First, let me say I do not hate Lisa Marie Presley and I do not want anyone thinking that based on what I have written below. I would describe my feelings towards her as "indifferent". In the past I felt a lot of sympathy for her and assumed anger, a tough exterior and a broken heart fueled most of her comments and actions taken towards Michael. As of current, I am not sure what to think anymore--I thought this most recent show on Oprah would have been a bit of a "tribute", filled with heartfelt emotions, sadness and sympathy--I felt very cold after watching it and the only word I kept recalling was "drugs"--though never have drugs been discussed as a problem by her--until now.
I have decided to take a circumferential view at all the things she has said in the past about Michael and compare it to now while giving my commentary in the mix. It is a semi-open letter to Lisa only because in some instances it is just easier to address it as if I were telling Lisa my feelings. I do not expect her to read my blog though if she did I would have no regrets.
My commentary is bolded and included within "~~~".
I. "Living with Michael Jackson"
Rolling Stone Magazine – April 2003
Like everybody else, she saw Martin Bashir’s interview with Michael Jackson. “I watched it and cringed,” she says. “I had the same reaction everybody else had — it was like watching a train wreck. It seemed like it was overly cruel — the guy [Bashir] had his agenda and was after him. I don’t make a habit of feeling bad for that guy [Jackson], because he kind of likes to push that sympathy button sometimes, and I don’t really go for it anymore, but that time I did. I was, ‘Oh, no, you really just got screwed.’ It honestly looked to me like, it would be like somebody walking into a convalescent home and just antagonizing someone and having it on film the whole time.”
LA Times – April 2003
“I did see the British program, and it does look like he was set up,” she responds. “But, no, I could never feel sorry for Michael Jackson.”
Enough Rope – March 2004
A: In the Martin Bashir documentary on Jackson, did you recognize him as the man you’d been married to?
L: No, but I thought there was agenda there. You can edit eight months’ worth of footage to look any way you want it to look. But I never saw any behavior like that when I was with him or if I did it was so brief. There were so many sides to him but they seemed to want one particular side in the documentary. The whole thing, to me, was like someone going into a hospital and badgering a patient. It was like he was antagonizing him and it was cruel. Unnecessarily. And that’s screwed up.
Oprah - October 21st, 2010
O: By 2005 was when he was on trial with the second charge. Your feelings at that time were what?
L: He was calling me about it and I said “Please keep your head together, please. If this goes to trial, please hold it together.” He said, “What are you talking about, what do you mean?” And he said, “You mean drugs?” And I said, “Yes.” Because all I saw was random things coming out, whether it was Martin Bashir and all these interviews, and in those interviews I saw him intoxicated. I didn’t see the Michael that I knew in that Martin Bashir interview. He was high as a kite, from what I saw and from what I knew.
L: He was either too speedy or he was sedated. It wasn’t the Michael that I knew.
O: The shocking things, he said some pretty shocking things in that Martin Bashir interview, particularly about how he felt about how it was okay to sleep with young children.
L: I think he said that stuff sometimes to be defiant, because he got so angry at having been accused. He was such a stubborn little rebel at times and he was like a child and he would just say what he felt everyone didn’t want him to say. I don’t feel like he had a straight head during those things and I think that they were edited in a very, very manipulative nasty way.
~~~I hate how suspected drug abuse is now thrown into this mix when never, ever before has it been mentioned.
How could you not feel sorry for this man when he opened up his life to the world, to try and have them understand him, only to be manipulated and made out to be some type of monster when that is the furthest thing from the truth? He was not a saint but he was not Satan, either, and that is exactly what the media attempted (and attempts, still) to turn him into--a predator, a liar, a fake. His legacy and career were already damaged from the allegations in1993--this documentary destroyed the remaining cheerfulness in his life when he did nothing to deserve such pain.
