The RANDALL SULLIVAN project. A novel technique of slandering Michael Jackson
Let us move the discussion of Randall Sullivan’s book Untouchable: The Strange Life and Death of Michael Jackson into a special post as it has become too big an issue for the comments sections only.
THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED MEDIA PROJECT
It seems that putting the Sullivan project into the center of public attention was the main idea from the very start of it. The amount of publicity the book is receiving is simply astonishing and is even unnatural if you understand what I mean. One would imagine that another book about Michael Jackson, released also these days should be worthy of this kind of attention – the one written by Lisa Campbell whose accuracy in writing about Michael in her earlier books is unrivalled – but no, it is Sullivan’s dubious project that is promoted like no other.
This reminds me of the orchestrated media campaigns that accompanied each Michael’s gesture while he was still alive. The word “orchestrated” is the key word here.
The New York Post of November 22 also noticed something of the kind:
“The evening news on ABC, CBS and NBC devoted more than a third of their broadcast coverage for an entire week to Sullivan, who was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone for more than 20 years”.
Their verdict for the book is unrelentless:
“Fans of Jackson, and even readers who are just curious about the onstage phenomenon he once was, would be better off viewing the documentary made from rehearsals for that comeback tour or YouTube clips of the “Motown 25” TV special nearly three decades ago — than reading this bloated, thoroughly dispensable book.”
Initially it indeed seemed that the book did not require any of our attention. The first reviews by those who read the 827-page opus showed that it was nothing but a compilation of every single media story ever told about Jackson sprinkled with a little bit of truth and sympathy over this new edition of the old lies.
The usual idiocy intended for the brainwashed public, I thought to myself, meant to refresh the old lies and correct the tarnished image of the media (not Jackson) by showing that journalists are human too and not that unresponsive to the public feeling towards Jackson. So human and so responsive they are that now they agree that Michael Jackson was also a human being and allow the public to see a little bit of the humane side of the man.
However from all the fuss around the book it was slowly growing on me that this was meant to be a huge joint media project marking a new step in the media contract with the public over Jackson – after seeing so much public sympathy towards the deceased man and noting that people were becoming suspicious that the media had not told them the whole truth, a new and more attractive version of essentially the same story had to be hurriedly presented to the public in order to save face and retain the public trust, so Randall Sullivan of the Rolling Stone was speedily summoned for the project.
While the media was working on their project Michael’s supporters left them far behind in their examination of lies against Jackson and proving the innocent truth about the man, so for us looking back at what the media finally recognized about Michael Jackson was a decided step back and a mere waste of time.
But then someone said that the book received a positive review from Thomas Mesereau and the controversy that ensued made us look at Sullivan’s story a little bit more seriously. To be frank with you I wavered in my attitude towards it thinking that I dismissed it as garbarge too soon and therefore decided to really have a look.
This way I have admit that the media reached at least one of their goals – they did make us read Sullivan’s book after all (in free copies of course as it is a matter of principle for Michael’s supporters not to contribute a single cent to the Sullivan project).
By now I have struggled through the first 100 pages of it and absolutely do not like what I see. But since I still have a long way to go, let me give floor to those of us who are already through with reading it. Thus we will eventually form a common opinion about the Sullivan project adding more and more detail on the way. How long this post can make as a result does not really matter – let it be as long it is necessary.
The comment that cleared up my brains even at this preliminary stage was the one found on Amazon and made by my compatriot Morinen (please don’t think her to be me, she is not). The comment has got the most likes, clarifies a lot of things and contains a conclusion which I consider the key one for understanding the Sullivan controversy.
I hear complaints that nobody wants to read the book. I have suffered through this book, and let me leave an honest review.
First of all, I have to say that it was incredibly long and boring. I fell asleep twice while reading it, and I barely made it to the end. The book is exactly what New York Times called it – “dreary” and “bloated”. The narrative is sketchy, jumping from last years of MJ’s life to his childhood, then back, then to the 80-s and 90-s, and then to the last years again, making the story really hard to follow. The text is overstuffed with numbers, dollar amounts and loads of minor details that seem to bear little significance for understanding Michael Jackson or his life. I would have never thought that you could turn Michael Jackson – the fascinating, magical, lively Michael Jackson – into such a boring subject, and yet Sullivan managed to do just that.
Which brings me to the main complaint: this book completely misses the point of who Michael Jackson was. If you read memoirs of people who met him – even for a brief period of time – you can’t help but be mesmerized by the image they all paint. By the tangle of contradictions so evident in his persona – his shyness and his sexuality, his kindness and his ruthless business grip, his message of racial harmony and his bold challenging of racial norms, his humility and his larger than life persona. Michael Jackson was the dazzling star who learned his dance moves from wild animals, danced on the fence in Neverland, wrote songs in branches of a tree, loved to explore Disneyland rides at night, compared songwriting to catching falling leaves, believed in magic and made it happen, caused people to cry, scream and pass out and was described by his collaborators as “he changed the structure of molecules in the room.” I dare you to find a single person who met him and wasn’t completely charmed and taken by his wit, charisma and unstoppable creativity. That is what made him one of a kind; that is what kept people interested and engaged in him. In this book, however, you’ll see and feel none of that. His genius is dismissed; his artistic personality is ignored in favor of dull trivia and recycled rumors. The majority of this hefty book consists of re-packaged tales from Taraborrelli’s biography, news articles and other books and publications, while the author’s own contribution, it seems, lies mostly in the area of factual mistakes and speculation. Yawn.
