Jacko has apologized for the incident – not forgiven freak boy – but USA Today notes that this is just the latest in a very long line of strange behavior. By the way, I don’t much care about strange, but I do care about dangerous, and he has proved himself to be dangerous to children:
- * 1981. First indication of plastic surgery — slightly more definition on the tip of his nose. By some published or broadcast estimates (including one by sister LaToya), Jackson has had up to eight surgeries on his nose alone.
* 1983. Around the release of Thriller, more work on the nose, and the first noticeable lightening of his complexion.
* January 1984. Hair catches fire during filming of Pepsi commercial. Also that year, eyelid surgery, and for the American Music Awards, he takes 13-year-old TV star Emmanuel Lewis and Brooke Shields to the awards, and carries Lewis onstage.
* 1986. Introduces Bubbles the chimp, who has matching outfits and his own bodyguard. Before Bubbles eventually finds a home at a zoo, Jackson insists that the chimp attend recording sessions for Bad. Also that year, Jackson plants a phony story in The National Enquirer about his life-prolonging catnaps in a hyperbaric chamber.
* May 1987. Attempts to buy, for up to $1 million, the skeleton of John Merrick, the grotesquely deformed Elephant Man of the 19th century.
* 1988. Surgery to install a cleft in his chin.
* 1990. Takes Madonna to the Oscars. It’s a baaaaaaad date. Her on him: ”A wimp.” Him on her: ”A heifer.” First reports of his wearing surgical masks in public.
* 1991. Puts 11-year-old Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin in a music video; also accompanies Culkin on vacation in Bermuda and visit to Disney World.
* February 1993. In interview with Oprah Winfrey, says his lightened skin is the result of vitiligo, a skin disorder.
* September 1993. A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles accuses Jackson with sexual battery, claiming the singer seduced and abused a 13-year-old boy. In August, Elizabeth Taylor rushes to his side in Singapore. He hosts a tea party for her at which the only other guests reportedly are six orangutans.
* May 1994. Marries Lisa Marie Presley.
* September 1994. The L.A. and Santa Barbara district attorneys’ offices announce that they will not file child-molestation charges against Jackson. Under California law, the child, now 14, who said he would not take the stand, could not be compelled to testify. A civil suit against Jackson had been settled in January for an undisclosed sum.
* 1995. More noticeable plastic surgery: a squarer jaw, higher eyebrows and an upturned nose.
* January 1996. Presley files for divorce.
* November 1996. Marries dermatologist’s aide Debbie Rowe, 38, in Australia. She bears him two children: son Prince Michael, born in February 1997, and daughter Paris Michael Katherine, born in April 1998.
* October 1999. Rowe files for divorce.
* August 2002. First reports of third child, Prince Michael II. No one will say who the mother is.
Money and fame can buy a pass for eccentricity, not for child molestation or reckless endangerment.
The outcry against this latest outlandish incident has been universal from the press and from the public at large, other than one group: “child experts“:
- ”Michael Jackson obviously made a colossal error in judgment,” said Sally Lee, editor of Parents magazine. She said no parent is perfect, ”but celebrities’ mistakes are captured on film, (and) that sets them up to be a pariah.”
Jackson apologized late Tuesday. ”I offer no excuses for what happened,” he said in a statement. ”I made a terrible mistake. I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my kids.”
….A. Sidney Johnson, head of Prevent Child Abuse America, said the incident illustrates ”how all of us, regardless of income, can unintentionally place children in harm’s way.” [USA Today]
“All of us”?? I don’t recall dangling any of my children over a balcony, don’t recall making any out of court settlements for molestation. Is anything out of bounds for these “child experts,” these unmitigated relativists? May he eat the children?
- Child abuse investigators in New York and Santa Barbara, Calif. — where Jackson has homes — said the incident could have prompted child endangerment charges had it occurred in their jurisdictions. A spokesman for the German Embassy in Washington said he knew of no impending investigation.
However, those “experts”: most of them can’t help but equivocate.
- ”Is he a fit parent? There’s a lot of reasons to question that based on his history, but we can’t jump to conclusions without knowing the facts,” said child psychologist Sam Goldstein, author of Raising Resilient Children. He said many children of celebrities turn out fine, but they need a healthy home life and daily contact with a parent, not just nannies. The fact that Jackson takes his children with him on tour is a good sign, he says.
”I’m not saying Michael Jackson is parent of the year,” Parents editor Lee said. ”But it’s dangerous to say the children are bound to be strange or weird because they were raised by Michael Jackson.”
On Wednesday, Jackson took his children to the Berlin zoo. The kids’ faces were covered in burgundy veils.
The German authorities, shamed by their inaction in the face of worldwide outrage over the incident, have issued another statement:
- A spokeswoman for the Berlin PD says Jacko’s off-the-wall (and over-the-balcony) display of his infant son on Tuesday might demonstrate a criminal act of “neglect of duty in respect of care and supervision.”
“We are examining if there is cause to open an investigation into whether a crime was committed,” police spokeswoman Christine Rother tells Reuters.
If Berlin’s finest determine there was neglect involved when Jackson briefly held Prince Michael II over the railing of a fourth-floor hotel balcony to show off the tyke to a throng of fans encamped below, then a formal investigation would begin and charges possibly filed.
German police initially stated they weren’t legally able to begin looking into the incident without someone filing a formal complaint, but they decided to launch the inquiry on their own–even though they admittedly have received numerous calls expressing outrage at the baby-dangling. [E! online]
This would appear to be an ass-covering statement from the Berlin police, but at least it’s something.