So now in his death, it goes from "he was set up" and Bashir having an "agenda" and seeing the cruelty of what happened to him even if there was a lack sympathy, with no mention of drugs, to "he was high as a kite, from what I saw and from what I knew." I have seen "Living with Michael Jackson" and I cannot agree with him appearing to be "high as a kite" or "sedated". There were times he did seem agitated but that could be attributed to just about anything. Even if medications were at any point altering his mood in some way, the use of medications for legitimate medical purpose is not abuse or addiction and Michael did have medical issues which required medications from time to time. This observation of him "intoxicated" nothing more than a distant assumption, one I do not feel should be made at this time or any time in the future.
To the best of my knowledge, Bashir has never mentioned drug use (which would be shocking for him to omit that if he saw or thought such) and numerous other individuals around him have denied ever seeing him intoxicated or having a problem with medications including Tom Mesereau, Dr. Patrick Treacy, David Nordahl and Cherilyn Lee, among others . We must remember that he was being filmed for this fiasco, he was the center of attention for this documentary, it was "show time". Christian Audigier has also mentioned that at times he believes Michael would "show out"--he never saw any signs of a problem when they spent time together. Bashir picked up on Michael "performing" during "Living with Michael Jackson" here:
To insinuate he was under the influence during the filming of "Living with Michael Jackson" is especially devastating to me given at that time he was a single parent to three children and spent time with other children as well. The safety and well-being of his children as well as other children were of his top priority--children and their well-being were everything to him. Nothing could pain me more than to have his parenting of his precious children under form of scrutiny when he was, to me, the most loving, caring, doting and devoted father to his children and a wonderful surrogate father/brother to other children as well. His children were his life--not drugs. Perhaps this was not to be insinuated but the conclusion can and will be drawn now based on such statements by people who know no better--and there are plenty of them out there.
I know that I will be saying this over and over again in this blog but before one speaks about medications and such topics as use, abuse, addiction, dependence and pharmacology they need to know what the medications are in the first place. Individuals who assume he had an addiction problem assume there was problem yet can give no specifics because nothing is concrete. He died from a drug called propofol that has NO relation to pain narcotics. Its effects are limited to a short duration of time--the time in which you are unconscious. There is no lingering "high" or "low", no linger craving or withdrawal. There is no correlation to what may or may not have been occurring in 2002-2003 and to how he died in 2009--so why make such assumptions that do nothing to benefit him or his legacy?~~~
II. The Allegations
Oprah - October 2010
O: You know, I’ve asked you this and I have to ask it again, even though it’s an uncomfortable subject, but whether or not you had ever seen any inappropriate behavior between Michael and young children?
L: Are you asking me again?
O: I’m asking you again.
L: The answer is absolutely not, in any way. I did not see anything like that.
O: So you never saw anything and to this day you don’t believe any of those charges were true?
L: No. I honestly cannot say, the only people who are going to be able to say the truth are him and whoever was in that room at the time it allegedly took place. I was never in the room, it wouldn’t be fair for me to… I can tell you I never saw anything like that.
~~~Margaret Maldonado does a better job at defending Michael in her book, in my opinion. One of Margaret's recollections about her sons spending time with Michael in November 1994 is such a beautiful story. "Who helped you with your homework?", she asked them. "Uncle Michael!!!" Where are your stories Lisa? We would love to hear stories like that from you.
Being that you lived with him, were married to him, that you allowed your children to spend time with him--people are quick to pay attention to what you have to say about the allegations and will give your word some credibility and authority. I cannot believe you would ever cast doubt upon the man you married, especially given what we all (that is, the readers of my blog) know about Evan Chandler and the Arvizos, that is, the facts about them and their deceitful ways. Did you know Michael at all, Lisa? I think you did, better than you realize. You analyze him too much--I know Oprah kept pushing the agenda but you should and could have put her in her place for Michael's sake. Who do you love or care about more? Oprah or Michael?
This timid, half-assed defending of Michael regarding the allegations does not do this man justice. These allegations are partly the reason this man is lying in a grave somewhere and his children are now parentless. These allegations are why I and millions of others did not give this man and his music a chance to come into our hearts while he was alive. He came into my heart once it was already too late and that makes me sick to admit that but people need to understand the implications of how these allegations affected his life and now linger into his death.