It has already been mentioned that the book is full of embarrassing inaccuracies, and unverified information. The author makes mistakes such blatant as stating that Michael Jackson’s wife was adopted by a millionaire and had no boyfriend till the age of 30 (when in fact she was raised by her mom and married at 24); alleging that Rowe’s lawyers said MJ’s children weren’t really his (never happened); confusing the two MTV VMA events that happened a year apart, and so on. Not to mention an assortment of small misstatements and mixed names of people and organizations that would take too long to list. Such things may not seem very important in the big picture, but they clearly testify to the shallow research and lack of credibility of the author’s sources.
And then there is absolute nonsense. Just when you start thinking the author may have been genuinely misguided in his attempt to write a true account of events, he leaves you stunned by statements such as that Jackson faked his heterosexuality, died a virgin or that he kept a collection of plastic noses in a jar. The passage about the noses seems the most bizarre. The author goes on and on about it for two pages, somehow mixing it with the topic of Bobby Driscoll in the process, and the whole thing is just…. either utterly pathetic if Sullivan really believes in this (which is hard to imagine), or utterly bewildering and makes you question his mental state if he’s making it up as he goes.
(Just in case you have doubts, here is an official response from the coroner’s office:
“As far as Mr. Sullivan’s book information he might have a copy of the [autopsy] report since it is a matter of public record, however I can assure you that he does not have the autopsy photos… I can tell you that Mr. Jackson did in fact have a nose and that it was nothing like described by Mr. Sullivan. I guess he just wants to sell books…”)
Generally, Sullivan tries to play into all hands: he describes that MJ had vitiligo but then speculates that MJ had been bleaching his skin prior to the disease and maybe he just didn’t want to be black; he presents facts pointing to Jackson’s innocence against accusations in improper behavior, and yet he makes sure to list every groundless insinuating tabloid story he could find and gives a free rein to publicity suckers such as Ray Chandler. Why blow up the book by repeating things that have no merit to them, you’d think? For extra sensationalism, I guess. On the other hand, in cases where it would be justified to give different accounts of the story because contradictory versions exist (the relationship of MJ with Debbie Rowe is one example), he fails to do so. Instead he opts for a more sensational version, the one that paints MJ as “abnormal” and a freak. That is not, in my opinion, what a real biographer should do. In fact, I noticed that Sullivan quite often distorted facts and quotes or presented them out of context in order to support his personal reductive opinion of Michael Jackson as asexual, artificial, weird creature, incapable of relationships and unwilling to father children.
Sullivan evidently is no expert on Michael Jackson’s life, and many things that are obvious to any fan were a late-stage “revelation” to him, as he himself admits (for example, how good a father Michael Jackson was). It is understandable then, that in many cases he failed to get through the layers of fiction to the bottom of things. But it is absolutely not excusable for someone who claims to be a biographer.
His list of sources, although seems long and extensive, for some reason does not include any of MJ’s creative collaborators of last years, such as Brad Buxer, Michael Prince, Will.I.Am, or Theron Fimster. I wish Sullivan covered Jackson’s creative side with at least half of the passion he devoted to depicting him as a drug addict. Music and artistry were always central to Michael Jackson’s identity, and I honestly don’t understand how one can claim writing a full account of his life (or even a period of it) without exploring that part of his personality. But, after all, Sullivan freely admits that he got “tired” of MJ’s music after Thriller album. And his tiredness shows throughout the book. He really shouldn’t have written it.
I did appreciate that the author gave the floor to Mr. Mesereau to speak about the 2005 trial and Michael’s state during the ordeal. It’s always a pleasure to hear from Mr. Mesereau, and I found the chapters about the trial to be probably the most substantial in the whole narrative. However, the progress Sullivan had made was swiftly erased by lengthy insinuations and offensive conclusions in the last chapters. Despite the fairly honest trial coverage, I couldn’t bring myself to rate the book even with 2 stars, given how grossly it misrepresents Michael Jackson’s personality.
I’ll also use the opportunity to recommend truly interesting and insightful books about Michael Jackson – books written by people who actually knew the man or understand what “research” implies:
Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson by Joe Vogel – about Michael Jackson the musician;
You Are Not Alone: Michael, Through a Brother’s Eyes by Jermaine Jackson and My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man by Frank Cascio – about Michael Jackson the man;
The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson by Michael Bush – about Michael Jackson the icon.
The above was very enlightening but the crucial comment came from Morinen in the follow-up to the initial review. Over there she said:
This book paints a dull and freakish image stitched together from recycled stories copied off Trarborrelli’s bio, quotes taken out of context, sensationalized groundless tabloid rumors, and author’s imagination. I’m amazed by the amount of innuendos, speculation and inaccuracies in this book.
…Books of this kind, blending grinded facts with fiction, are the most dangerous and harmful ones, because to an unsuspicious reader they seem “legit”. While in truth they distort and obscure the identity of the artist.
It is especially appalling that a music critic would do this to a part of his own country’s culture. Indeed, some people depart from this world leaving it a brighter place, and some will go leaving nothing but stains.
Aha, so here it is!
The point that the book is blending facts with fiction is actually all we need to know about Sullivan’s book.
