incredibly different subjects fused together and came to be brought in one post.

HILLWOOD

The whole thing started with Hillwood garden in Washington D.C. the photos of which were found in some Russian blog. The blogger was in awe of the splendor of the garden and elegance of the various artwork collected by the owner of Hillwood estate, Marjorie Merriweather Post.

Marjorie Merriweather Post turned out to be a leading American socialite, who was famous for her lavish lifestyle, business acumen, four husbands, philanthropy, a fabulous collection of art and jewelry that used to belong to French and Russian nobility and for her unlimited wealth – she had several homes with an average of 100 rooms each and according to Wiki the net worth of her estate in today’s money is estimated at $5 billion.

Most of her money was amassed during the Great Depression in the US when people couldn’t afford coffee and had it replaced with a drink devised by Marjorie’s father called Postum (which was actually considered a healthier replacement as it was made of cereals).

Marjorie Merriweather Post (March 15, 1887 – September 12, 1973) was a leading American socialite and the founder of General Foods, Inc.

She was the daughter of C. W. Post and Ella Letitia Merriweather. At age 27, when her father died, she became the owner of the rapidly growing Postum Cereal Company, founded in 1895. She was subsequently the wealthiest woman in the United States, with a fortune worth about $250 million.

Though a shrewd businesswoman and dedicated philanthropist, the cereal heiress is most remembered for her extravagant tastes, which included many lavish homes and possessions.

In 1925 she built the largest apartment in New York history, with 54 rooms – including one room for ball gowns and a cold-storage room for furs – spread out over three floors.

Lobby

The lobby of  Marjorie Merriweather Post’s triplex overlooking Central Park in New York. Post leased it for 15 years at $6,250 a month. Photo: http://nymag.com/realestate/features/apartments/

Her 126-room Mar-A-Lago mansion in Palm Beach was built two years later. In 1985 it was purchased from the Post Family Trust by Donald Trump, who reopened it as a private club.

Post and her second husband, E. F. Hutton, owned Sea Cloud, the largest privately owned sea-going yacht in the world at the time. She also owned Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks, which she considered a “rustic retreat”. It included a fully staffed main lodge and private guest cabins, each staffed with its own butler. The expansive Great Camp, built in 1923 eventually contained nearly 70 buildings on 300 acres.

The home Post shared with her third husband Joseph Davies in Washington, DC, was called Tregaron. Their other mansion in Long Island is now the C.W. Post College at Long Island University.

The estate Post lived in after divorcing her fourth husband was the 25-acre Hillwood in Washington, D.C. and it was opened to public in 1977 as a museum to display her extensive French and Russian art collection.

Post died on September 9, 1973, in Washington, D.C.

It is interesting that though Post was born at the end of the 19th century by the time she died Michael Jackson was already fifteen, and there was a rather long period of time they shared (like a virtual grandmother and grandson).

So in theory the lavish style that evoked admiration for the cereal heiress should have been similarly accepted for Jackson who earned his money by hard work and touring, however the media perception of them is the opposite though their lifestyles cannot be even compared – look at the 126 rooms in just one of her homes and at 10 or so in his Neverland and you will realize the difference.

But what is okay for some is not okay for others for some reason. The media is still heavily ridiculing Michael for the millions he had to spend on the upkeep of Neverland and the “two floors occupied by his entourage on tours” though to every normal person it is clear that in his situation it was a necessity, while Mrs. Post’s thirst for splendor is not even a subject for discussion though her extravagance was a pure whim, indulgence and even public affront considering that it was taking place during the Great Depression.

Actually her lavishness earned her an informal (and respectful) title of “American royalty” while Michael, the true king of people’s hearts, is forced to defend his much more reserved lifestyle even after his death.

Or take the sculptures in Marjorie Post’s garden, for example.

The more you see of them the more you realize the hypocrisy of it all – what was considered “living artfully” for her would have been called “weird fantasy” for Michael. In fact, if he had had all those sculptures Marjorie Post possessed, he would have been ripped into pieces even more than he was.

