Thursday, July 02, 2009

Letter From the Editor: 'Michael Jackson, You Are NOT the Father!'

Now We Know Why the Late 'King of Pop' Consistently Refused to Allow Prince Michael, Paris and Prince Michael II to be Photographed: Neither of the Children Have Any Biracial Physical Features -- Which, if Jackson Really Was Their Father, Would Be Genetically Impossible, as Jackson Was Black and Their Mother is White

Michael Jackson said one of the main reasons he decided to undertake the grueling process of preparing for the 50 concerts he was scheduled to perform in London later this month was for his children. But now it's been revealed that the late "King of Pop" is not the biological father of (left to right) Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11 and Prince Michael II (nicknamed Blanket), 7. If the late megastar really was their biological father, then why do the children bear no biracial physical characteristics -- a genetic impossibility, given that Jackson was black and their mothers (Debbie Rowe in the case of Prince Michael and Paris and an as-yet unidentified woman in the case of Blanket) are white? (Photo courtesy

(Posted 5:00 a.m. EDT Thursday, July 2, 2009)


I'm not in the habit of writing back-to-back editorials in this space, nor am I in the habit of engaging in celebrity gossip -- especially when the celebrity in question is dead. But in the wake of the latest twist in the bizarre saga of Michael Jackson, I simply cannot ignore it any longer. The well-being of three small children is at stake.

I know that it's not polite to speak ill of the dead, but to be brutally frank, I've lost all respect for Jackson. When I broadcast my weekly radio show at 12 noon EDT/9 a.m. PDT today (Thursday), I will make an on-air comment about Jackson's death, but there will be no musical tribute to him on the program.

I have not come to this decision lightly. Michael Jackson was undoubtedly one of the greatest musical artists of our time. However, after this week's bombshell revelation that he is not the biological father of 12-year-old Prince Michael, 11-year-old Paris and seven-year-old Prince Michael II (nicknamed Blanket) -- and that, in fact, Jackson fooled the world into believing that he was -- whatever regard I had remaining for him is now totally gone.

It's bad enough that Jackson's lifestyle was becoming increasingly bizarre over the course the last 25 years of his life. Now it turns out that he kept a dirty secret: That his paternity was a hoax. The children -- who were all conceived by artificial insemination -- were, in fact, conceived with another man's sperm.

This would be tailor-made for TV talk-show host Maury Povich -- whose episodes about establishing the paternity of his guests via DNA tests have long been a staple of his show. "When it comes to 12-year-old Prince Michael, 11-year-old Paris and seven-year-old Prince Michael II," Povich would likely say to Jackson, "you are NOT the father!"


For 12 years, until his death last Thursday at the age of 50, Michael Jackson carried out an elaborate hoax on the world about his paternity -- a hoax that already was beginning to unravel as it became increasingly apparent that Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket (who got his nickname from the headline-grabbing incident in which Jackson dangled the then-infant -- his head covered by a blanket -- from a Berlin hotel balcony in 2002) bear no physical resemblance whatsoever to the late pop megastar.

For years, Jackson refused to allow the children's faces to be photographed and they often appeared publicly with their faces masked. For years, the public thought it was another example of Jackson's bizarre habits, as he often appeared in public with his face shrouded in a mask himself.

But in the week since the "King of Pop's" death, new, previously unpublished photos have surfaced of the Jackson children unmasked -- and they show not only that they bear no physical resemblance whatsoever to Jackson, but they also clearly show the children to be completely Caucasian. An early photo of Prince Michael taken in 2004 when he was seven years old -- the same age his younger brother is now -- even reveals that he had blond hair!

Both Prince Michael and Paris' mom, Debbie Rowe, and Blanket's mom -- whose identity remains a closely-guarded secret -- are white. Given the fact that Jackson was black, it is genetically impossible for the children to not have biracial physical features if Jackson was truly their biological father.


Rowe reportedly told the London tabloid News of the World in an interview published Sunday that she was inseminated with sperm from an anonymous donor -- not from Jackson. "I was just the vessel," she reportedly said. "It wasn't Michael's sperm. I got paid for it, and I've moved on."

A visit Wednesday to the tabloid's Web site, however, found that its interview with Rowe was removed. But on Tuesday, the identity of the sperm donor -- the real biological father of Prince Michael and Paris -- was revealed by Us magazine to be Dr. Arnold Klein, Jackson's dermatologist, who had treated Jackson for vitiligo, a skin-discoloration disorder.