Now we don’t even need to read it if we feel not strong enough for its 827 pages – all we need to remember is that the greatest harm done by lies is when they come in combination with the truth. Today’s readers know enough of Jackson’s nature and behavior to be able to close the book in disgust in case they face downright lies about the man – so if Maureen Orth repeats her stories describing sacrificial blood baths allegedly taken by Jackson few will read her Neverland nightmare horrors any further. The times are different, you know.
However the lies wrapped in the attractive cover of the truth can very well sink in and compromise the best of the truths told even by Thomas Mesereau. Moreover it is actually this very truth which will help to sell all the other lies in the book as it gives them more credibility and makes them easier for consumption by the unsuspecting public. In short the main course of lies is swallowed much easier if it is served with a sauce of truth together with it.
The thing that astonishes me most is that Sullivan makes innocent eyes and pretends he has never heard of the phenomenon. This turns him into either a naïve child who doesn’t know what he is doing or a shrewd reporter who mixes truth and lies and deliberately cooks them in one pot. Since I doubt that a journalist who was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone for more than 20 years is a naïve baby, this leaves us with the second option only, so we could throw the book away with an easy heart and it is only Thomas Mesereau’s involvement in it that stops us from doing it.
Sullivan says that he had a good deal of conversations with Thomas Mesereau and the lawyer praises him in his emails as he feels that Sullivan’s accurate account of the events of the 2005 trial can help the public to finally perceive Michael Jackson as an innocent man he really was. However many of us are in very much doubt as regards the possible effect of the book and our Susanne has put it succinctly in her short comment:
- “Yes, it’s a mess with this book. ..I have a feeling that Mesereau was mislead in a way by Sullivan. I’m really still looking for a reasonable explanation for his position, but I don’t get it. Perhaps somebody who read the book should inform Mr. Mesereau in detail why the book – and also Sullivan’s interviews – is so counterproductive to his own efforts of clearing Michael’s name.”
I also have a feeling that Mesereau was misled by Sullivan and the lawyer’s best intentions were used by the author to his own ends.
The whole mess started when Sullivan collected under one roof the “sources” of incompatible quality, throwing into one pile highly respectable people like Thomas Mesereau and complete crooks like Adrian McManus, giving them equal credibility in the book.
He didn’t do any research of his own and didn’t even try to distinguish between the truth and lies. At best he reported everything as he was told. Actually with “sources” like that he didn’t really have any need to invent – when lies from the shabbiest tabloids are put next to the real truth about Jackson, it is the lies that gain as they acquire a semblance of credibility. Of course they remain the lies they were before but if they merely sit next to the chapters based on the materials from the esteemed lawyer like Thomas Mesereau, the trust readers develop for his highly credible information rubs off on the lies in the other chapters as well.
Usually things like that never happen in serious publications. A conscientious author carefully selects his sources and presents only those findings which have been checked and rechecked by all the other available sources.
However what is an undisputed rule and obligation for honest journalists is an empty word for Randall Sullivan, as he flirts equally well with the most respectable of lawyers and those whom this very lawyer exposed as the worst liars during the 2005 trial against Jackson.
Mesereau has evidently read “his” part of the book only and since the author relayed their conversations correctly is probably under the impression that the rest of the good is as good as “his” part – only he doesn’t know that the rest of it is relying on sources like Ray Chandler and Adrian McManus or is derived from the tabloids no sane author will ever consider ever looking at.
People like McManus were Michael Jackson’s and Thomas Mesereau’s opponents in life and during the trial, so there is no way these sources could have been expected to tell anything different from their earlier lies about Jackson (which Thomas Mesereau fought at the trial). But as regards Mesereau I suspect that Sullivan didn’t inform him of his other advisors and this turns Sullivan’s indiscriminate flirtations with each and everyone into a special slander technique and unique knowhow of his own.
THE NOVEL TECHNIQUE OF SLANDER
The new technique is simple and easy as a piece of cake. You could even admire this new trash journalism for its simplicity if it weren’t done at the expense of poor Michael Jackson. The main idea of it is that you don’t have to tell lies yourself – all you need is approach both credible and sleazy sources and report their stories as they are, adding to them the minimum of your own embellishments. It does not matter that as a result of this technique the case will be presented from two diametrically opposite positions simultaneously – the author can always say that he wanted to be “unbiased”. This is actually what Sullivan is indeed doing as he says one thing on one page and says the opposite thing on the next page leaving the reader wondering what’s wrong with the author as he is totally unable to present a coherent point of view of his own.
What readers do not know is that it is a sort of an interaction game where the journalist tells them both variants at once and they should guess which one is correct. On one page he will say that someone is not a pedophile, while on the other he will leave numerous innuendoes that he is , leaving his readers with the job of doing all the guesswork. Mind you that in cases of child molestation the mere fact that someone’s integrity is being doubted may ruin his life and reputation forever – no one even needs any proof once the doubt arises…
Our Kaarin saw through the rules of the game and said:
- “A very strange book. Sullivan says one thing, positive, then later he contradicts himself”.
Some will claims that this is what “freedom of the press is all about”. Please don’t let yourself be fooled by this false statement. This type of “journalism” fully contradicts the ethical code of the profession. Journalists’ professional ethics require them to do proper research and tell their readers only the truth of the matter, and not confuse their readers by mixing the proven facts obtained from scientists with the gossip and fantasy told by the first passerby in the street.
