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SANDY GALLIN and DAVID GEFFEN as Michael Jackson’s management team

December 26, 2018

We know who David Geffen is. But who is Sandy Gallin?

Sandy Gallin

The late Sandy Gallin was Geffen’s friend who worked for Michael Jackson for 6 years and replaced Frank Dileo as Michael’s personal manager. The most interesting thing about Gallin is that we know next to nothing about him though he managed Michael’s career during the crucial period of August 1990 to mid or end of 1996.

The end point of Gallin’s tenure is unclear and is somewhat shrouded in mystery, while the time he started on the job is absolutely definite – Gallin was hired by Michael Jackson on August 18, 1990 during a monumental power shift at Sony engineered by David Geffen.

You can see this post for details of that power grab. The very short of it is that as a result of Geffen’s behind-the-scene manipulations the old team of Walter Yetnikoff/Frank Dileo/John Branca was ousted after the many years of successful cooperation with MJ and was replaced by Geffen’s people.

Some of them were Geffen’s lawyers (like Bert Fields, for example) or bosom friends (like Sandy Gallin), and some were his new allies at Sony (like Tommy Mottola and lawyer Allen Grubman) who were initially on Yetnikoff’s side, but went over to Geffen as a winner in the battle between the relatively vegetarian old boss and the new shark in the lagoon. This moniker was given to Geffen by Paul Rothchild who was an early victim of his ruthlessness and warned others some time in the 80s: “When David Geffen enters the California waters as a manager, the sharks have entered the lagoon.”

Geffen was involved in an ugly feud with Yetnikoff and had a personal grudge against him, however the 1990 purge also harmed people like Frank Dileo and John Branca whose only guilt was that they were on good terms with Yetnikoff.

After some whispering in Michael’s ear the first to go was Frank Dileo – to be later replaced by Sandy Gallin who was supposed to create a stellar film career for Michael in Hollywood.

A little more whispering – and John Branca had to go too, replaced by three lawyers of Geffen’s choice, one of whom was Allen Grubman who took care of Michael’s new and notorious contract with Sony.

However a simple dismissal of those who were not to his liking was not enough for David Geffen. According to Geffen’s authorized biography by Tom King, after Branca’s dismissal Geffen “went on a rampage” to ruin Branca and his career. With this in view he made calls to others in the industry instructing them to fire him too.

From Tom King’s “Operator”, p.468:

Geffen also turned on John Branca, Michael Jackson’s lawyer, who had become Jackson’s de facto manager since he’d fired Frank DiLeo. Branca was close to Yetnikoff, and Geffen wanted him out, too. Influenced by Geffen’s reports that Branca was getting too large a share of the singer’s income, Jackson soon told Branca he was letting him go.

In addition, Geffen went on a rampage to ruin Branca, working the early-morning telephone and instructing many other people to fire him as well…. When Lowenstien refused to heed Geffen’s call, Geffen turned on him, too. Their friendship, dating to 1969, was finished.

The small detail about Geffen ending a 20-year old friendship with a friend who refused to fire his lawyer at Geffen’s whim is an interesting touch to his character.  It shows Geffen’s vindictiveness and the intensity of his hate for Branca.

Hate for what reason, I wonder? Or was it rivalry and the desire to do away with someone who could be a potential advisor to Michael Jackson and lead him another way? If that is the case it points to how important Michal was for Geffen and how eager he was to keep him in his grip.

Whatever Geffen’s motivation was the colorful detail about calling others to fire Branca for no reason at all should not be forgotten – this modus operandi may help to fill in other gaps in the overall picture of the events around Michael Jackson.


At the moment out of the whole new crowd that gathered around MJ in the summer of 1990 it is Sandy Gallin who interests us most.

To a certain extent this interest is sparked off by the absence of any information about him. Why indeed, do we know so little about Gallin? And was the change from Frank Dileo to Gallin worth it? Was he really as indispensable to Michael Jackson as Geffen made him out to be?

Sandy Gallin’s short biography published following his death at age 76 last year says that he “led a varied life in show business.” “He was an agent and talent manager, representing Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Mariah Carey and Limp Bizkit. “He led Michael Jackson out of crisis mode in the early ‘90s”. “He produced TV shows and films, eventually partnering with Dolly Parton; and late in life he designed luxury homes.” Gallin’s contributions to Michael’s career were “engineering his appearances at the Super Bowl and on the Grammy Awards,  American Music Awards and President Clinton’s pre-inaugural gala; he also arranged the televised sit-down with Oprah Winfrey.”

And that is all.

No word is said about placing Michael Jackson in the movies which was essentially the main reason why Geffen talked Michael into hiring Gallin. Even if those plans did exist none of them ever materialized or were even initiated by Gallin. Moreover, after a closer look we also find that Gallin’s few efforts at producing movies were far from successful and he only wanted to make a big career for himself in Hollywood.

So the interview with Oprah, the Superbowl event, Clinton’s gala and a couple of awards Michael would have received anyway are about all MJ had from Sandy Gallin for the 6-year period while he was his personal manager and earning a fee in seven figures annually.

Jim Morey

However, it is also true that during that period Michael Jackson went on two world tours – “Dangerous” and “History”, but the person responsible for engineering those events was obviously not Gallin, but Jim Morey, his partner at a personal management company, Gallin Morey Associates.