Let your "cousin" Oprah (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9lSDI0KS3I) try to ask me what I think about the allegations someday and I will tell her that I'd bet my life on Michael's innocence, then I would tell her to give Tom Mesereau and possibly Geraldine Hughes a call and drop it for once and all and just accept that Michael Jackson was not a child molester nor a pedophile. She should read up on the facts, interview the two I just mentioned above, and help spread the truth about him, not dehumanize him or remain defiantly aloof to the truth so she can score ratings. Not everyone accused of molestation is a molester. Evidence proves Michael was extorted. We are his voice now and we owe it to him to get the truth out whenever possible and to never back down so at least some of the ignorance can be eradicated.~~~
III. The 2005 Trial
Enough Rope – March 2004
A: And when you look at that man now, and I’m not asking you to say what’s going on now because you can’t possibly know, but when you look at him, how do you feel about him? Do you feel sorry for him, do you feel for him still?
L: I, I you know ta- I can’t, it’s really bizarre, I feel nothing. It’s just, I watch just like anyone else when anything’s going on and I have the same reaction and wow or you know holy shit or whatever, it’s whatever people are doing I’m doing the same thing. That’s, well with nothing attached any more, which is, it took a long time but that’s where it’s at now.
Toronto Sun – April 2005
How does she avoid media coverage of the Jackson trial? “It’s really, really easy,” she says. “For one thing, I’m very busy. I’ve probably slept six hours in the last four days. If the radio’s on with it, I don’t listen. If it’s on TV, I don’t look. I’m so bored with it, I’m so done with it, I can’t even look - I’m not with him, nor have I been for a very long time.”
Larry King Live – April 2005
K: A supporter? And now you’re neutral?
L: I’m just benign really.
Oprah - October 2010
O: When was the last time you spoke to him?
L: Coherently good conversation? Sometime in 2005. It was a very long conversation. I was so removed from him and he could feel it and he could hear it. And I think that’s one of the things that killed me in the end too was that I was very distanced and he was checking to get a read, he was trying to throw a line out to see if I would bite emotionally and I wouldn’t. I was pretty shut off at that point. I don’t even know how I managed to be like that but I was. He was asking me, he wanted to tell me that I was right about a lot of the people around him, that it had panned out to be exactly what he and I had talked about years ago. He asked if I still loved him and we went into a whole thing about that and I told him I was indifferent and he didn’t like that word and he cried. He was trying to find out where I was at and how I could become so detached. Then the final part of the conversation was him telling me that he felt that someone was going to try to kill him to get a hold of his catalogue and his estate.
O: So he actually gave you names?
L: He did. And I’d rather not say them. But he expressed to me that his concern over his life.
~~~First, I hope you have gone to the police with these names.
How could you feel nothing for someone whom you once thought you would spend the rest of your life with? It is words like these that make me realize why he spent more time with children rather than adults. He knew children loved him and he loved them equally, innocently. Love should not be conditional.
So who cut who out of their life? You kept saying he made people "disposable"--including yourself. He was calling you. He was reaching out to you in times of stress. You were seen spending time with him off and on for years after the marriage was over so you were not "disposed of" by any means. He tried to reach out to you, make things work out for years after the divorce and you shut him out in 2005 apparently because you did not care anymore about him at that time, not even enough to offer him some sort of sympathy as a fellow human being who was hurting and suffering at the hands of others.
The trial that Michael had to endure reminds me a lot of a soldier who has been off to war. They come back a changed person, likely suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They are hurt and traumatized, exposed to a facet of life few will ever see or feel. They want to reach out to someone, anyone familiar and whom they love. Imagine a solider reaching out to an ex-wife wanting some sort of solace after he had been through the war. Michael needed someone to tell him they loved him, someone he trusted--and loved. He was denied what he sought so desperately--just to know someone cared about him and loved him, still, after all he was going through and had gone through during that time. It was always important to him that he be loved--that is why he did all that he did in life and there were many times in his life he did not feel he was loved. I cannot imagine the pain he would have felt questioning if anyone in the world still loved him with no one there to tell him yes. What did Michael do to deserve any of this pain? Nothing.