Imagine NASA representatives telling the public of their latest space findings and embellishing them with some gossip from their grandmas, and you will realize that Sullivan did just that.
On occasions scientists also have to report some crazy stories, however each and every such case is accompanied by their full analysis meant to establish the truth in order not to mislead the public. However Sullivan is no scientist, and is probably no journalist either as misleading the public is not a priority with him at all. He is simply an amiable guy who makes friends with different people of opposite views, nods to everything they say and puts their stories down offering no criticism whatsoever.
The end result is simple and amazing. It is true that he didn’t distort Mesereau’s words and retold them correctly, and this is why Thomas Mesereau praised him, but the problem is that he retold the worst liars’ stories “correctly” too, without ever bothering to find out whether the stories are justified or not. He believes all of them, you know …
This is how those horrible lies about Michael having a “detachable nose” arose – someone said it, and our amiable Sullivan repeated it like a parrot without ever worrying that it could be a lie, and a tremendous one at that. This is of course if we believe that he is doing it not intentionally (I don’t. I think that he is one of the meanest hyenas among journalists).
The horror of this indiscriminate reporting is that it is something totally novel for the readership.
Up till now there have been some rules and the reporting was either sloppy or thorough and serious. It was either this orthat – either based on the meticulous research, or on the fantasies and lies of the author. With so rigid a difference between the two variants, that has been a custom up till now, none of us are yet ready for the system when one chapter in the book may be absolutely true as it is based on the brilliant work done by a lawyer, while the rest of it may be absolute trash (or half-trash) based on totally unsubstantiated and even fictional sources.
The worst part of it is that the truth told in the brilliant chapter endorses the lies told in the trash chapters.
This is understandable – readers develop a certain level of trust for the author when they see the brilliance of research done in one part of the book and it is this trust that makes them believe the rest of the story too. This is how human psychology works or otherwise we would mistrustful of our closest friends and would be testing and retesting them on a constant basis.
So if one chapter is the brilliant truth what reasons will a reader have to distrust the remaining part of the book? None at all.
Even if we warn them of the danger, few will still be able to differentiate the truth from lies as Sullivan did not accompany his lies with links to the respective tabloids where they were first told, so even this last little guidance tool has been taken away from the reader. Now the reader will either have to know the subject inside out to be able to decipher all the materials on his own (but why then read the book if he knows everything himself?) or the reader will be left totally helpless in the face of all that terrible mishmash of truth and lies.
We as Michael Jackson’s supporters do recognize these lies because we’ve spent the past three years struggling through their jungles on a daily basis, and this is why the public sees Michael’s fans exclaiming from every corner – oh, look here, this lie comes from X who tried to deceive but was completely laughed off, or hey, look there, that lie comes from Y whom Thomas Mesereau reduced to complete humiliation at the trial after which he almost implored to let him go home. This way the truth sought by us for so long is repaying us tenfold for the effort we’ve been making while looking for it.
In fact Michael’s fans will probably have to write a readers’ manual for Sullivan’s book commenting on every page of it and providing sources where the official disproval of those lies can be found – otherwise ordinary readers won’t make it through that book. The general public does not have the knowledge possessed by Michael Jackson’s fans and this is how and why Mr. Sullivan hopes to get away with his lies.
Whether Sullivan doesn’t know how to do research, or created this terrible mixture willfully does not really matter – in both cases the result is horrendous. It is a nice-looking soup with a good spoonful of poison added to it. Our reader Tatum worded it as follows:
- “lies mixed with a little truth are as harmful as poison mixed with a little water.”
However despite all the poisonous effect of the book I think I understand why Thomas Mesereau took part in it. If he had not told the truth about the 2005 trial someone else would have told terrible lies about it (and Sullivan would have reported them as the “truth” – he really does not care), so Mesereau reasoned that the book would be not that bad if at least his part was correct. I am afraid that Thomas Mesereau was put into a no-win situation which, frankly, was more of a trap for him. Well, it seems that no Michael Jackson’s supporter is safeguarded from a Bashir of his own…
WHAT GOES ROUND COMES ROUND
However all lies eventually come to their logical end. As is always the case with liars their stories ultimately become their own ruin. Even before Sullivan’s book really hit the public the truly heavenly process of uncovering his lies has already started – some of Sullivan’s lies erupted in his face and exposed his book for the big and unscrupulous lie it is.
The major blow to Sullivan was delivered by Michael’s supporters MJJ20Girl and Kittycat10100 who contacted the LA County Coroner’s office and asked them if Sullivan’s story about a “detachable nose” was correct (he does tell a lie about MJ’s noses kept in a jar!). The story was reported on the TV Katieshow in full seriousness and was commented by Sullivan as follows:
I have MJ’s autopsy report (which is cited in my Chapter Notes) and have read it closely. I’ve also seen the photos of MJ’s autopsy, which show the condition of his body at death in graphic detail, and I am basing my description to a substantial degree on those. The autopsy report in no sense states that MJ’s nose was intact, merely that he had a nose. That nose was, as I described, so cut away that it was little more than a nub of bone with two nostrils surrounded by ridges of shriveled cartilage. I didn’t say he had no nose, just not much of one. And that is the same description that has been publicly made by several doctors who examined or treated him in the last five years of his life. Anyone who doubts this can find a photograph of himself without a prosthetic that MJ allowed to be taken, widely available online. Compare that photo to photos of him in public appearances and there can be no question that he was wearing a prosthetic.
