An icon as never seen before. The most influential pop sensation the world has known with fame and fortune on a global scale. He began as a celebrity at a very young age and his stardom only grew as he did. What this absurd amount of fame and power does to many, as it did to him, is lead to crudely unjust acts. This bright stars legacy will forever be tainted by his immoral acts and will continue to be mourned over for years to come. Michael Jackson, once the most famous celebrity known to man, is a known sexual abuser of young innocent children. As is the case with many celebrities, dangerous addictions arise such as alcoholism or drug abuse , but what could possess a man to sexually manipulate young children time and time again? Michael Jackson can easily be considered sick in the head. On the outside, he was seen as an incredible role model that not only children looked up to, but also grown men and women. The hypothesis is as follows: the causes of these actions relied upon Michael’s rough upbringing among his family, his lack of a childhood, and the blatant disregard from the parent’s of the victims. At the end of the day, all of these acts were performed only by Michael, so he is the sole blame. He may not have gone on a murderous rampage like Ted Bundy or made furniture out of human skin like Ed Gein, but he is still deemed a monster just like them, and rightfully so.
The Jackson Five is one of the most popular singing groups in American history, and it consisted of five kids from the Jackson family. From a young age they were worked until they perfected their craft and their father never let them falter. As NPR puts it, “LaToya Jackson also repeats her claim that she and her siblings were abused, including sexually abused, by their parents. It’s an assertion she first made at least two years earlier in her 1991 autobiography La Toya: Growing Up in the Jackson Family” (NPR News). For one of the victims of the actual abuse to come out and admit the abuse is huge, and displays that Michael Jackson was included in it. La Toya Jackson, the older sister of Michael Jackson, was quoted by AP News saying ″Michael would go, get all these awards and go home and get beaten up by Joseph. It was embarrassing. It didn’t matter how old you were. If he’s mad, my father would just punch you.″ The stories she tells are disturbing to say the least, and although the parents deny the allegations, it does not prove anything. The Guardian puts it as
“ He would beat them with a belt buckle or the cord of an electric kettle, or make them spend hours carrying cinder blocks from one side of their garden to the other when they incurred his wrath. The Jackson 5, as they were to become, were not allowed outside to play with other children: they rehearsed for five hours a day after school, their enthusiasm incentivised by the fact that if they got a dance step wrong their father would order them to break a branch off a tree in their garden that he then hit them with.”
There is article upon article describing the abuse Joe Jackson had on his kids, especially MJ. Although being a victim of abuse does not excuse anyone for becoming a future abuser, it serves as a legitimate cause. According to Byron Egeland, Deborah Jacobvitz, and L. Alan Sroufe, from the University of Minnesota, “Herrenkohl, Herrenkohl, and Toedter (1983) found that 47% of the parents who were abused as children abused their own children, a percentage that was significantly higher than among nonabused parents.” As this study shows as well as many others, the cycle of abuse is proven to be passed down. Michael Jackson grew up in this atmosphere of abuse and knew nothing else. Psychologically, this affected him and partially made him the sick man he became.
Due to his early stardom along with the rest of his siblings, childhood seemed nearly impossible. As a celebrity, you give up certain luxuries such as privacy, in some cases school, and in this case, a childhood. Because their lives are so consumed with their jobs, they have no time to simply be a kid. Joe Jackson was clearly tough on all of the kids, and seeing that Michael was the stand out in the group, he suffered it the worst. Auditions, dance shows, and performances took up his time as a singer/dancer, so being able to go to amusement parks or hanging out with friends was never a common occurrence. Kids are generally known for being interested in having fun whenever they can, whether that consists of going to the park, playing games, or playing sports. Unfortunately, in the eyes of Joe Jackson, he viewed this as time that could be spent becoming a better performer. Michael was never allowed to and never got to experience much of the childhood that many other Americans are fortunate enough to. Due to this, once he reached the amount of fame that he eventually did, he was basically free enough to do as he pleased. With this time, he spends millions of dollars creating his own amusement park for kids to come and play at with him, and most importantly, forms friendships with little boys in which he spends countless days in a row with them. The fact of a grown man spending so much time with young pre-teen boys is already odd enough, but based off of what two of the victims came out and said in the Leaving Neverland documentary, the situation becomes much worse. His favorite pastime seemed to evidently be hanging out with the kids and their families. One of the families stated that Michael spent a month straight with them, and oftentimes spent the night at their house (Leaving Neverland). Childhood is a luxury many people take for advantage, and is something very crucial to humanity. Unfortunately for Michael, it was well too late for him by the time he attempted to relive it.
Although Michael Jackson is completely responsible for his actions, the parents of the victims still deserve some blame. Being that Michael was the super star that he was, people of all ages and of all nationalities admired him. The documentary Leaving Neverland showed how starstruck even the parents were when they met Michael. Most parents would not be comfortable with a stranger spending the night in their house without knowing them for long, and especially them sleeping in the same bed as their children night after night. While on vacation from Australia, Wade Robson and his family are invited to stay with Michael at his amusement park called Neverland. Wade is invited to sleep in Michael’s room with him by Michael and the mom ends up letting him do so. After a few days, the family is suppose to visit the Grand Canyon for several more days, but Michael insists that Wade stays with him while the rest of the family continues on with their vacation, and of course, Wade’s mom says yes. In a way, the mom just could not find a way to say no to the one and only Michael Jackson, and that is pretty much how it went with every other victim’s parents as well. The parents were just as infatuated with him as the kids were. Because kids are not generally responsible enough to make the wisest decisions, parents are usually held responsible to make these decisions. Nobody is sitting here blaming Wade Robson for entering the bed with a grown man, but rather the mom, for allowing it to occur and being oblivious to what was actually going on. In the interviews within the documentary, the parents constantly repeat the fact that they should have known better and that they feel so bad for allowing it to happen, but that does not change the fact of what happened nor does it excuse it.
Michael Jackson is a cultural icon, whether the allegations against him are true or not. He changed the way celebrities are viewed, and exposed many of the immoral acts that may be going on behind the scenes. Michael was always portrayed as a genuine and caring human being, whether it was his donations or the lyrics and meanings behind his songs. These sexual abuse cases just go to show that one can never know what people are capable of. The cycle of abuse was shown to continue from Michaels’ father Joe Jackson onto him. Michael was never given a true opportunity to enjoy being a kid, it was stripped from him, and it proved to be the thing he wanted most. The disregard from the starstruck parents were too busy enjoying the luxuries of knowing and being close with Michael Jackson to realize the truth of what he was doing to their very own children. Michael Jackson is a monster in his own right, and deserves to be classified as such.
Child Welfare Information Gateway. “Cycle of Abuse.” Cycle of Abuse – Child Welfare Information Gateway, http://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/can/impact/long-term-consequences-of-child-abuse-and-neglect/abuse/.
Egeland, Byron, et al. “Breaking the Cycle of Abuse.” Child Development, vol. 59, no. 4, Aug. 1988, p. 1080. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2307/1130274.
Kennedy, Dana. “La Toya Jackson: ‘I Just Want to Break the Silence’.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 10 Sept. 1991, http://www.apnews.com/54464cee7ff4cd266a656208f1db33ab.
Petridis, Alexis. “Joe Jackson Was One of the Most Monstrous Fathers in Pop.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 June 2018, http://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jun/27/joe-jackson-one-of-the-most-monstrous-fathers-in-pop.
Tsioulcas, Anastasia. “Michael Jackson: A Quarter-Century Of Sexual Abuse Allegations.” NPR, NPR, 5 Mar. 2019, http://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/699995484/michael-jackson-a-quarter-century-of-sexual-abuse-allegations.