(The identity of both of Blanket's biological parents remains unknown).

Klein donated his sperm after Rowe -- who was Klein's assistant -- offered to bear the children as a favor to Jackson, the magazine reported. Significantly, Rowe refused to confirm whether she and Jackson ever consummated their two-year marriage -- a refusal that is sure to reignite the debate (raised in my previous editorial on Monday) on whether Jackson was really gay.

Klein is a member of the board of directors of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR). His attorney, Richard Charnley, said in a statement that Klein "is aware of media reports connecting him to Michael Jackson" but that Klein would not comment, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.

Neither Klein nor Rowe would confirm or deny media reports that they signed an agreement saying they would "never reveal the truth" about who the real father of Prince Michael and Paris was, although the New York Post on Wednesday quoted Stuart Backerman, a former Jackson publicist, as saying that Klein's paternity "was common knowledge and what was assumed by people in Michael's inner circle . . .It didn't really . . . factor into who was raising the children."


Meanwhile, Rowe, who divorced Jackson in 1999, is considering whether to challenge Katherine Jackson, the late pop icon's mother, for custody of Prince Michael and Paris, the Los Angeles Times reported in its Thursday editions -- despite having renounced her parental rights years ago.

Katherine Jackson, who was granted temporary custody of all three children, plans to seek permanent custody. It is not known if the unidentified surrogate mother of Blanket will also seek custody.

Legal experts told the Times that Rowe has a strong claim to the older children by virtue of the fact that she is their biological mother, and if she attempted to win custody now, Jackson's family would have to convince a judge that it would not be in the children's best interest to live with her.

But the 50-year-old Rowe, who lives in Palmdale, California, has not yet made a decision. Her attorney, Eric George, said he will be at a custody hearing Monday to represent her, but did not know whether she would ask for custody or to continue to have visitation rights.


The immediate question that needs to be answered is: Why? Why would the "King of Pop" deceive the world into thinking that he fathered the children when, in fact, he didn't -- and he knew that it was only a matter of time when the truth would finally come out? And in what could prove a strike against any bid by Rowe to gain custody of Prince Michael and Paris, the question must be answered: Why did she perpetuate the hoax by keeping it a secret from the world for the last 12 years?

As the son of interracial parents (My mother was African American and my father was Native American), I can tell you that there is no way that children born of interracial parents -- especially when one parent is black -- can inherit the physical characteristics of one parent but not those of the other. It's genetically impossible.

This prompts me to also call into question the legality of Rowe's decision to sign over custody of Prince Michael and Paris to Jackson when he isn't their biological father in the first place. The same can be said for the unidentified surrogate mother's agreement to turn over custody of Blanket to Jackson.

The revelation that Jackson's paternity was an apparent hoax -- and that all three of the children are white -- is certain to lend credence to claims by critics of Jackson from within the African American community that the "King of Pop" was ashamed of his black lineage.

It's a criticism that has long dogged Jackson ever since he began altering his physical appearance in the mid-1990s, with his skin complexion appearing progressively lighter. Jackson was diagnosed in the mid-80s with vitiligo, a disorder that results in a depigmentation of the skin.

While such depigmentation appears most starkly among African-Americans, Jackson chose to lighten his overall complexion instead of darken the light spots. His cosmetic surgeries to his nose and mouth to make him appear more Caucasian only added to the criticism.

Combined with Jackson's apparent unwillingness -- to this writer, at least -- to come to terms with his sexual orientation, it has become quite clear to me that Michael Jackson did indeed spend the bulk of the latter half of his life running away from what he really was.

And expending all that time and energy in self-denial ultimately contributed to his untimely demise. I really feel sorry for Jackson's family and his legion of fans.

But I feel especially sorry for Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket, who inevitably will learn the truth that their father -- the world's biggest music megastar of the 1980s and early 1990s -- really wasn't their father.

Skeeter Sanders
Editor & Publisher
The 'Skeeter Bites Report

# # #

Volume IV, Number 52
Copyright 2009, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.