The sculptures that Michael’s haters would surely call “naked minors” were scattered all over Mrs. Post’s garden:Sculpture 1

 

Sculpture 1

And these could be easily called “minors in full frontal nudity”:

 

Sculpture2

Photo: http://happywonderer.com/tag/hillwood-estate/

And if the following pieces had been in Neverland they would have made the central piece of “evidence” against their owner as these are apparently “young boys with their genitalia exposed”, and with some “weird” legs at that:

Sculpure 2

And what would the media say if Neverland had the following sculpture of a boy with a horn to his mouth? I am even afraid to think of their comments:

Sculpture4Actually there are many, many more statues of children all over Hillwood:

And as an icing on a cake there is a statue of “adolescent Eros” right in front of the house!

This statue of adolescent Eros is placed in the frontal part of the estate as if welcoming new arrivals and inviting them to this den of sin with a cunning little look on his face (joke).

But seriously, guys, if we forget for a moment that the adolescent Eros and other “naked minors” were in the garden of a successful socialite and imagine them in Neverland instead, what would be the result?

The media would be hysterical and haters would demand explanations “Why children-why naked-why so many???” The attackers would be digging up the names of ancient sculptors to prove that they were boy-lovers (and the owner of the estate was obliged to know it!) and the defenders would have to counter the attacks by feeble excuses that these are objects of art anyone can possess – the argument which will be readily laughed at and dismissed by the critics.

You will agree that the picture is realistic, but isn’t this reality totally preposterous too?

Boys will be boys, cover

The book seized from Michael as “evidence” of I don’t know what

The constant need to explain most innocent situations in Michael’s life is indeed ridiculous – like, for example, having to explain why some fan sent Michael a book portraying boys playing on the beach and why another book of photos bore his inscription that this is the joyful life he would want for his children (both seized by Tom Sneddon as some “evidence”).

No nonsense like that is said about the Hillwood sculptures, however the horror of this double standard seems to be escaping people’s attention.

This example is also an illustration of how easy it is to blow things out of proportion, distort public perception and create a myth, and do it totally artificially beginning with the allegations proper in the first place.

This intentional malice is seen best when you compare what the media says about the Neverland sculptures with the bronze figures per se. The innocent sculptures portray boys and girls engaged in usual kids’ activities like riding a bicycle, playing with a dog, climbing bars and so on. However what is said about them is absolutely no joke.

NEVERLAND AND THE MEDIA

A recent article dated May 2015 referred to the Neverland lovely statues as “the craziest and most bizarre things on Michael Jackson’s property”. The text accompanying the photos is disgusting – it openly exploits the theme of “young boys”, presents the place as “crazy”, “creepy” and “bizarre” and mentions the 2003 molestation accusations saying no word about Michael’s full acquittal.

The idiocy of the text becomes obvious when you see the statues and compare word with reality, however the apparent discord doesn’t stop a certain Abigail Elise from repeating the old mantras. Her task is simple – to refresh the old lies earlier planted into people’s minds and not allow any different perception of Neverland from the one suggested by the media.

Neverland Ranch For Sale: Photos Of The Craziest And Most Bizarre Things On Michael Jackson’s Property

BY ABIGAIL ELISE  ON 05/29/15 AT 1:10 PM

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is on the market for $100 million. Check out some of the most bizarre structures on the 2,700-acre property.

Photos taken in July of last year by Vice revealed that many of the property’s creepy features still exist — a water tower with a young boy sitting on a crescent moon, a carousel, a swing ride, the park’s train tracks, a cotton candy stand, a fake fortune teller, a full-sized Ferris wheel, a rotating ride known as “the Zipper,” and even a red and white-striped circus tent.