The official sources describe Jim Morey as “one of the music industry’s foremost experts on live events and concert touring who has broken box office records around the world with acts such as Mariah Carey’s Butterfly World Tour, numerous Neil Diamond tours and the record breaking Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus tours”, AND Michael Jackson’s Dangerous and HIStory Tours – which makes it clear that the credit for those tours must go to Jim Morey and not Sandy Gallin as we could initially think.

But what did Sandy Gallin do then?


The answer to this question depends on what media you are reading.

If it is a Spy article dated March/April 1996 which ridicules Gallin under a nasty headline ‘Wacko Jacko Flacko Is Having Girl Troubles’ (though never mentioning MJ), you will learn that Gallin was totally unsuitable for managing anyone’s career at all – he ignored his own financial statements and when deposed couldn’t answer a simple question about his own income.

His work schedule began at 2 p.m., never on Fridays, and started with a daily meditation with a guru. The meditation never helped as the next moment Gallin stormed into another of his moods and wreaked havoc by throwing pieces of office equipment at the doors.

His daily routine included making telephone calls during massage and having manicures and pedicures while attending business meetings. To make his business a success he convened “a congress of shamans” who blessed his work by shaking chicken bones over every door in his office.

In addition to all that Gallin liked promoting his boyfriends to positions of authority at his company though they had neither training, nor background in the business other than “going to parties on Gallin’s Armanied arm”. Actually, it was his preferential treatment of men and discrimination of women staff that led to a lawsuit from a former employer, which is the immediate reason for this article in SPY.

SPY March/April 1996

By C.C.Baxter

…some file checking at L.A. Superior Court revealed a civil suit brought against Gallin and his company, Gallin Morey Associates, by ex-employee Nancy Lewis.

Lewis sued for wrongful dismissal, employment discrimination, fraud, breach of implied contract, and breach of good faith and fair dealing.

Right before the trial went to the jury, Gallin settled with Lewis for an undisclosed sum, and Lewis’s attorney, Jennifer Mintz – although gagged by a nondisclosure agreement – is surely grinning in tandem with Lewis, like the cat that ate the canary.

In her civil suit, Lewis – an ex-receptionist-turned-assistant – complained that she was denied a managerial promotion in favor of (with only one exception) men, who were hired and/or promoted “often with no respect for their background, training, or credentials.”

While women were “channeled” into secretarial slots, men were given higher salaries and more responsibilities, asserts the complaint.

Fired after informing Gallin of her intent to consult with an attorney concerning her rights regarding sexual discrimination at his company, Lewis was replaced by – you guessed it – a man. Here’s where it gets interesting.

The man that replaced Lewis, and who was quickly promoted to manager, was – surprise! – Gallin’s then current, now ex-, lover Scott Bankston. Of course, this is an old Hollywood story of nepotism with a party boy twist: Bankston had no background in the business other than going to parties on Gallin’s Armanied arm – but what’s really revealed is how Gallin’s business style actually contributes to the unmanageability of what calls itself a management concern.

 …ask him how much he makes sometimes and his brain becomes a Rubik’s Cube. When asked in the Lewis case what his income was. Gallin replied, “I don’t know.” Besides ignoring his financialstatements, what exactly does the man who handles Roseanne do?

He seems more enthusiastic about running in league with the “G” in SKG [Spielberg, Katz, Geffen]  and with Barry Diller than he does about tending to his clients’ concerns.

When client Margaret Cho’s show tanked, her calls didn’t get promptly returned. And we’re talking serious lack of vision here: When potential client George Clooney was suggested to him Gallin dismissively asked, “How good can he be?” Oops.

So… No knowledge of his own income, zero vision, and who can explain the relationship between the well-regarded Jim Morey and the despised Gallin?

“Sandy must know where Jim’s bodies are buried,” states one of some forty-odd employees who passed in and out of Gallin’s office during an eight-month period between ’94 and ’95.

What does Sandy Gallin do again? After working out with his personal trainer, he usually shows up at the office around 2 P.M. – never on Fridays.

He takes manicures and pedicures during meetings, then meditates with his guru behind closed doors. One minute after he’s done meditating, it’s told, a piece of office equipment hits his door and “havoc is wreaked again.” Another employee describes Gallin thus:

“He is the most miserable person on earth. He has everything he could possibly want, and he is the most miserable person I’ve ever met. He gets in these moods when he storms around the office… Within a month of moving to our new office there were holes in the walls, and a Lucite table was overturned.”

Curiously, before roosting in his news suite, Gallin convened a veritable ecumenical congress of shamans to bless the place – shaking their respective chicken bones over every door in the office. Immediately after the ceremony, the atmosphere was described as “creepy… evil”.

Nah. Just another day in paradise.

If at least one yota of the above is true the Wacko title should be applied to Gallin and will suit him very much. This story also gives us the idea of the new management standards Michael Jackson was subjected to as a result of that unfortunate power grab by Geffen’s team.

However if you read different media – the Vanity Fair, for example, which is noted for inexplicably warm feelings towards David Geffen and his friends – you will probably get similar facts, but in a much more attractive package that will easily reconcile you with the mild eccentricities of the Hollywood rich.