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Monday, June 29, 2009

Letter From the Editor: 'King of Pop' Could Have Averted the Scandals That Killed Him

The Time Is Long Overdue to Acknowledge Publicly That the Last 25 Years of Michael Jackson's Life Would Have Been Much Different -- Indeed, Much Healthier For Him Both Physically and Psychologically -- Had He Had the Courage to Come Out of the Closet

The night that forever altered Michael Jackson's life: The March 25, 1983 taping of the NBC television special "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever," in which Jackson stunned the live audience at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles -- and the 47 million viewers who watched the special when it aired two months later -- with his performance of his chart-topping hit, "Billie Jean," which catapulted his album, "Thriller," into the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest-selling album of all time and touched off what came to be known as "Michaelmania." Little did anyone realize at the time that the 24-year-old Jackson -- whom most of the world had known up to that time as the charismatic, babyfaced kid who was the lead singer of the Jackson 5 -- would never be the same after that night. (Photo courtesy NBC)

(Posted 5:00 a.m. EDT Monday, June 29, 2009)


It was a Thursday that neither I -- nor millions of people across America and around the world -- will soon forget.

I had a strong, gut-level feeling that this would not be a normal, run-of-the-mill Thursday afternoon as I was broadcasting my weekly smooth-jazz radio show. Sure enough, about 40 minutes after I went on the air, the bulletin flashed on the computer screen in the studio that actress Farrah Fawcett, a cultural icon of the 1970s best known for her role in the TV series "Charlies Angels," had lost her three-year battle with cancer at the age of 62.

As I read the bulletin on the air, little did I realize that this was only the beginning of an unforgettable Thursday.

Less than two hours later, after I had signed off and was in my car heading home, another, more dramatic bulletin boomed from my car radio: Michael Jackson -- the "King of Pop" -- had been rushed to the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles amid reports of having suffered "cardiac arrest."

Stunned by what I had just heard, I pulled over and stopped. I didn't wait for the follow-up bulletin that the 50-year-old Jackson had been pronounced dead. I knew right away that he was gone. But it wasn't the fact of Jackson's death that stunned me. Rather, it was the realization that a remark I made about Jackson two-and-a-half years earlier proved to be prophetic.


I knew that Jackson was a dying man the moment I watched his appearance in late December 2006 at the funeral in Atlanta of his mentor, the "Godfather of Soul," James Brown, who had died on Christmas Day at the age of 73 from complications of pneumonia.

Jackson appeared so emaciated -- he had to be assisted to and from the podium -- that I turned to my wife and said, "Michael Jackson's not going to be around much longer. Look at him! He looks like a dead man walking!"

A year and a half later, photos appeared in the tabloids and on the Internet of an even thinner Jackson confined to a wheelchair being pushed by actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Las Vegas.

It was abundantly clear that Jackson was in seriously ill health. The first thought that crossed my mind was that the "King of Pop" was suffering from a debilitating disease -- To be candid, I was thinking AIDS -- and that he was unwilling to talk publicly about it.

But now it's very likely that Jackson suffered the same fate as Elvis Presley when he died in 1977 at the age of 42: Death caused by years of abuse of prescription medications. It was revealed over the weekend that Jackson had become addicted to painkillers, including Valium, Xanax and Ativan.

Appearing on NBC's "Weekend Today," Dr. Deepak Chopra, a longtime friend of Jackson revealed that he turned down a request by the "King of Pop" to prescribe him OxyContin -- the same painkiller that conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh admitted he became addicted to in 2003.

With all the bizarre twists and turns that Jackson's life had taken in the last 25 years -- and especially since his 2005 criminal trial for alleged child molestation -- I frankly didn't expect Jackson to make it to 50. As it turned out, I was off by just one year; Jackson died just over two months shy of what would have been his 51st birthday on August 29.


There can be no doubt about the musical genius of Michael Jackson. Not since Elvis Presley has a solo popular-music entertainer so captivated Americans. But neither Elvis nor the Beatles could come anywhere close to Jackson's global popularity.

Of course, Jackson had two things going for him that Presley and the Beatles didn't have: An incredible gift for keeping people entertained since he was five years old -- and MTV. He also broke down the wall separating black and white music lovers.

Jackson is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records not only for the biggest-selling album of all time, "Thriller," but also for the greatest number of number-one singles.

He also branched out into movies, with his role as the Scarecrow in the film version of the Broadway musical "The Wiz" in 1978; the title character in Disney's "Captain EO" in 1986; and as himself in his 1988 autobiographical feature, "Moonwalker."