I personally could never tell someone who went through what Michael did that I did not love him, even if that love had evolved over time into some other type of love. I do not blame him for trying to figure out why you were so detached because I do not understand it either. Someday it will hit you like a ton of bricks and it will hurt because he is not here for you to reach out to anymore. He can never call you again for you to have that second chance to try and patch things up. He really is gone. If only we could turn back time, as Cher once sang...
The image of him crying after being told you felt "indifferent" will forever be burned in my mind as one of the saddest and lowest moments of his life, especially for someone who cared about everyone else but himself. After all, he ended up doing "This Is It" for mankind, for the world, the children--not himself. In the end, it led to his death no matter how you look at it. All the things he went through in life, he never gave up his will to live, even when he felt abandoned and alone. That is true strength.
I do not know how Michael survived the trial. It must have been the love of his children that got him through the ordeal.~~~
IV. HBO Appearance - 1995
Newsweek – April 2003
"No, it wasn’t mutual. He was in the hospital, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. I started asking questions, and it was always a different story. He said I was 'causing trouble' and 'stirring up problems.' He told me, 'you’re making my heart rate go up,' and asked me to go home, and I said, 'Good. I want out.' This person is one of the biggest entertainers out there. He is not stupid. He’s very charming when he wants to be, and when you go into his world you step into this whole other realm. I could tell you all about the craziness – all these things that were odd, different, evil or not cool – but it still took me two and a half years to get my head out of it.
Playboy - June 2003
P: It was reported that you asked him for a divorce while he was in the hospital recovering from “exhaustion.”
L: Not true. There was a bit of a showdown in the hospital, and I didn’t understand what was wrong with him. I didn’t know what he was up to. When I started asking too many questions about what was wrong, he asked me to leave. This is the real story. He said, “You’re causing trouble.” The doctors wanted me to go. I freaked out, because it was all too familiar. When he got out, I called him and said, “I want out.”
Oprah - October 2010
O: Okay, so in May of 1994 when you were married to him or during the time that you were married to him, did you suspect a drug problem?
L: Honestly, I didn’t really suspect and catch on until just before I filed for divorce. There was just an occasion, an incident, where he had collapsed and he was in the hospital.
O: This was for HBO?
L: Yeah, there was an appearance he was supposed to make.
(In December 1995 Michael Jackson collapsed onstage while rehearsing for an HBO concert special in New York. His doctors said Michael was suffering from a viral infection. Lisa Marie flew to his side in the hospital where he stayed for six days.)
L: Everybody flew to the hospital. And, um, it was very confusing what was wrong, because every day there was a different report. I couldn’t tell what was happening. Dehydration, low blood pressure, exhaustion, a virus, so I couldn’t really get a straight answer as to what was happening with him. I think we were all a little bit in the dark. At that point I think I really got from various indications I believed that was going on then.
Dr. Alleyne - July 2009
“Mr. Jackson was in critical condition,” Alleyne said. “He was dehydrated. He had low blood pressure. He had a rapid heart rate. He was near death.”
Alleyne gave the order to have the defibrillator ready if needed to treat the abnormal heart rhythm of the most famous entertainer with the best rhythm on Earth.
After about an hour or so that December dusk, Alleyne said he had Jackson stabilized with intravenous fluids and other treatment, and transferred Jackson to intensive care.
After about 72 hours, Alleyne and Jackson's publicists and others realized they had to give a press conference. So Alleyne worked with Jackson's people to go over what could be said, what to stay away from but still tell the truth. Alleyne was blunt with the world, saying Jackson did not have any immune system problems because rumors about AIDS were swirling. He was blunt that Jackson had no drugs in his system.