This Vanity Fair article by Matthew Tyrnauer is also dated April 1996 and it presents Sandy Gallin as a “premier” talent manager and “one of the two or three most powerful talent managers in Hollywood”. The article focuses on Gallin’s association with the tight-knit crowd of Barry Diller, Calvin Klein, and David Geffen and with a slight tinge of irony mentions Gallin’s regular communication with an even higher power (God).

Here are some excerpts from their long story which starts with Gallin’s prayer said in Mortons restaurant after a plate of ahi tuna and a glass of Chardonnay.

Sandy’s Castle

APRIL 1996

…“Dear God and God of our fathers, please accept my thanks for showing me the way to release all stress, strain, anxiety, fears, illnesses, greed, meanness, madness, judgment, hatred, anger, vindictiveness—anything evil, anything ill…[ ]

This continues for about four minutes, until, finally, the man who is considered one of the two or three most powerful talent managers in Hollywood emerges from his heartfelt litany and looks up at me from behind his Giorgio Armani frames with a wide and contented smile. 

Clearly it would be impossible for someone who does not love, understand, and cherish Hollywood and its very strange ways to love, understand, and cherish Sandy Gallin. His vision of himself comes from movies about Hollywood. Gallin is larger than life. He knows it. He wears only red underwear, for example, when he does business, because a clairvoyant once told him to. And that’s just the beginning.

Sorry to interrupt, but the previous article mentioned “a congress of shamans” and now it is “red underwear for business meetings” advised by a clairvoyant. Frankly, all of it reminds me of the voodoo ritual alleged about MJ by the same Vanity Fair.

Michael Jackson was not known to be involved in such practices – he cried out of disgrace even when he broke the Jenovah Witnesses’ rule to never celebrate Christmas for the first time, poor thing. But for those who invite shamans to succeed in business the cows sacrificed to get rid of the enemies do not sound that out of place…

The article continues by calling Gallin “an incredible exhibitionist” and praise from some people who were also close friends of Michael Jackson.

“He has so many colors,” says Gallin’s chum Elizabeth Taylor. “He can envelop with protective vibes as well as with his humor and warmth, and yet I’ve seen him in situations where he just cuts through like a diamond cutter—I mean, there’s no bullshit!”

Testimony from Parton: “He has the magic touch. He’s also very childlike and he leaves himself open to a lot of hurt. . . . Sandy is often misunderstood, because he’s so playful, but anyone who has been around him knows that. ”

Diller, who counts himself among Gallin’s closest friends, doesn’t mention magic, but surely sees the wonder of Gallin. “Sandy is a rare good spirit. He has a unique way of establishing very direct contact with people that forms a kind of quick trust, confidence—a kind of complete comfort to both that both sides trust. That’s a very rare gift. It’s a real talent,” he says.

A Hollywood insider—also a Gallin admirer—offers a less burnished view, however: “Sandy has no shame, and when you have no shame you stick yourself out there. The major thing about Sandy that everyone would say is that he’s an incredible exhibitionist. He is not afraid to be embarrassed.”[ ]

Malibu. A brisk, hazy morning. More prayer is taking place. Gallin stands over a huge sleigh bed with a Jewish prayer cloth called a tallis covering his face.

This daily ritual began after Gallin was diagnosed with metastasized melanoma in 1985. He made a very remarkable recovery. …I became much more spiritual. That’s when I started putting on tefillin. I paid more attention to diet, I started drinking wheatgrass every day, and I got to know Deepak Chopra… 

Gallin’s ritual begins daily at seven A.M. He also does meditation and lifts weights with Brian Harmon, his personal trainer, in his enormous private gym. Then he gets on the StairMaster or treadmill. The latter two activities are performed with a telephone headset. (He makes and returns up to 200 calls a day and sometimes seems to pant heavily through his early-morning business conversations.)

He doesn’t get to the Beverly Hills office of his management firm, Gallin Morey Associates, until about noon. (However, he stays there until 9 or 10 P.M.) Yet he assures me that “I’m never away from a phone for more than three minutes.” He even talks on the phone while he’s being massaged. “Don’t worry,” he assured me once as he moaned gutturally, “I’m not dying. I’m getting a shiatsu.”[ ]

“I got married on Christmas Day in 1965 and moved to California that day.” The marriage lasted only eight months, for Gallin, throughout most of his life, has been, as his friend Gore Vidal might say, a dedicated “homosexualist”. “Since then he has had several relationships with men, including a now deceased actor and Scott Bankston, a 33-year-old manager, whom Gallin formerly employed at Gallin Morey. (Gallin recently settled a sexual-discrimination suit brought by a female employee who claimed that Gallin gave preferential treatment to male employees. Gallin refused to comment, except to say, “The case has been terminated.”)

But what makes Sandy Gallin special is that he is part of a small group of close friends that has been Gallin’s extended family for over 20 years. Barry Diller calls their dedication to each other nothing else but “cradle to grave, like a good socialist state”. 

Barry Diller (then at Paramount), Calvin Klein, David Geffen (had just launched Geffen Records), and Sandy Gallin nap together in this 1981 photo from Kelly Klein’s new book Photographs by Kelly Klein, posted online by NY Mag Daily Intelligencer’s Christopher Bonanos. (

Gallin, it is very well known, has familial ties apart from the Queen of Country. He is a member of a group of people whose longtime association makes Bloomsbury look dull and unindustrious. “Barry Diller, Diane Von Furstenberg, Calvin and Kelly Klein, David Geffen, and Fran Lebowitz are like an extended family,” Gallin acknowledges with a good deal of pride. “There are a lot of other people in and out of the family, too . . . but over the last 20 years that’s the core.”