The property’s private zoo and amusement park are no longer in operation, but many structures and bizarre statues remain.

sculpture1A bronze statue of a young boy with a dog stands sits abandoned on the grounds of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California on July 3, 2009.

sculpture2This statue of a young boy riding a bicycle is one of many bronze sculptures that depict young children at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California on July 3, 2009.PHOTO: REUTERS

Sculpture3Two bronze sculptures of young boys playing on a small jungle gym sits on the grounds of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California on July 3, 2009.PHOTO: REUTERS

All photos: REUTERS

Jackson had a copper bathtub inside his 12,000 square-foot home on the Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California. After the 2003 investigation that accused the singer of child molestation, he claimed he didn’t want to live on the property anymore. Photo taken on July 3, 2009. PHOTO: REUTERS

http://www.ibtimes.com/neverland-ranch-sale-photos-craziest-most-bizarre-things-michael-jacksons-property-1944145

What does a copper bathtub have to do with this story about “young boys”, except that it is making some thinly veiled innuendoes? The text is not only suggestive and biased, but is also factually wrong – the photos in Vice it refers to were taken in Neverland in 2007-2008 when Michael was still alive as three trespassers who raided the property at night explained and certainly not in “July of last year” as the author claims.

One of those three photographers (Jonathan H.) who broke into Neverland on several occasions had the courage to tell the real story and disprove the media verdict that “Neverland is the weirdest place on Earth”. It took him some time to write a kind of a confession in which he said that he couldn’t resist going to Neverland again and again, as he felt it to be a place to escape to from the world of cynicism and terror. He added that everything he saw there indicated that Michael was an innocent man.

Here are some quotes from his outstanding account:

Sculpture4“I’m writing this simply to tell a story. It’s a story that I didn’t really have the inclination to say before. Now that Michael’s “Ranch” no longer exists, and — rides dismantled — it simply stands as a bank-owned shadow of its former self, I wanted say a few things about my experience at Neverland, and the truth behind how I was able to get in.

In many ways, I feel this is sort of a confession. [..] As I write this, I still try to justify my actions by thinking how much Michael truly wanted to share his world. It was a genuine wish of his for everyone to understand things the way he did. And the world largely didn’t understand what he was trying to communicate with Neverland, so he abandoned it.

People have asked me over the past year what it felt like to be in Neverland at night, alone. Others asked me how I felt about Michael, after seeing Neverland, but I couldn’t completely answer that […].

Everything I saw at the Ranch indicated to me that he was an innocent man.

The times I spent at Neverland are among the most memorable moments of my life. Neverland allowed me to escape the cynical, xenophobic world of a country mired in war, terrorism, and daily reports of suicide bombers.  They may have been only a few nights of escapism, at best, but they allowed me to put myself in the shoes of Michael — moon walking my own way among the soon-to-end dreamscape of a truly magnanimous soul. May you rest in peace, Michael; your dream will live on.”

http://www.terrastories.com/bearings/goodbye-michael-jackson

The above piece is little known as the media promotes their standard story about “young boys” repeated by Abigail Elise last year, so it is all the more interesting to know the real message that Michael’s Neverland conveyed to a trespasser who despite all the surreal circumstances of his night visits could still manage to see it as a joyful and safe place and Michael’s dreamworld about a much better humanity.

Many are wondering why Michael was so nervous and anxious in the few months before his death. Putting aside the role of AEG Live in his situation just look at the media headlines in spring 2009 regarding the Neverland auction (arranged by Tohme without Michael’s authorization) and you will realize that the media nastiness alone could bring him to a brink of a nervous breakdown.

At that time he was only beginning to get over the shock of the trial, and though he was fully acquitted on all counts, it turned out that all the sacrifice and torture of it were in vain as in March-April 2009 it started all over again.

The ugly headlines were loud and hysterical and capitalized on the theme of “young boys” who were “naked” in the opinion of some media which was in full defiance with reality as the statues are actually the quintessence of innocence:

Neverland Filled With Booty Hole Naked Sculptures Of Boys??

Bossip (March 13, 2009): “No “man” should be surrounded by those types of items. Jacko is just a disgusting bottomless pit of pure pedophilia.”