Since Sullivan claimed that he had seen the photos of Michael Jackson’s autopsy which showed the condition of his body in “graphic detail” and the nose was allegedly “cut away” from the face, the two Michael’s fans mentioned above approached the LA County Coroner’s office for the official reaction and here is the OFFICIAL RESPONSE they got:
“As far as Mr. Sullivan’s book information he might have a copy of the [autopsy] report since it is a matter of public record, however I can assure you that he does not have the autopsy photos or other photos involving Mr. Jackson. The photos have been secured, and the location is only known to two of us that have them. I can tell you that Mr. Jackson did in fact have a nose and that it was nothing like described by Mr. Sullivan. I guess he just wants to sell books…”
Katerina who left her comment on Amazon summed it up beautifully:
- “In a few days a fan was capable of getting more proper confirmation and information than the 3 years Sullivan spent on this book”.
Here is the full story of the find:
Since I mentioned Katerina already I can’t help quoting her more on the “nose issue” as well as the rest of the book. Her review on Amazon is pretty exhaustive as it covers the whole assortment of the garbage told by Randall Sullivan. Here are only some excerpts:
- …Any book which now proclaims that Michael did not have a nose, insinuates he bleached his skin recreationally, hems and haws over his innocence, claims Michael hated his race or claims Michael didn’t have relationships with women is frankly anachronistic. There is much publicly available information which sheds light on all of that – none of which is covered here. Michael’s autopsy report is publicly available, why is that not used as a source for the information about his nose and instead misattributed quotes from The Sun are presented as though they are fact? It would seem to me that Randall didn’t even look at the autopsy report but got distracted by some tabloid recreation of it back in the days after his death and failed to research beyond that point. He goes on for pages about this supposed Bobby Driscoll’s prosthetic nose he imagines Michael had, all of it entirely fictional and so absurd that I wondered at the degree of shame the author lacked in its recounting, at no point in this fictional nose nonsense did he seem to stop and reconsider how he was making himself sound ridiculous with this obsession, and not Michael. His nose is right there in his autopsy; and yet here he writes almost 4 pages about a fake nose that never existed. But it goes to show how absolutely anything goes with Michael and Sullivan – it seems there is no tabloid story too crazy or wild that Sullivan doesn’t believe has a degree of truth in it. The Michael here is a monsterized version of tabloid literature come to life.
- …He uses a quote from Taraborrelli’s biography to claim Michael started bleaching in the 70s with his sister LaToya. Of course no source are named, and it’s easily debunked as Toya has always been naturally very light skinned (their father Joe Jackson has green eyes because his mother is biracial and his father is listed as mulatto, as are all Michael’s grandparents.) These stories about Michael’s skin have been going on since the 80s because of his skin disorder, with the media seeking to fill in the blanks to explain the lightness in his skin for him, but when his vitiligo became public it should’ve illuminated many people on how easy it is to lie and perpetuate the lie about him, but instead Sullivan seems to lack any common sense and can’t see what is obvious in hindsight. Or like the nose, was it that he just liked the idea of Michael hating his race so much he just couldn’t let it go? Does he not ask himself why it’s only the people who have something against Michael who claim he hated his race and bleached his skin (Blanca Francia, Stacy Brown, Bob Jones) and not people he was really close to? That he let his children be raised by an African woman and insisted on ensuring they were raised well versed in African history and that besides his mother he wanted a black woman raising them (Diana Ross)? His daughter even says, “I’m black and I’m proud of it.” Obvious questions go unasked and unanswered here.
- He claims Michael Jackson was a virgin, a moment in the book where I audibly laughed – a reaction I’m sure his ex wives and girlfriends would also share on such news. Even if he couldn’t find people around them willing to speak, Randall should’ve perhaps taken note of those two G spot articles the police found amongst his things in 2003? Lisa Marie is quoted here as saying Michael was “somewhat asexual”, you’d think with the way he presented this remark that this was a damning comment about their sex life: no, in reality she had been asked about his physical appearance, and that was her description. This is the kind of casual misquoting and omitting of information Randall does throughout his book. If it doesn’t fit in with what he needs, he ignores it or re-contextualizes it. None of Lisa Marie’s other remarks are included here (he made the moves on her, she wouldn’t have married him if the sex wasn’t good). He believes Bob Jones and the Neverland 5 (successfully countersued; exposed as liars on the stand) who claim nothing happened between Michael and Lisa, even though they had obvious agendas against Michael, were seeking to profit from the scandal, had left their jobs before they’d even married and were thoroughly discredited as witnesses (their testimony is like reading a surrealistic comedy); but we must forget, those are his best sources here.
- He says that only Lisa can say if Mike was a virgin – that’s funny, she’s repeatedly confirmed they’ve had sex.
- He claims that Debbie has never said she’s had sex with him. This isn’t true. The only reason we know Debbie’s name is because in the News of the World exclusive in 1996 which broke the story, a journalist had befriended her undercover for 2 months while she was pregnant, this is what they taped her saying: “We started by fooling around a bit and the next thing we knew we were doing it. We knew we were going to try for a baby.” And taped again undercover in 1997: “I can’t wait to see him again. We’re going to stay all day and night in bed – I can’t wait.”