This glamorous, rich crowd goes on vacations together, as they did last Christmas, to Harbour Island in the Bahamas. And everyone calls everyone else—especially Geffen, Diller, and Gallin, who are all Malibu neighbors—with great frequency.

“Cradle to grave, just like a good socialist state” is how Barry Diller describes the loyalty and support of his group of close friends.

Gallin confirms this: “Just like any family, we go through periods of fighting with each other, being disappointed with each other—and that’s why it’s like a family, because it has lasted for 20 to 30 years.” [ ]

Occasionally, according to Gallin, he consults with Diller and Geffen on business matters. In fact, one of Gallin’s greatest sources of profits over the last few years originated with Geffen: he is the one who introduced Gallin to Michael Jackson.

Engineering the four-to five-year plan for the production of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, which became one of the most successful albums in the world . . .”

Sorry to interrupt again, but there was no plan – Michael was choosing between a “Decade” album suggested by Branca that would include mostly the old hits and give him some rest, but eventually decided in favor of the new material. So if even Michael was undecided until the last minute, how could Sandy Gallin “engineer the five-year plan of the album production”?

Also noteworthy is Gallin’s open admission that Michael Jackson is one of his greatest sources of profit and that the lucrative job was procured for him by his friend David Geffen.

Gallin has been attempting to engineer the same kind of success for Jackson’s latest album, HIStory, which has so far been a disappointment, selling fewer than three million copies in the U.S. He says the album has to be “viewed as a three-year project,” but admits that sales have been slow and that he expected the album would have “jump-started much faster than it did.”

Through all the horrendous controversy that has swirled around Jackson in the past several years, Gallin has remained for the most part silent. He leaves public comment to Jackson’s press agents, preferring to work with the client behind the scenes. When I ask him if there is any way to control the image of such an unearthly icon, he is rather surprisingly resigned:

“At this moment there is almost nothing anyone can do to control the press regarding Michael. I think that the press has been so vicious and negative toward him that no matter how successful, or no matter what good deeds he would do, they would be misrepresented in the press.”

The above is hardly believable. Gallin and Geffen were inseparable, and according to Tom King “Geffen had recognized how easy it was for him to manipulate the press. The media were to become some of his most powerful tools to help him get what he wanted.” So if they wanted they could.

Not that I am suggesting that Geffen should have manipulated the press to help Michael Jackson, but since he was doing it anyway, he could have done at least something to restrain the media from trashing him. Instead, Geffen and Sandy Gallen “remained for the most part silent.”

No wonder that by that moment Michael Jackson was ready to part ways with Sandy Gallin. The Vanity Fair article mentions the rumors of their split, but Gallin denies it. And formally he may be right – the article is dated April 1996 and the media will report Michael’s change of management only in February 1997, when the LA Daily Variety will announce that “Sandy Gallin-Jim Morey Associates was notified that it will be replaced by Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who met Jackson in 1994 at Euro Disney.”

Recently there was a report that Gallin and Jackson were ready to part ways. Gallin denies this and says the relationship is “status quo.” He says, “I have heard in the press that he is firing me, and that I am resigning, neither of which has happened.”

Though Gallin Morey Associates is hugely profitable and enjoys a good reputation and has a healthy list of long-standing clients [] insiders have begun to talk about its being “the elephants’ graveyard.” One former employee faults Gallin: “He wants all the people when they’re so famous. It could be argued that taking on Michael Jackson at the end of his career, instead of at the beginning, was a bad move.”

Gallin and his agency have undoubtedly made enormous profits from their association with Michael Jackson (who earns Gallin an estimated seven figures annually) and Parton (and even Neil Diamond, who remains, thanks to foreign appearances, among the biggest arena attractions in the world). But you could say, perhaps fairly, that Gallin is not as adept as his friend David Geffen at staying on the cutting edge with new young artists. He is more old-style in his approach to his role and his tastes.

Gallin’s long suit has been the cultivation of big-room acts—and big egos.

“Part of Sandy’s success with his clients,” adds a former employee, “is that he never says ‘No’ to them. If Roseanne says, ‘I want to do a clothing line,’ he says, ‘Done.’ And that’s a good thing, I think, unless you’re allowing your clients to do something that will hurt them.”

Gallin’s film-and-TV venture with Parton is another source of interest among industry worthies, some of whom point out that throughout its 10 years in the movie business Sandollar has shown a lackluster performance with pictures such as Shining Through and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And he admits that “Sandollar Productions hasn’t hit the jackpot yet.”

If I understand all these euphemisms right Sandy Gallin had a struggling career in Hollywood. For the 10 years of his film-and-TV venture existence the few movies he produced were no success, and this means that all that whispering in Michael’s ear about the great career awaiting him in Hollywood in case he hired Gallin was just smoke and mirrors.

Apparently, the main idea of that managerial job was to feed off Michael’s success and turn him into a source of enormous profit. And since it was meant to last forever Gallin’s management style was reduced to just saying “yes” and “keeping the client happy” (which is standard Hollywood practice).