News accounts from 1995 show Alleyne and his then-partner, Dr. Bob Glennon, talking about Jackson's condition to convince the world that Jackson was, in fact, critically ill.
~~~Scientology's View of "Drugs":
"Drugs are essentially poisons. The degree they are taken determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant. A greater amount acts as a sedative. A large amount acts as a poison and can kill one dead."
This statement could not be any further from the truth (notice it correlates with the depiction of him being "high as a kite or sedated" during "Living with Michael Jackson"). Depending on what receptors within the body a drug interacts with determines how a drug effects a person physically. Some drugs will only stimulate. Some will only sedate. Some will do neither or may do one or the other depending on the individual. Dosing has nothing to do with it. Some drugs are dangerous but are necessary for livelihood and survival. Anything put into the body can be labeled a poison, including some of the foods we eat. No one will sit there and tell me that someone with schizophrenia should not be treated with antipsychotic medications or a person in pain should not be allowed to take pain medication.
I cannot help but see how Scientology would be appealing to former addicts and/or those who have seen the effects of what addiction can do to a loved one. I also cannot help but see Scientology thinking everyone has a drug issue and blaming all problems in life on some type of drug abuse/addiction issue when in some cases such does not exist. Is this what is happening to Michael now especially because of the confusion regarding his death?
In my opinion, this sort of view on medication can be very hurtful to people who suffer from legitimate issues (including Michael who suffered from physical pain and injuries over the years) and can cloud people's view of what is "addiction" really is. I have seen too many times where people suffer and even die from loved ones' fears they have become or will become an "addict" to a substance that can be used to treat their ailment. This type of misunderstanding is an epidemic across the country.
You were an addict once yourself before you become a Scientologist Lisa. You should be able to know when there is a problem, with certainty, and should have seen things throughout the marriage, day after day that were indicative of some sort of problem. You stated to Oprah, " I didn’t really suspect and catch on until just before I filed for divorce. There was just an occasion, an incident, where he had collapsed and he was in the hospital." You said this one incident caused your divorce yet you had no idea a problem was even there during the marriage--you only assumed an addiction apparently in retrospect, especially given his manner of death (which I will get into shortly). You also stated, " At that point I think I really got from various indications I believed that was going on then." You "think" is not good enough. Assumptions should not be stated as facts and not be allowed to be taken as fact. This reminds me too much of how people handled the molestation allegations--they assumed this or that and determined it MUST be fact. NO. That is not how facts are established. How can you make an assumption like this about someone whom needs to be defended from all the bullshit out there about him?
It is hard to comment on what did or did not happen in the hospital since I was not there but I cannot help but imagine there was no straight answer because of the tension going on between the both of you beforehand. A "wall" had been established by anger by both of you. I think it would only be natural when something does not make sense to assume the worst, especially when you have witnessed the "worst" yourself as a child--the fear of that happening to someone else, especially one you care about, is always lurking in the back of the mind.
What Dr. Alleyne discusses sounds very logical, that he was dehydrated due to a virus (ex. gastrointestinal virus) in addition to physical activity in preparation of the special and this caused some serious electrolyte imbalances (ex. low potassium) due to the loss of fluids which then caused his heart to go into a dangerous rhythm which would cause loss of consciousness. Dehydration/arrhythmias can cause low blood pressure (one usually loses consciousness if their blood pressure is too low). It is a known fact that Michael pushed it too hard sometimes. This was man known to be intravenously fed while on tour because he could not eat and lost too much fluids just from performing. On June 29, 1999 he kept performing despite a catastrophic failure in the props for "Earth Song" in Germany:
Karen Faye has said from the incident that he told her afterwards:
"You know Turkle, the only thing that I heard in my head, was my father's voice saying to me, MICHAEL, DON'T DISAPPOINT THE AUDIENCE!"
He was not a machine--he was merely a mortal man but at times he pushed himself harder than he should have.~~~