- He claims Michael’s kids didn’t know who Debbie was until after his death. This is untrue, Paris has said that Michael would talk to them about Debbie. She also didn’t only meet him when Michael “spilled bleaching agents on his scrotum,” in early 93, she met him in 1981. The confidentiality agreement she signed after the divorce where she agreed not to talk about him or the kids in public was there to protect him, the kids, in case she wanted to hurt him in the future, and to protect Debbie from herself, as she’d already been caught speaking about both unawares before, it does not say anywhere Michael is not the father – Debbie and Debbie’s custody lawyer have repeatedly stated he was.
- He claims Sneddon had 5 victims who were going to show up and testify for him, and only one did (Jason Francia; could go down as “the one the jurors laughed at”), Jordan refused to testify against Michael, he was prepared to go to court in order not to have to testify. Randall doesn’t say that the other 3 supposed victims? Absolutely testified. They were the defense’s first witnesses; Wade, Brett, Mac.
- There are so many other casual egregious errors throughout the book that it gave me a headache reading, just some – … Debbie Rowe didn’t have her first boyfriend at the age of 30, she had already been married/divorced by then (that was another moment of laughter from me)…. Michael didn’t move into Neverland in 1990… Michael was not called “liver lips” by his brothers. LaToya didn’t claim sexual abuse by her father in her book, she claimed it on the book tour…. Michael never said he used any medication for his skin on Oprah. Uri Gellar is about as close to Michael as Martin Bashir. Corey Feldman was the one to ask about the book of skin diseases which involved STDs on Michael’s table, so Michael explained them to him, is Randall really suggesting skin diseases and STD’s were Michael’s hook for kids, really? Mike had many books on skin diseases because he had skin diseases. …The Jacksons contacted Branca 2 days after Michael’s death because they knew he had the will, so how could they also claim they didn’t know they had a will that first week? He quotes Schaffel saying Michael was scheduled to perform in the United We Stand Benefit concert in Washington but Michael failed to show up, that’s odd as he also managed to perform “What More Can I Give?” at this same concert. He says TJ Jackson had 3 sons, he doesn’t. He calls Eddie Cascio by his brother’s name throughout the book. He mentions that Michael stayed with the Schleiter family after the trial and makes it seem like Michael only spent time with the son (who was in his 20s, not a kid), for some strange reason his sister Franziska who was there throughout is completely ignored (all the females in Michael’s life are given this treatment, no mention of any of the female kids he’d befriended too, even in Wade’s testimony Randall never mentions Wade said his sister also slept in the room with him, she testified to that too, so did Brett’s sister and Simone Jackson).
- He claims here that the Chandler’s attempted to keep a low profile after 1993. Does he know about the book deal they sought immediately after Michael’s insurance settled? How Ray Chandler admitted in court records that Evan moved him in right after the allegations broke just so he could write it? Does he know about how Ray sold stories about Jordan to the National Enquirer throughout the 90s on behalf of his brother? Did he think Evan Chandler’s 1996 lawsuit and demand for a record album to be released was a show of Evan seeking to be low key? Ray claimed he hoped the 2005 trial would bring vindication, why did he not ask why the Chandler’s didn’t seek this in 1994 with a criminal trial instead of book deals and frivolous lawsuits and demands for record contracts? Why didn’t he ask Ray why he didn’t take the stand in 2005? Why didn’t he ask Ray why he claims now he told Jordan to testify in 2005, when in 2005 during his various paid for media appearances he claimed he had no contact with either Evan or Jordan at the time, as well as claiming that in his subpoeanas? Was Ray lying? Which time was he lying? (At the time he also claimed Jordan was out of the country as an excuse for why he didn’t testify, but then he was photographed skiing in the US.) Why does he act like the crazy fans made the Chandler’s stop from going to criminal court (not even in defense of poor cancer victim Gavin), when he can only cite one instance which involved a fan (Pfeiffer) just graffitying outside his dental place in 1994 and making phonecalls? Does he realize that the Arvizo’s, Francia – hell, the most hated of all, Diane Dimond and Sneddon, all have online accounts and recognizable faces and have managed to survive unscathed for years? Does he think it’s a bit strange the only person who’s hurt Jordan and scared him to the point of criminal action in all these years was his own father?
- He claims Michael was paralytic with drugs almost the entire way through the last 20 years. It seems every drug story about Michael on Earth has been added here as a fact. It amuses me greatly that Michael was such an opiate addict, and yet managed to wean himself off these drugs entirely by the time he died, and the only drugs inside him were non opiate sedatives administered by Murray. Isn’t it a bit ironic that Michael could wean himself off this huge addiction to every drug known to man, but only died because of another non addictive drug? That none were found in his home or autopsy? That none are presented in any medical documents from the last months of his life, besides Demerol for the treatments with Klein, which the drug addict specialist in the trial even admitted did not fall into an addict’s level of use? He even copied and pasted a remark from a tabloid about how Michael shirked away from sunlight at one point as evidence for Michael’s drug use – in reality, Michael was photo sensitive because of his discoid lupus.