The rest of the Vanity Fair article essentially repeats Spy, only in a much more benign manner.

There are other shenanigans. Gallin, a mercurial office presence, is not always known for his kindness to underlings. He is known for having manicures during conferences and other eccentricities. At CAA, according to an inside source, Gallin once wore “big, complex” earrings to a meeting at which agents Michael Ovitz and Jack Rapke were to be in attendance. [ ]

I try to slip in a question of considerable concern: “Have you had a face-lift?”

For the first time, Gallin loses his cool.

“No! No face-lift! If,” he admits, “If I had a guarantee that it would look good, I would definitely have a face-lift. But I don’t want to look like my ears are touching behind my head! The only reason why I would not do a face-lift is that I have seen too many bad results.”

On the subject of his actually completed cosmetic renewal, he is just as frank. “It’s probably much, much less than people think. But you can set the record straight,” he says. “I had my nose done in college, and I had my eyes done two years ago.” In the mid-80s, he also “had a chin implant, because I knew that I had no profile.”

While he’s on the subject, he adds, “I was thinking this morning that I have to visit Arnie Klein for collagen injections. I think I haven’t been for about six months.”

What an impressive portrait! However it’s time we looked into the way the cool Sandy Gallin led Michael Jackson out of the crisis mode as his bio claimed it.


The Los Angeles Times published another long story about Sandy Gallin on January 16, 1994 – just a week prior to MJ’s settlement with the Chandlers. However despite our expectations it is not so much about leading Michael out of the crisis, but about the explanations why the “exhibitionist” prefers to keep a low profile and why it is only now that he will make a statement in support of Jackson.

The statement is short but not bad,  however the rest of this 6-page story is all about Gallin and the various reasons why he should be liked despite his ill temper and self-absorption.

COVER STORY: Managing in Turbulent Times : As personal manager to some of Hollywood’s biggest names, Sandy Gallin has earned a rep for keeping secrets and dodging the spotlight. Now, the task of rebuilding Michael Jackson’s image has forced him front and center

January 16, 1994|CLAUDIA ELLER | Claudia Eller is The Times’ movie editor

Lying on the floor of his posh, newly remodeled Fifth Avenue apartment overlooking Central Park while getting a shiatsu massage, Hollywood mega-manager Sandy Gallin tells a reporter on the phone that he is finally ready to step out of the background and talk about the crisis plaguing his superstar client Michael Jackson.

“Let me read you something,” says Gallin, 53, who also represents such other pop icons as Dolly Parton and Neil Diamond. Reading an emotionally charged statement he has prepared for The Times in defense of Jackson–who five months ago was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy and now faces a civil lawsuit set to go to trial March 21–Gallin finally breaks his carefully cultivated low profile, saying, “I can no longer remain a silent witness.

“Over several weeks now I have watched in silent horror the press crucify and assassinate Michael’s character without any solid evidence and with no response from his side,” he reads. “Based on my very thorough and intimate knowledge of Michael’s activities” and “insights into his character, I am convinced that Michael has done nothing that is illegal or immoral.

“Michael’s innocent, open and childlike relationships with children may appear bizarre and strange to adults in our society who cannot conceive of any relationship without sexual connotations. . . . This is not a reflection of Michael’s character; rather it is a symptom of the sexual phobias of our society.”

Gallin says the only reason for speaking up now is to help Jackson, not out of concern for his own image. “I stay in the background and my association with Michael is not that public.”

He is certainly right about that. Unlike his two best friends, Barry Diller and David Geffen–neither of whom can be said to be press shy–Sandy Gallin has managed to keep his personal and professional lives out of the media spotlight during his 30-year career, particularly when it involves scandal.

Diller defends his friend’s choice of a low-profile strategy: “The reason he’s chosen this tack is to maintain his dignity.” Referring to the Jackson crisis, Diller says: “In a situation which has become such a media circus, I think what he’s decided is one more voice isn’t going to do anyone any good. He decided that the only way to best serve his client was not to talk.” [ ]

It’s safe to say that Gallin is facing the toughest gig of his career: rebuilding the image of the world’s biggest and now most beleaguered pop star.

It was only a year ago that Gallin, who began working for Jackson in August, 1990, persuaded the excruciatingly shy Jackson to try to transform his peculiar image. Gallin engineered the star’s appearances on various televised award shows in early 1993, including the NAACP Image Awards, the American Music Awards and the Grammys, and booked him at President Clinton’s pre-inaugural gala, the Super Bowl and finally an intimate televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, his first in more than a decade.

Gallin says that as a result of those appearances, Jackson’s “Dangerous” album, which had been out more than 18 months, shot up the Billboard charts from No. 143 to No. 9 and went on to outsell his “Bad” album worldwide. And of course, it was hardly a one-way street; a source close to Gallin speculates that the manager earns annual fees “in the seven figures” from Jackson alone.

While he may feel differently about it privately, Gallin is unwavering that Jackson’s image will remake itself again: “When all of the facts come out and people find out how Michael was taken advantage of and extorted, I believe the public sympathy will be enormous toward him.”

