I met Michael Jackson just once back in 1993. It was only months before the story broke that he was accused of sexually molesting the then 13 year old Jordy Chandler.
Like a lot of people before that scandal, I was an admirer of his music. I grew up listening to the Jackson Five and later Michael Jackson’s solo efforts. I wasn’t a huge fan, but I bought most of his CDs.
Coincidentally, I was living in Encino, California in 1993. The Jackson family lived not far from me. I would see Joe Jackson at the supermarket or Randy at the car wash. But I never expected to meet Michael.
About once a week I would go over the hill to Golden Apple Comics on Melrose. It was owned by a friend, the late Bill Liebowitz, and I also had a bunch of friends who worked there. They told me Michael was a frequent customer. He would go there with a group of kids and buy them whatever they wanted. He would often spend thousands on those days, so he was a favorite customer.
I asked one of my friends there if Michael bought any comics for himself. He said sure. So I said what kind of books does he read? He said “Anything with kids in them.” I remember thinking: “Brrr!” at the time.
Sure, that could be innocent and all, but there were all those stories even then of Michael having kids with him all the time. Which is kind of odd for a grown man, but Michael Jackson was never known for being normal.
Everyone I know who knew him personally said he was a very nice guy, kind of quiet and he did a lot with charity. No one had a bad thing to say about him. But I did detect a certain cautious vibe when discussing Michael with my friends at the store. They didn’t say why, but they felt he was weird. And this is from people who worked at a store on Melrose in L.A.
So one day I came in the store and one of my friends told me Jackson was in the store. And there he was, over by the comics rack. He had his arm around someone like he was on a date. That someone was Jordy Chandler.
I walked over to the long racks and pretended not to notice them. Jackson has his people with him including his driver. That driver was to later be a witness against Jackson in his trial.
Jackson was whispering in Jordy’s ear and they were acting totally like people on a date. It was not the kind of behavior a couple of straight guys do together. Then they went back in the store in the employee area and disappeared. They were gone for a half hour. I stuck around and talked to my friends, just shooting the breeze. I assumed Jackson left by the back door to avoid people. But Bill the owner asked me if I wanted to meet Michael Jackson, and I said, sure.
Jackson reappeared, and left the store. I went out there with Bill and he introduced me. Jordy had detached from Michael and went to the car which was a black SUV. I didn’t shake hands with Jackson, I only got to exchange pleasantries. But I noticed something, when I tried to look him in the eyes, he had this very evasive, almost crazed look.
Now, I have met a lot of celebrities so I don’t really see them as anything other than people who work in the entertainment business. No celeb has ever awed me and Jackson was no different. I know he wasn’t acting weird because of me. I got the sense something was going on. Either he was nuts or on something at the time. Because that was a weird look in his eyes.
After they took off, I went back in the store to buy some comics and I asked one of my friends what they were doing in the back room for so long. He said Michael and Jordy were in the bathroom for a half hour.
I said, huh? He said that’s not unusual for him.
Now, I don’t know what they did in there, but it was a small one person bathroom. And I can only think of a couple reasons two people would go into a small bathroom together. One of the nice reasons is they were helping the other with their costume. He wasn’t wearing anything hat out of the ordinary. So that leaves the other two reasons, since we can assume Jordy is potty trained at 13. Sex or drugs.
When the story about the molestation broke a few months later, that pretty much made up my mind which reason it was.
A lot of people say Michael Jackson did not molest kids. Maybe not. But I have a hard time believing it.
Everyone I know, who worked with Michael had great things to say about him, so I suppose he wasn’t a bad person. But if you have followed his story closely, he was no saint either. He actively worked to insure his brothers would never succeed. He reneged on deals constantly and didn’t pay people he owed money to.
There will be a lot of stories coming out about him and his defenders will work hard to try to canonize him. But the truth is a lot more complex.
UPDATE: Now Chandler is claiming nothing happened. I think he is embarrassed by teh while thing now that he’s an adult. He cold have come out while MJ was alive, but no.
I stand by my story.