A bronze statue of three children fishing in the creek behind the main house. Photo: AP

A bronze statue of three children fishing in the creek behind the main house. Photo: AP

Neverland Was Filled with Sculpted Boys

TMZ (March 12, 2009) Michael Jackson has fired off another legal attack in the hopes of keeping his personal creepy stuff from Neverland off of the auction block — but these legal papers come fully equipped with an item-by-item breakdown of every bizarre, disturbing item on his property. Warning: It gets weird…

Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Filled With Statues of Small Boys

Zimbio.com: It’s no surprise the former king of pop is trying to kill the auction, especially after TMZ released an alleged list of all the items set to be sold. The list includes 2,952 items, many of them works of art, including statues of young boys.  The guy really loves little boys, not exactly surprising.

Sculpture6

JACKSON’S CREEPY CHILDREN STATUES COLLECTION

GlamourVanity.com:  Checking out the new photos of the auctioned stuff I freaked out in seeing these children statues that, judging by the pics, were placed in the garden. Looking at these statues I just can’t help but think of the pedophilia scandal Jackson was involved in 2005.

Sculpture12

 

Sculpture13Auction of Michael Jackson’s sinister child-friendly art and toys called off

The Daily Mail: “Surreal: Bronze figures of children feature heavily in the auction.”

Photo: WENN.com

Photo: WENN.com

The contrast between the pictures and what the media screams about them is so evident that the liars’ only chance is that readers will not go further than the headlines and will never look at the sculptures – which is exactly what the media counts on in order to reach the desired negative effect.

Well, it’s high time they stopped making fool of themselves – their tricks and agenda are so obvious that it isn’t funny any more. These vile manipulations with the truth are already backfiring as this unjustified sneer and scorn for Jackson strips all the media of their credibility, and this will be a sort of retribution these people will bring upon their heads with their own hands.

There is nothing creepy or bizarre about the Neverland sculptures. The copy of the bronze called “Snapshot”, for example, was purchased by the city of Lakewood in 1994 as its first piece of public art. Kathy Berls, president of the Lakewood Arts Council that chose the work said that Lakewood officials had no idea who the persons the sculpture featured (and probably didn’t know that its original was in Neverland).

Copy of "Snapshot" in Lakewood

Copy of “Snapshot” in Lakewood

The bronze depicts young Michael with friends and was commissioned from artist Jane DeDecker 20 years ago. Its story is told by Michael’s fan (UK loves MJ):

“Jane met Michael Jackson at an arts festival in Los Angeles in 1992. She had a booth on Santa Monica Boulevard, and he stopped to admire her work. Within ten minutes they were surrounded by fans, and Michael fled. The next day he returned in disguise, bought two pieces, and visited with DeDecker for nearly an hour. After that meeting, he commissioned her to make this piece, “Snapshot,” a candid scene of Michael and his friends. He sent her photographs for the work, pictures that she still has. DeDecker put a baseball glove on Jackson’s left hand which delighted him. Says DeDecker, “I just kept everything low-key, and I think he (Jackson) wanted it that way. He was just such a kind man. He loved my work and was always so supportive of me.”

She says “Snapshot” isn’t so much about Jackson as it is about multiculturalism and youth. “And that is still paramount.”

Characters in the sculpture, from the left: Gary Coleman holding a camera; a friend of the sculptor’s; Brandi Jackson Michael’s niece; Janet Jackson Michael’s sister standing; Macaulay Culkin; Michael Jackson; and Brett Ratner a film maker friend of Jackson’s drinking a Coke. The little boy at the rear is a friend of the artist.

The original work is in Michael’s Neverland sculpture garden. The bronze in Lakewood is a copy [..].

The same fan tells the story of the Neverland “Circle of Peace” sculpture. It was created by Utah artist Gary Price, who said that it was “a popular piece of artwork” which “is commissioned in three, five and seven children making up the circle”. So the piece was not made specially for Michael Jackson and is quite popular with other customers too (are all of them “weird” I wonder?).