When the sex-abuse allegations first surfaced in mid-August, Gallin dismissed them as just another extortion attempt, of which Jackson, he says, is the target of “numerous” times a year because of his wealth. But the matter escalated, and Jackson has been under investigation by Los Angeles and Santa Barbara police, although there have been no criminal charges. []

During the last five months, Gallin has let Jackson’s high-powered attorneys and other handlers work the front lines, while he has quietly worked behind the scenes. Jackson’s litigation attorney, Howard L. Weitzman, says Gallin has contributed to “every major decision” Jackson has made, including the live broadcast in December from his Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara, in which for the first time he pleaded his innocence publicly. Weitzman says he believes the appeal, which was largely Gallin’s idea, “greatly enhanced Jackson’s image.”

Elizabeth Taylor, a good friend of Gallin’s, and Jackson’s closest confidant, says Gallin’s support of Jackson has been invaluable. “He is the best possible friend Michael can have. He’s shown such restraint and such care of Michael from the very onset.”

Taylor says that when Jackson became addicted to painkillers last fall, in part because of stress over the child-abuse allegations, Gallin insisted that Jackson’s “Dangerous” world tour be canceled.

“He said, ‘It’s going to cost a lot of money–to hell with that, his health is more important.” Gallin, Taylor adds, “was one of the only ones who really cared about Michael’s well-being. Sandy and I have been the most blunt and honest and there for him.” [ ]

Gallin has managed to stay at the top of his field at least in part by his discretion and fierce loyalty. [ ] This quality is undoubtedly valued by the very private Jackson, who in a brief phone interview with The Times from Mexico City before the cancellation of his tour said Gallin’s best attributes as a manager are “his competence, his loyalty and his honesty. Those three things you can’t buy–they’re important to me. It’s very important not only to be together professionally but to be comrades.”

Landing Jackson as a client was clearly the biggest coup of Gallin’s career and a nice gift from pal Geffen, who helped bring the two together. But it was the kind of signing Gallin no doubt expected to make one day. From childhood, Gallin says, “I always knew I was going to be successful.”

The sons of middle-class Jewish parents, young Albert Samuel Gallin and his older brother, Henry, moved from Brooklyn to Lawrence on Long Island, then the richest Jewish community in New York.

[the story of Gallin’s family follows]

After graduating from college, Gallin took a $50-a-week job working in the mail room of the New York office of General Artists Corp.

[the story of his career follows]

Gallin formed his own management company in 1985 with Jim Morey. The same year saw the launch, with Parton, of Sandollar.

[the story of Gallin’s past and future projects follows]

Despite these ambitious plans–and Gallin’s hope to “raise the quality of the movies”–he maintains that management remains his first priority. Parton says, “Sandy is the greatest manager anyone can have.” Their close friendship, however, did not sit well with some of Gallin’s other important clients, including Rivers and, reportedly, Cher. . . . . they were jealous because we have such a great and rare friendship.”

[the story of Gallin’s other clients follows]

Gallin does have his detractors, however, who are quick to say he can be ill-tempered, controlling and dismissive to people he thinks don’t matter to him. He is also very hard on people who work for him and with him, which even he admits.

“He is respectful to the people he likes, needs and perceives to have power, and he is rude and dismissive to people he cares little for,” said a Hollywood executive who has done business with Gallin over the years. Gallin suggests that what may seem condescending is actually shyness.[ ] He does admit he has a hot temper (he claims it’s more under control, after four years on Prozac) and can be impatient. He admits he once threw a desk at a secretary. He also acknowledges: “I am a perfectionist and expect it from others–poor everyone around me.”

Gallin’s critics say he has lost many more high-profile clients than he has acquired, and that he is not the vital force with new talent that he once was. One highly placed record-industry source says: “He’s had a big turnover of employees and artists. Why? –he’s always delegated other people to manage his acts. Put it this way: He’s not on the tip of our tongues when we look for a manager for an act.”

“He’s competitive and self-absorbed, but basically he wants desperately to be liked,” says someone who knows him well. Gallin, in fact, is candid about his self-absorption. His extensive plastic surgery and three manicures a week in the office are legendary. His other indulgences? “Collagen as often as needed and massages three to four times a week.”

His morning ritual includes yoga, meditation and working out with a personal trainer. And he is admittedly hypochondriacal and has a relentless fear of getting AIDS, though he continues to test negative. [] Ten years ago Gallin had a different cause for worry. After discovering a lump under his arm, he learned he had cancer. Gallin said he began to mediate and use visualization techniques.

[the story about Gallin’s spirituality follows]

That growing reliance on the spiritual can only help during his current crisis. Diller says Gallin “doesn’t complain” about the emotional weight of the Jackson ordeal, but points out that “the fact that this has been an everyday crisis for so long, I think it’s a real tear on somebody. He may have great strength and reserve, but it can’t be easy on him.”

The two short conclusions I make from this long story is that 1) Gallin’s talents as a manager are greatly exaggerated and 2) what was supposed to be a piece in support of Jackson turned out to be six pages in support of Sandy Gallin who had to endure great emotional weight because of the Jackson ordeal.

June 15, 1995 brought Gallin another emotional ordeal – the lyrics of ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ off the History album were leaked by the NY Times pre-release article which caused a horrendous public outcry.

Bernard Weinraub, the journalist who broke the news, called the long awaited HIStory album which no one yet heard “profane, obscure, angry and filled with rage”. He also said that it included “a song with lyrics that can be interpreted as pointedly critical of Jews.”