But Jackson's incredible success may have also proven to be his greatest curse.


After suffering second-degree burns in an accident in 1984 while filming a Pepsi-Cola TV commercial in which his hair caught fire in a pyrotechnic burst, Jackson became deeply self-conscious about his physical appearance.

A year later, as fans noticed his complexion becoming progressively lighter, Jackson revealed that he was diagnosed with vitiligo, a chronic relatively common disorder that causes depigmentation in patches of skin. The disorder --which most starkly affects African-Americans -- causes patches of discoloration on the face, hands and wrists, as if the person had suffered severe burns.

But Jackson's change of skin color -- combined with numerous cosmetic surgeries to his nose and mouth -- prompted persistent rumors that he was somehow ashamed of his African-American heritage and was bleaching himself white. His video of "Black or White," the first single from his 1991 album "Dangerous," only added fuel to the rumors.


But by far the most controversial aspect of Jackson's life was over his sexuality. With his high-pitched voice that often broke into a falsetto and his increasingly androgynous -- some would say effeminate -- appearance and demeanor, the "King of Pop" would be dogged for the rest of his life by rumors and innuendo that he was gay. The accusations in 1993 and again in 2005 that Jackson had "inappropriate" relations with young boys only made matters worse.

Particularly in the last 15 years, it became increasingly difficult for this writer -- I came out of the closet more than 30 years ago, first as a gay man in 1978 and later as bisexual in 1993 -- to believe that Jackson was straight. Indeed, he had repeatedly dropped strong hints, whether consciously or unconsciously, that he was gay from the night he appeared at the taping of the NBC television special celebrating Motown Records' 25th anniversary in 1983.

Jackson's video of his 1987 hit, "Bad" didn't help; by that time, it was painfully obvious, in the opinion of this writer, that Jackson was not -- and would never be -- a bad-ass macho straight dude. His attempts to project an image of a crotch-grabbing tough guy in subsequent videos and stage performances fell flat on their face.


His marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' daughter, in 1994 -- following accusations the previous year by a 13-year-old boy that Jackson molested him -- was dismissed by many, including this writer, as a sham, a ploy to prop up Jackson's public image that had been battered by the molestation accusations, even though they were never proven and Jackson reached an out-of-court settlement with the boy's parents.

Despite Lisa Marie's insistence that she and Jackson lived "a married couple's life ... that was sexually active," few people believed her and the marriage lasted only 19 months before it ended in divorce -- adding more fuel to the rumors that the "King of Pop" was gay.

His second marriage in 1997 to Debbie Rowe lasted two years, during which Rowe bore him two children: son Michael Jr., better known as Prince Michael (now 11 years old) and daughter Paris Michael (now 10). Yet both children were conceived through in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination -- strongly suggesting that the couple never consummated their marriage.

The identity of the mother of Jackson's youngest son, Prince Michael II, remains a closely-guarded secret, although Jackson has said that Prince Michael II (now seven years old) was also conceived through artificial insemination.

Why would a man who's supposedly heterosexual marry two different women yet never consummate either marriage? And why would he father three children through artificial insemination?


For many, the 2005 child-molestation case against Jackson was the final straw. Although he vehemently denied the accusations and was eventually acquitted, Jackson by that time had nonetheless dropped all public pretense of being heterosexual. He had no known girlfriends after his 1999 divorce from Rowe; Hollywood gossip about Jackson and actress Tatum O'Neal being romantically linked proved false.

Looking back at the latter half of Jackson's life, this writer is convinced that he could have avoided all the controversies about his private life that dogged him -- and would probably still be alive today and in much better health, both physically and psychologically -- if the "King of Pop" had had the courage to do 25 years ago what I did 30 years ago: Come out of the closet.

Instead, Jackson spent the last 25 years of his life going to extraordinary lengths to run away from what he truly was.

There are those reading this editorial who no doubt will believe that I am "outing" Michael Jackson now that he is dead. I reply by saying that the "King of Pop" outed himself, even as he fought tooth and nail not to.

How else to explain the title of one of his hit singles from his 1991 "Dangerous" album -- "Keep It In the Closet?"

Skeeter Sanders
Editor & Publisher
The 'Skeeter Bites Report

# # #

Volume IV, Number 51
Copyright 2009, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.


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