The idea behind the circle of children playing is beautiful and is actually the essence of everything Michael believed in:

“A beautiful piece chosen by Michael, the life-sized bronze sculpture depicts children from different ethnic backgrounds, including a child with Down syndrome, holding hands in a game of Ring Around the Rosie. Artist Price described the work as ‘Portraying children from all walks of life playing with and enjoying each other. The circle that the children form represents the continuum of humanity. The clasped hands represent the interaction and cooperation, together with compassion and respect, which engenders humanity. Respect for each other’s uniqueness bridges the gap between any indifference.

“I created a space in the circle and it is fascinating to watch children interact with the piece. Quickly, they notice the gap and instantly clasp the two outstretched hands and complete the circle. Each and every person is a vital element in this wonderful circle of life’. This piece is a popular piece of artwork and is commissioned in 3.5. and 7 children making up the circle.”

The ‘Circle of Peace’ has been returned to Neverland and now surrounds a bed of flowers.”

The Circle of Peace is back in Neverland

The Circle of Peace is back in Neverland

Only complete cynics can claim that those innocent figures may be suggestive of any filth. And the sculptures in Neverland are definitely a much more pleasing sight than some in Marjorie Post’s collection:

Hillwood statues of children2

Statues of “small boys” in Hillwood gardens

Hillwood dog cemetery4

Hillwood gardens. Dog cemetery

These are of course not the best Hillwood estate specimen as the majority of its artwork is indeed first-class.

To name only a few there are ancient icons, French furniture, tapestry and porcelain there, two Faberge eggs, a diamond diadem that once belonged to Napoleon’s wife and the nuptial crown worn by the last Russian empress at her wedding ceremony.

And this is exactly the point that brings us to another side of the story – the way Mrs. Post acquired those gorgeous objects of art, at least those of them associated with the Imperial Russia, the ones her collection started with at all.

THE COLLECTION

No, no, there was nothing criminal there. Marjorie Post officially got them from the Soviet government that was mindlessly selling the national treasures at minimal prices hoping that this way they would get hard currency for ‘industrialization’ of the country. The money collected was scarce while the losses for museums were colossal, however this was happening mostly in 1929-1933 after which this horrible practice was supposed to cease.

However Mrs. Post acquired her objects of art much later and it is the years when it took place that is giving me shudders. The years were 1937-1938 when her third husband, James Davies was an US Ambassador to the Soviet Union.

Outsiders wouldn’t certainly know what this period meant for our history. This was the time of the biggest Stalin purges when more than 600,000 innocent people were shot dead (1000 people a day for two years) and several million more died in labor camps where they were sent on framed-up charges. The years are called the time of Terror …  but what does it have to do with Marjorie Merriweather Post?

I had no idea either and Wiki explained it, and the explanation will be no less interesting to you than it was to me (same as to some Stalin’s apologists if there any here):

A portrait of Marjorie Merriweather Post at the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens.

A portrait of Marjorie Merriweather Post at the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens.

“In 1935 Post married her third husband, Joseph E. Davies, a Washington, DC, lawyer. Before the couple divorced in 1955, they lived in the Soviet Union from 1937 to 1938, while he served as the second American ambassador to the Soviet Union. During this time, Davies and Post acquired many valuable Russian works of art from Soviet authorities.

During the 1930s, the Soviet government under Joseph Stalin began selling art treasures and other valuables seized from the Romanov family and former Russian aristocrats after the Russian revolution to earn hard currency for its industrialization and military armament programs.

Critics have claimed that these items were expropriated; however, Post and Davies’s transactions were from the recognized governmental authority. Neither she nor Davies was involved with the original seizing of the items.

Allegations later surfaced that many works of art from the Tretyakov Gallery and other collections were either donated or offered at nominal prices to Post and Davies, who were both art collectors.

Davies is also alleged to have purchased art expropriated from Soviet citizens well after the Russian Revolution, including victims of Stalin’s Terror at discount prices from Soviet authorities.

A word about Mrs. Post’s husband – Joseph Davies:

While Davies’ predecessor, William Christian Bullitt, Jr. had been an admirer of the Soviet Union who gradually came to loathe Stalin’s brutality and repression, Davies remained unaffected by news of the disappearance of thousands of Russians and foreigners in the Soviet Union throughout his stay as U.S. Ambassador. His reports were pragmatic, optimistic, and usually devoid of criticism of Stalin and his policies.