In New Lyrics, Jackson Uses Slurs


One of the most anticipated and heavily promoted albums in years, Michael Jackson’s “HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I,” includes a song with lyrics that can be interpreted as pointedly critical of Jews.

Although Mr. Jackson has over the last decade built a reputation as a performer whose music consistently focuses on childhood, fantasy, love and brotherhood, his new double album, which is to be released by Sony Music on Tuesday, is profane, obscure, angry and filled with rage.

Because most of the lyrics on the album have been kept secret, few here appeared to be aware of its contents beyond the single “Scream,” which has been released along with a music video. In the song “They Don’t Care About Us,” however, Mr. Jackson sings, “Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me, don’t you black or white me.”

A copy of the album was obtained several weeks ago by Jon Pareles, the chief pop music critic for The New York Times.

In response to a reporter’s query about the lyrics of “They Don’t Care About Us,” Mr. Jackson gave a statement to The New York Times this afternoon. It said:

“The idea that these lyrics could be deemed objectionable is extremely hurtful to me, and misleading. The song in fact is about the pain of prejudice and hate and is a way to draw attention to social and political problems. I am the voice of the accused and the attacked. I am the voice of everyone. I am the skinhead, I am the Jew, I am the black man, I am the white man. I am not the one who was attacking. It is about the injustices to young people and how the system can wrongfully accuse them. I am angry and outraged that I could be so misinterpreted.”

Appearing on the ABC News program “Prime Time Live” tonight, Mr. Jackson denied that “They Don’t Care About Us” was anti-Semitic. “It’s not anti-Semitic because I’m not a racist person,” he said to the interviewer, Diane Sawyer. “I could never be a racist. I love all races.”

He added: “My accountants and lawyers are Jewish. My three best friends are Jewish — David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg.” Mr. Geffen, Mr. Katzenberg and Mr. Spielberg are partners in the Dreamworks studio.

Beat me Hate me You can never break meNo one yet heard the song, but the storm of anger was already crashing on Jackson.

The next day after Weinraub’s publication Army Archerd, the Daily Variety columnist severely attacked MJ and urged him to kill the song, though making some valid points in support of his opinion:

Jackson lyrics ignite storm of criticism

By Army Archerd

JUNE 16, 1995

GOOD MORNING: “Some of my best friends are Jews.” Not this one anymore, Michael Jackson. Your apologia for the phrase “Jew me” and the word “Kike” in the lyrics of your “They Don’t Care About Us” just doesn’t fly. Kill the song. Your young fans who have never heard these anti-Semitic words — which had hopefully been eradicated from American speech — will now use them as a part of their (and worldwide?) everyday conversation as they sing your song from the new “HIStory” album … Jackson’s manager, Sandy Gallin, and his attorney, Howard Weitzman, at first argued with me that the words were taken out of context by me and others who criticized ’em and that the song is Jackson’s plea for tolerance. I pointed out when Jackson uses those words, they become acceptable for ordinary conversation. Gallin and Weitzman themselves could very well be called by those names, thanks to Jackson’s revival of them. They agreed they would tell Michael that something should be said/done …

Gallin and Geffen did say a word of support for Michael in the press, but what stayed behind the scene is that Gallin heard the record numerous times before its release and never objected to it.

In fact Gallin said that when he heard the song he thought that the lyrics were brilliant.

“When asked yesterday about the lyrics of “They Don’t Care About Us,” Sandy Gallin, Mr. Jackson’s manager, said in an interview that they should be taken in context. “When I heard those lyrics, I thought they were brilliant,” he said. “He’s saying, stop labeling people, stop degrading people, stop calling them names. The song is about not being prejudiced. To take two lines out of context is unfair.”

And Geffen explained them by Michael being naïve.

Jewish leaders on Thursday condemned Michael Jackson’s use of anti-Semitic terms in a new song, but the singer’s longtime friend, entertainment mogul David Geffen, defended the musician as simply “naive.” “There’s not one iota of anti-Semitism in Michael,” said Geffen, who is Jewish. “He’s not a hater of any kind. At worst, sometimes he’s naive, and I think to the degree that anybody is bothered or offended, he’s genuinely sorry.”

In reply to the condemnations Michael remonstrated that his intentions were misinterpreted and that it was simply an unfortunate choice of words, insisting that many of the Jewish associates he cited as close friends heard the song “over and over” (and no one minded it) .

This detail may look unimportant, but in reality it is the crucial one – it means that not only Gallin, but possibly Geffen too, same as Michael’s other Jewish associates, heard the record in advance, but none of them warned him of possible ramifications.

Imagine that you have, say, a Muslim personal manager responsible for your public image and you are careless enough to use in your song a word that sounds extremely derogatory to other Muslims. He (as well as his friends) hears your song over and over again, but doesn’t say a word of objection to it and even calls it “brilliant”. Will you consider him at least partially responsible for the ensuing scandal?

LA Times June 23, 1995

Jackson first announced his decision to re-record “They Don’t Care About Us,” the controversial song off his new “HIStory” album, with a phone call to Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd.

“Haven’t you ever done something that you wish you had never done? I do. So, now I’ll change it,” Jackson told Archerd.