- It makes me wonder if it’s possible to write a book about Michael where almost the entire source material doesn’t come from people who have been found to have lied about him in court cases, lawsuits or found to have stolen from him, considering the sources Randall mainly uses here: Tohme (stole $5,000,000 million from MJ), Schaffel (stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Michael, planted negative stories about him in the press, Debbie Rowe amusingly recounted Schaffel’s creepiness in her testimony in 2005), Adrian McManus (successfully countersued by Michael; was found to have stolen toys from sick children & from her own nieces and nephews), Mark Lester (claimed to be Paris’s father 4 years before he’d been re-acquainted with Michael, even his ex wife came out and denounced him as a liar desperate for media attention), Matt Fiddes (only met Michael briefly after Blanket was born; known as a “vainglorious attention seeker” by Channel 4 producers) Howard Mann (has lost many lawsuits against the estate, blackmailed Michael’s mother into dodgy deals involving his kids), Ray Chandler brother to Evan (Michael subpoenaed him in 2004 demanding he show up with the evidence he claimed he had in his book; Ray refused and eventually he admitted he had no such info, his book was essentially fiction), Terry George (he wasn’t found out because rumors reached the LAPD, what nonsense, he had a gay sex chat line back then and when the scandal broke he seized on that to sell a story in The Sun for thousands of pounds, this is why anyone knows about him; FBI and DA didn’t find him credible, he’s changed his story a few times since – the one here is a new fancy retelling, he was and is still obsessed with Michael and even he admits Michael refused to take his calls, so much for grooming kids) Stacy Brown (admitted to lying in his book for money in his 2005 testimony; sued by juror’s for plagiarism after that, a habitual liar who admits he never even really met Michael), Bob Jones (admitted he had an axe to grind, admitted to lying about money in the trial, and yet his book is used here as gospel) and so on and so on.
- Were these the only people willing to speak to Randall? Or, more likely, were these the only people Randall wanted to hear about Michael from? Was he incapable of deducing which things were lies by the amount of evidence, or did he assume the things which were the most ghastly and often repeated (what sells more?) had to be true? Whatever the answer, in the end the result is an almost entirely fictional book.
- Perhaps the author had the best intentions for this book (though I suspect, not for Michael). Perhaps he really believes the information he presented is fair and objective. Perhaps he felt this was all there was to the story. But I can’t understand why so many problematic sources were used as though they were absolutes, why so much information was not properly researched beyond tabloid articles, and why so much info has been seemingly intentionally misquoted. It comes across intentionally done and I can’t understand why.
- I find it bewildering really that he will talk about Michael as being a good father – something even the liars and the thieves around him have all agreed upon, and yet people still fail to realize the way he was with his own children was how he was with every other child. It doesn’t take a genius to have to work that one out, but it’s an inconvenient truth for many, so instead we’re left with all the liars and thieves and rehashed The Sun articles, and can now count the willfully uninformed Randall Sullivan among them.
If any of you wish to add their own contribution to the impressive list of the Sullivan project lies and inaccuracies uncovered by Katerina (please see the full list on Amazon here), you are very much welcome to do so.
READERS’ MANUAL FOR SULLIVAN’S BOOK (samples)
Though I am far from finished with the book let me put in my two cents into the reader’s manual too. These are small details only, but these details make me sure that Sullivan is not an innocent bird he presents himself to be but a hyena spreading these lies absolutely willfully.
The details I suggest concern Sullivan’s habit to drop here and there some noticeable innuendoes about Michael’s sexuality, for example:
“At the 1974 American Music Awards ceremony, Michael and Donny Osmond had served as cohosts with six-year-old Rodney Allen Rippy, a child actor who had appeared in several feature films, including Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles, but was best-known for a series of sickly sweet Jack in the Box commercials that had featured his frustrated attempts to get a grip on a Jumbo Jack. The boy had been taken aback when Michael asked for his phone number, and was stunned when the pop star began to call him every Saturday morning, at exactly ten o’clock”.
“Taken aback” means surprised and confused, and though the children were indeed greatly surprised by Michael’s attention to them, there was never any “confusion” part, but only joy and excitement. This “taken aback” thing is an innuendo though it looks small and may go unnoticed.
The story is accompanied by Rippy’s explanations that nothing out of ordinary was taking place:
“They were buddies, nothing more, as Rippy would take pains to make clear later: “ Michael would give me advice about how to handle myself in show business, about smiling at people and shaking their hands. It was just stuff like that we talked about. Very ordinary. It absolutely amazed me that Michael Jackson was interested in what was going on in my little world.”
However despite this full clarification from the boy several pages later Sullivan mentions that Michael Jackson continued “phoning the boy”. The text of course looks innocent and only those of us who have to live in a MJ haters’ milieu know that if a matter is mentioned by them it is never a chance occurrence:
“Michael was still phoning Rodney Allen Rippy every Saturday morning but longed for someone to share his thoughts with on the other days of the week. Instead, he was forced to substitute the rats and snakes and birds he kept in cages in the playhouse.”
Fortunately due to Rythmofthetide site we know who Michael was sharing his thoughts with at exactly the same period of time and not only once a week (as with the boy) but every night and for a long time too.
It was a girl, Tatum O’Neal as her father recalled in his conversation with Piers Morgan:
O’NEAL: She had a career. She had a picture. She had everything she wanted. She danced with Michael Jackson. He called every night. She was a happy camper.
From the same site I know that Howard Stern extracted information from Tatum that they had “made out together” with Jackson. What exactly that means I don’t know but it should be something which points to Michael Jackson having interests other than phoning “boys” or playing with his rats. We also learn that Michael Jackson was very much in love with Diane Ross and it was real:
Howard: Ever make out with…
Tatum: Michael Jackson? Yes.