Davies attended the Trial of the Twenty One, one of the Stalinist purge trials of the late 1930s. Despite widespread evidence to the contrary, he was convinced of the guilt of the accused, although he was a lawyer himself.  His opinions were at odds with most of the non-Stalinist press of the day, as well as those of his own staff, many of whom had been in the country far longer than Davies. The career diplomat Charles Bohlen, who served under Davies in Moscow, later wrote:

“Ambassador Davies was not noted for an acute understanding of the Soviet system, and he had an unfortunate tendency to take what was presented at the trial as the honest and gospel truth. I still blush when I think of some of the telegrams he sent to the State Department about the trial.”

For some unknown exploits (possibly, a friendship with the regime) Stalin awarded Davies with the Order of Lenin, the highest form of distinction in the Soviet Union. Considering all that, as well as Davies’s undisputedly benign attitude to the tyrant and the couple’s passion for collecting art I wouldn’t be surprised if the allegations about donations to them or sale of treasures at nominal prices were actually true – especially since by that moment the sell-out practice had long ceased and no one else but them were allowed to buy.

However even this is not an end to the story. Wiki refers to a certain book by Tim Tzouliadis called  “The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia” which says that Ambassador Davis also had a surprisingly indifferent attitude to the fate of his own countrymen who found themselves trapped in the SU.

This was something completely novel to me and though the book itself is unavailable online (except for some pages on Amazon) the reviews of it made a thrilling read. They provided not only the details, but said that “the American Ambassador actively misinformed Roosevelt to protect his own lavish lifestyle”:

“In the 1930’s the US was going through an enormous economic decline and rampant unemployment. The USSR seemed attractive to many Americans: the country was stabilizing after the October Revolution, in the middle of what was considered a grand social experiment – the first communist country. This was exciting at the time – a young country that had just overthrown Tsarist rule and was trying a new, radical form of government. Thousands of Americans emigrated, searching for work and prosperity, feeling like the original American pioneers looking for fortune in an unknown land. They found work, brought over their families, started a prosperous immigrant society. Russia in the 30’s even had baseball leagues and English language newspapers. Henry Ford did good business with Stalin and helped him set up an automobile construction plant, manned by American engineers and workers.

In the second half of the decade, the Stalin regime started becoming more paranoid, arresting and detaining some of the original revolutionaries in its drive to consolidate its power. This process would become completely unhinged as the years went by, leading to the arrest of hundreds of thousands of people — including the American immigrants. Many of them ended up in the Gulag “corrective labor camps” – concentration camps in Northeast Russia, mainly there to mine gold and later uranium in the most horrible circumstances. The vast majority of the prisoners died within a few months of arrival, necessitating ever more new prisoners to keep the gold flowing. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the amount of people who died in those camps.

Meanwhile, the American embassy in Moscow was completely ineffectual in trying to protect US citizens or get them released from the Gulag system. One American ambassador [Davies] actively misinformed Roosevelt to protect his own lavish lifestyle. The fact that most of the immigrant Americans were forced to release their passports and take on Russian nationality didn’t help. The end result is that thousands upon thousands of Americans were basically abandoned to their fate.”

The Economist:

“The real value of his book is in chronicling the extraordinarily supine behaviour of American bureaucrats and politicians towards the fate of their fellow-countrymen. Even before their arrest, most of the Americans were, in effect, prisoners: with their passports confiscated they were involuntary Soviet citizens. But the only people who might have helped saw no reason to do so. Diplomats in America’s newly established embassy in Moscow regarded all the migrants as communist sympathisers who had thrown in their lot with the system. Some were, but many were not. Yet the diplomats put every obstacle and delay in the way of desperate people who were risking instant arrest for even contacting the embassy, for example by demanding that fees for replacement passports be paid in dollars at a time when possession of hard currency was a criminal offence.