Gallin was one of those people who heard the record and Jackson’s manager said that even though he is Jewish, he did not know the ramifications of the slur. “I personally had no idea. It has not been in use for many, many years, and was not something that children would recognize as racism. The mere usage of the word, of bringing it back, is the essence of where the mistake was,” Gallin said.

In his Daily Variety comments, Jackson told Archerd that many of the Jewish associates he cites as close friends heard the song “over and over.”

Until the new version of “They Don’t Care About Us” can be added to “HIStory,” the album will have stickers that say the following: “There has been a lot of controversy about my song, ‘They Don’t Care About Us.’ My intention was for this song to say ‘No’ to racism, anti-Semitism and stereotyping. Unfortunately, my choice of words may have unintentionally hurt the very people I wanted to stand in solidarity with. I just want you all to know how strongly I am committed to tolerance, peace and love, and I apologize to anyone who might have been hurt. Respectfully, Michael Jackson.”

If we recall Frank Dileo, John Branca or Yetnikoff as former Michael’s associates I am more than sure that they would have cautioned Michael from making a mistake. But Gallin whose credo was to always say “yes” to his clients, encouraged Michael to proceed, and Geffen who probably also heard it in advance, preferred to distance himself and later played the naïve card.

And there is one more side to this strange story – someone must have leaked those lyrics to the press expecting the firestorm to damage Michael’s name and sink the new album. MJ fans will probably habitually look in the direction of Sony, but Sony can hardly be a suspect as they invested millions in the album and did not benefit by the scandal.

But then who?

And this is where the story gets complicated.

(to be continued)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. permalink
    April 19, 2019 11:49 pm

    In the book Michael and Me – Shana goes into far more detail during this time with Sandy. Since she worked as the secretary there for nearly a decade. Taking her claims to be MJs girlfriend out of the book, you get quite a picture of what was going on while MJ was the star client.

    MJ was almost finished making the music video for Adams Family Values during this time when the filming was suddenly stopped due to the controversaries. This devastated Michael. Later he would go on to make the short film Ghosts based on what he had already filmed for the Adams Family Values video. It’s interesting to note that MJ is perceived as a monster that the villagers want to Lynch mob and call him names. Again more themes similar to the allegations against him and They Don’t Care About Us.

    As for the controversy with They Don’t Care About Us lyrics. it seems more than a coincidence that Weinraub ended up marrying the head of Columbia Pictures at the time. And they were so outraged and insulted by the anti Semitic lyrics and themes that it halted MJs film career. the main reason MJ signed the contact with the first place.

    In Shana’s book she talks about how MJ wanted to fire Sandy and didn’t trust him anymore.

    There are also claims that Shana was basically told to go on TV saying she was MJs girlfriend to repair his image.

    Regardless,Shana’s first hand accounts of MJ at the management firm is very eye opening
    and again there is Geffen in the center as the puppet master.

    There’s a very interesting video on YouTube concerning the history of the ATV catalog and MJ and Sony. But for some reason I couldn’t find the last part in the video series. But the connections are very clearly made concerning Sony, Weinraub and his wife and Columbia Pictures.

    All very suspect.



  2. January 5, 2019 6:02 pm

    “I wonder about the little reaction from readers” – Susannerb

    Susanne, I am not surprised at all and didn’t expect anything different. Very few people are willing to talk about Geffen, and even his close friends are afraid to discuss him.

    I am not happy either to have to write about someone “whose name cannot be called”, but upon thinking about it realized that if I don’t do it, no one will. I simply have no choice.

    But I absolutely don’t expect others to also get into this risky business. My duty is to tell readers about my findings and it is up to them what they will do with this information.

    They wanted to know the truth? So here it is, even if it is not something they expected. It may probably be not the whole truth, but the events described in my posts did take place though most of them were hidden from the public eye for a very long time.

    And the example of it is Sandy Gallin’s several years of work as Michael’s manager, of which practically no one knew or ever talked of. Or the fact that Geffen got very close to Michael by promising to get him into movies, and for some time even had an agreement with him to that effect. And many other things.


  3. susannerb permalink
    January 5, 2019 5:48 am

    Helena, I finally made it through your post, which is quite informative. And meanwhile you already posted part 2 which I have not read yet.
    First of all thank you so much for your everlasting energy to continue research, when most MJ fans become quieter after almost 10 years of Michael’s passing. Though it was Christmas time when your post was published, I wonder about the little reaction from readers.
    But 2019 should become a year of remembering what happened within this decade and what else could come in the MJ saga. And it should not be only about his music and art, but also about his reputation and the defamation which still has not ended.

    To me the most important finding in your post is the hypocrisy in the statement of Gallin to be unable to control the press, when it’s obvious at the same time how Geffen can manipulate the press.
    Also, the leaking of the TDCAU lyrics is a significant point, considering what hype and exaggeration it caused at that time. Today nobody cares about it anymore and the song is played permanently on the radio.I’m glad they at least couldn’t “kill” the song, it even became a hymn in recent protests in the US. The change of one word doesn’t change the meaning, and it remained one of the most important songs of Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. December 27, 2018 12:33 am

    Fascinating, and frightening, the power some people have (or are allowed) to make or break others.



  3. Vivian Lee, THE "LEAVING NEVERLAND" SCAM: The Conspiracy Against Michael Jackson, Part II - James Fetzer

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