Howard: So you did make out with Michael Jackson?
Tatum: (laughing) Yes. Uh-huh.
Howard: Now that’s weird.
Tatum: Sorry. That’s not weird, come on, that’s lucky. A lot of people would want to make out with him, it was before had all that face work done, come on.
Howard: But I thought you said he was kind of scared…
Tatum: He was scared… he had a big half… (gets interrupted)
Howard: Of course he was scared, he was a homosexual man.
Tatum: Was he? Is that what you think? He was in love with Diana Ross and I know that that was real.
What was impossible between the two of them when Tatum was 12 years old (1975) could very well become a reality much later – Michael was friends with her for long if we believe the picture of them together taken sometime around Thriller time (1983). The pictures and the story behind them should definitely be added to our manual for readers who are struggling with those “presexual” ideas from the Sullivan project.
* * *
On occasions Sullivan’s tendency to believe every lie told about Jackson lands him in really big trouble. The first case of it was the “detachable nose” story of course, which could be easily rechecked by the autopsy report and upon verification indeed proved to be a big and nasty lie.
The second case of Sullivan’s shame is his description of Neverland main house and its “33 rooms”. Over here Sullivan was probably inspired by Victor Gutierrez who in his BS book about Jackson also said that the ranch had 36 rooms.
Sounds right to those who readily believe those gleeful media stories about Michael Jackson’s “lavish style”? Well, then these people will be disappointed to know that the real number of rooms in Michael’s home should be divided almost by three.
This is what Sullivan says about Michael’s house without batting an eye-lid:
“The 13,000-square-foot main residence, set among one of the most beautiful groves of live oaks in all of California, was a hybrid Tudor mansion and Dutch farmhouse, with brick and masonry walls built around massive wooden beams that framed leaded glass windows, topped by a beautifully gabled roof. There were seventeen rooms on the first floor, sixteen rooms upstairs, and an enormous wine cellar below ground.”
And this is what the official sources say – the main house had only 5 bedrooms:
“Known for its youthful atmosphere, Neverland’s main residence is over 13,000 square feet with 5 bedrooms.”
After reading the above the first thing we need to say is that Sullivan should stop reading Gutierrez – it is harmful for one’s brains and general frame of mind.
The second thing we need to do is find out the real number of rooms in Michael’s house. Our Lynette had already provided the floor plans of the house in an earlier post, but a new detailed version of them is now coming in Enola Lee’s site which I found within a mere half an hour of looking. With maps like these we don’t need “sources” like Sullivan and Gutierrez any more.
Enola Lee gives a link to the Architectal Digest where she found the maps. The Digest says that when Michael Jackson bought the estate “the furnishings were included. The singer kept the interiors as they were”.
Well, if Michael kept the interiors as they were, then the walls should have stayed intact all the more so and we can very well believe the map made by the previous owner.
The map of the ground floor of Michael’s house shows 7 rooms including MJ’s two-storeyed suite and a breakfast room (which is actually part of the kitchen). The ground floor also has an entrance hall, some corridors, bathrooms and the staff quarters (which look like 2 rooms to me).
The map of the upper floor shows 5 big rooms plus some open space in the centre of the house where the stairs are. There is a kind of a gallery on the upper floor which is running directly over the entrance foyer.
All in all that barely makes 12 rooms with the exception of the staff quarters. However thinking that Sullivan probably considered every hall, bathroom and closet to be a room too, I thoroughly added them up as well, but even that brought me to the number of no more than 25.
SULLIVAN, WHERE ARE THE REST OF THE ROOMS? We included every closet into the list but are still unable to reach the number of 33!
And why do you also say that the “enormous” wine cellar was in the house? Our Susanne has not been to Neverland either, but she knows that the wine cellar was under the Arcade and the Arcade was a separate building at the ranch. Shall we send you a map of Neverland?
And by the way, was the wine cellar really that enormous? By the picture of it it wasn’t – it was just as the previous owner built it – no less, no more…
I think we should not only send to Sullivan the Neverland map, but explain to him what an “enormous” house really means.
The examples of enormous properties are provided by the same source which previously described Neverland. It says that Oprah Winfrey’s house in California, for example, is twice as big as Michael Jackson’s as it covers 25,000 square feet (and not 13,000) and George Clooney’s villa in Italy has 25 rooms, and not 12 like Michael’s (excluding closets of course):
Oprah Winfrey. Located near Santa Barbara, California, Oprah’s house is one of the biggest celebrity homes around. Covering more than forty acres and 23,000- square-feet, this property sports more than ten bathrooms, six bedrooms, a home theater, and ten fireplaces. Furthermore, Oprah Winfrey’s home contains the most green space in all of Santa Barbara.
George Clooney. Coming equipped with more than 25 rooms, George Clooney’s huge Italian villa in Lake Como, Italy, definitely makes the list as one of the best celebrity houses. Featuring a gigantic swimming pool, a garage stocked with motorcycles and an outdoor theater, it’s no wonder that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie decided to wed there.
Let us consider the matter of Neverland’s fictional “33 rooms” closed. After all the number of rooms would not be that important if only it didn’t show the number of horrible lies Sullivan used as his sources.
I still have 650 pages of Sullivan’s book to go…