America’s ambassador, Joseph Davies, was an idle, gullible, Stalin-loving art collector. When the case of a missing American was half-heartedly raised by a subordinate, he promptly apologised to the Russians. Even when Americans working as locally hired staff at the embassy were arrested, nobody complained. George Kennan, a diplomat, eventually realised what was happening and wrote an eloquent memo. But nobody acted.

A handful of survivors returned to tell their story to an often disbelieving public. Mr Tzouliadis has unearthed scandalous nuggets from the American archives. In that sense, he is right in his comforting assertion that “the truth, although it may be initially disbelieved, will always surface eventually.” http://www.economist.com/node/11880197

 

Marjorie Post portrayed as Marie Antoinette. Hillwood museum

Marjorie Post portrayed as Marie Antoinette. Hillwood museum

Davies and his heiress wife at the time, Marjorie Merriweather Post, come across as decadent royalists of the let-them-eat-cake variety.

Davies is best known for his embarrassingly gushing book, Mission to Moscow, which endorsed the Moscow show trials as legitimate and was made into a wartime movie by Warner Brothers.

Post, for her part, spent most of her time in Russia buying up art and antique treasures that had been plundered from the murdered or exiled aristocracy. They now fill up her Hillwood Estate in Washington, DC, open for public viewing.

http://dcdave.com/article5/130226.htm

The reviewers also add that during those years –

“Davies was courting personal favors from Stalin and his henchmen, while at the same time he and Marjorie were cruising the Baltic in one of Marjorie’s yachts and buying up Russian national treasures looted by the Bolsheviks in the early days of the revolution”.

Well, to me this couple comes across as extremely pragmatic opportunists whose personal comfort was on the top of  their priority list and who could turn a blind eye on any atrocity or be easily convinced that they were justified as long as they had a chance to maintain their royal lifestyle and replenish their collection with unique objects of art. What a great illustration that elegant greed and powerful brutality can make perfect friendship and go together even despite the difference of political systems in their yards.

And this factor somehow doesn’t allow me to fully enjoy the beauty of those Hillwood exhibits and makes the simple bronze figures of children in Michael’s Neverland much more heart-warming and dearer than all the treasures in Mrs. Post’s house – even despite the media efforts to prove otherwise.

Another thing that caught me eye is that in contrast to Davies who lived in Soviet Russia for two years and still didn’t realize or care who Stalin was, the much more perceptive and caring Jackson who was there a couple of days only half a century later nevertheless noticed the long and lingering shadow of the deceased tyrant. And though the year 1993 was the time of his own worst personal trouble he was still worried and sang in his “Stranger in Moscow”:

“Stalin’s tomb won’t let me be…”

You may wonder why I raised here the matters so uncharacteristic for this blog. The first reason is that the ghost has turned out to be very much alive and this is a source of worry for me too.

Another reason is that people should know the truth no matter in what way, shape or form it is coming. To me these small bits and pieces came in the strangest assortment possible and it is in the same way that I am relating them to you too.

And one more factor is a slowly growing understanding that we have probably been gathered by Michael not only because of the need to defend his good name. Most of us are  intolerant to lies and this is why we are here in the first place. But this may also be Michael’s message to us all – now that you’ve found each other try to fight lies and make people understand that there is nothing more valuable than the truth.

His own fate showed that lies are lethal. Lies are not just mere trifles to be used at people’s whim for someone’s entertainment, profit, ratings or convenience. Lies kill. They kill separate individuals like Michael or whole masses of people while corrupting or at least confusing everyone else. And there is no end to this process unless the truth stops it. Truth is the only power on earth that may be a barrier to this slide to destruction and the only force that can also pacify and heal.

And this is probably the main reason for this post.

THE DOCUMENTS seized by Tom Sneddon from Evvy Tavasci’s computer

December 30, 2015

The more you look into the 2005 court documents, the more discoveries you make. This time a couple of small discoveries were made in the papers “seized” from Evelyn Tavasci’s computer during the raid of her premises on September 15, 2004.

Evvy Tavasci was Michael Jackson’s personal assistant and the raid itself was already mentioned in this post. At the time we didn’t know what documents Sneddon laid his hands on, and focused only on the fact that the prosecution illegally took from Evvy Tavasci three folders labeled “Mesereau” violating the attorney-client privilege this way.

But as we go down the court documents list we come across another paper dated April 26, 2005  holding the documents from Evvy’s computer that were submitted to the judge and determined by him to be “not privileged communication” (i.e. not subject to client/attorney privilege). And it is these documents which open to Michael Jackson’s supporters some new horizons. Read more…

AARON CARTER, COREY FELDMAN and passing down MICHAEL JACKSON’S TORCH

December 9, 2015

Do you remember the hysteria around Aaron Carter when the so-called journalist Daphne Barak released a video of him where he said that someone sat at the foot of his bed at five in the morning and Daphne Barak made it look like it was Michael Jackson? And some fans even believed it?

At that time I asked everyone not to jump to conclusions and made a study of Daphe Barak’s exploits only to find out that she was a complete fraud (see this post for details please).

The video presented by Daphne Barak (now made private) turned out to be a cut-and-paste job. Judging by the sound of it Barak secretly recorded Aaron somewhere at a restaurant with a tape-recorder placed under the table or in her bag.

In that conversation Aaron opened up to Barak that when he was a teenager and was staying in someone else’s house he found a certain person sitting on his bed at 5 in the morning and this gave him a big fright. The name of the person was cut out from the recording but instead Daphne Barak inserted a piece about Michael Jackson’s children sleeping somewhere behind the wall, so the resulting tape looked like it was about Michael and the incident took place at his house.  Read more…

The adventures of Michael Jackson’s defenders in the world of his haters

December 2, 2015

Recently all those who read, comment and write in this blog were stunned to find that it was suddenly suspended. And a couple of days later all of us were similarly stunned to suddenly find it back.

What happened?

The way I understand it Michael Jackson’s haters wanted to have the blog taken down and complained to WordPress that our reserve wordpress blogs were “spam” intended to promote the main site, and this is why the whole bunch of them should be taken down.

The WordPress looked it up, suspended the reserve blogs but restored the main one. So the bad news is that now we have only one blog (with no back-ups and no archives for the earlier posts), but the good news is that now this website is the only one and unique.

It means that if haters go on impersonating us (read about it in a post about Fake vindicatemj blogs, please) you will at least know that all those other “vindicatemjs” and their sites are fake and their links will take you to nothing else but haters’ black hole where all of them reside – the site about the so-called “facts” about Michael, which are actually lies about him.  Read more…

Court documents about the 1993 CASE and MALICIOUS PROSECUTION of Michael Jackson

November 22, 2015

We continue studying the 2005 court documents in search for MJ’s phantom victims and their millions, as well as the “wealth of evidence” from the 90s which allegedly could not be admitted at trial due to some technicalities.

This is already part 3 of the search and up till now not a single trace of the above has been found. On the contrary, we learned that all discovery from the 1993 case was requested by the defense and it was the prosecution who blocked it with excuses that it is extremely “complex” and “demanding of time” and they have “limited resources”, and to crown it all, the discovery from prior investigation is “irrelevant”.

A short reminder from the defense’s motion on September 3, 2004:

“The prosecution has not responded in writing to this request. The prosecution has stated in court, however, that discovery from the prior investigation is irrelevant” 

Sept.3, 2004 the discovery from prior investigation is irrelevant

Read more…

The SECRETS revealed by court documents during the search for MICHAEL JACKSON’S PHANTOM VICTIMS

November 13, 2015

We continue to fact-check Stacy Brown’s story about the 200 million allegedly paid to Michael Jackson’s  20 “victims”.

Interesting, but what started as an exploration of just one lie is beginning to evolve into a study of a whole mass of them, and especially those lies which claim that “not all evidence could be admitted by the prosecution in 2005 due to technicalities in discovery rules”.

This claim is so big a lie that you cannot even imagine it. The scope of the fraud will become clear to you only by the end of the post, but before that we first need to recall what exactly Stacy Brown is saying. Read more…

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