All About Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, And Anonymity
Roger Friedman 6/26/2011
In the old days, if you wrote a letter to the editor of your newspaper, your name would be printed. It would also be verified. The letter would be vetted for racist, hate, or inappr0priate language. But the internet has changed all that. The cloak of anonymity means that you can say whatever you like in an email comment to a story on the web. Some sites just allow the comments to appear and deal with problems later. On this site, we monitor and approve the comments before they are posted.
What seems hilarious to me is that some commenters think that writing really terrible things about me will help get them published. It will not. I never signed up for abuse. So think twice before you decide to attack this messenger. Your correspondence will be deleted. Racist, anti-semitic comments, and ad hominen attacks are unacceptable.
I am a little surprised by all the hate directed at Lady Gaga. My reporting of her declining album sales is in no way an indictment of her music, personal style, or opinions. The outpouring of hate doesn’t seem commensurate with the over 1 million albums she has sold in the last few weeks. So she dresses as an egg and wears crazy outfits. This is no reason to express such bitterness. I don’t get it. Maybe she’s overdone it. And certainly the closeness of her sound and gimmicks to Madonna isn’t helping her cause. But Stefani Germanotta is not going away. She has a great voice and can write songs–she really plays that piano. “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” are great records. Maybe it was too much with “Judas.” But Lady Gaga is for real. Once she’s confident enough not to attempt shock all the time, Germanotta should settle down as a serious pop star.
And then there’s Michael Jackson. The 2nd anniversary of his death has brought out all the crazy fans, the people who loved Michael so much –and so unreasonably–that they believe they knew “the truth” about his life, his death and everything in between. This is a weird phenomenon of fandom, but worse with Jackson. It’s extraordinary. Facts never seem to matter to these fans. There’s always some “conspiracy” only they understood. With books coming soon by Frank Cascio (who actually knew Jackson and what was going on) to siblings Jermaine and La Toya–who knew very little, especially in the last five years–we’re just going to see the fan-atics really agitated. Ironically, they’re the same ones who hurt the sales of the “Michael” album. I thought they’d embrace the last music from Michael as a tribute to him. But spurred on by ridiculous claims, Jackson’s fans actually undermined him. And they missed the real treats Michael Jackson left behind for them. I guess it’s true, you only hurt the ones you love.
Finally, Michael’s former manager and publicist, Raymone Bain, had a lot to say to me in emails sent in the middle of the night. Even though the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and other publications reported that Bain had pled guilty to not filing taxes, she’s upset that I reported it. Bain would not explain to me why she hadn’t filed taxes. She wrote:
Roger…I’ve just read your column and my response: 1) As I and my attorneys indicated a couple years back when you first reported it… I have never spoken to, met with, or had any dealings with a Jason Cestaro… and what you are reporting, and any representations he has made regarding me in this regard, holding myself out as an agent, is a damned lie…you know it, he knows it, and you can print this response…I’ve had enough of this… 2) My “being advised” by you about the loan, etc. “for the first time” is also a damned lie…months prior to having dinner with you, I had to issue a press release announcing that the loan wasn’t called due to the interest payments not having been made. In addition, every number, every report, including a blaring headline of your’s which read, “Michael Jackson Will Lose His Catalog in 2008″ proved inaccurate…including your facts and the numbers you arbitrarily threw out over the years.
Back in 2004 and 2005 I was a bit coy and on June 10th, exhausted; but, should have said what I’m saying now…then: Tom Mesereau nor anyone else had the authority to fire me based on my Agreement, which was signed by Michael Jackson…the reason I was flown to Europe a week or two later by Michael Jackson. You, and others keep reporting it, knowing it’s a damned lie. With regards to my taxes…I pled guilty for failure to file income tax returns for 2008, period…a misdemeanor. Let me also say this, also in response to your column, whatever Michael J.Jackson made in Japan, or anywhere else, would be reflected on his tax returns…not mine. You want to see my returns…I want to see yours.
I’ll say one thing about Bain’s email: if Michael Jackson hadn’t died on June 25, 2009 it’s quite possible he would have lost the Beatles catalog and a lot more. At the time of his death, Neverland was in the hands of Colony Capital, and out of his control. Jackson was deeply in debt. For years he’d refused to do anything sensible to solve his financial problems. He was capricious and disloyal, and often acted out like a spoiled child. He went behind his advisors’ backs and made crazy deals that usually ended with lawsuits and reciminations. It’s only since Jackson died, and sensible decisions could be made, that his estate has partially recovered.
We did not abuse Mr. Friedman and we do hope he will approve of our comment.
MJJJusticeproject Response – 6/27/2011
We agree with your assessment that anonymity allows the commenter to feel they have a license to abuse with impunity; no one, including you should be subject to that kind of attack. We would hope that they are just a fringe element and do not represent the vast majority of the public.
While we wince at your term “fan-atics” we do so hope that you are not lumping us all into that same fringe type element. The MJGlobal family is world wide over, 30+million strong and while there is a small group of ‘crazies’ as you put it, the majority of his advocates, supporters and activists are in no way short of their marbles, nor are we into conspiracy theories.
We very much support his music, the album MICHAEL, and many of the upcoming PRO-Michael Jackson books finally being published. We are eagerly awaiting Frank Cascio’s book, “My Friend Michael”, and read some FACTS that we have been desperate to hear, for the very first time. On November 1, 2011, Joe Vogel’s much awaited, 5 yr researched, “Man In The Music” will be available and the public will be able to see the man without the stilted one-dimensional “freak” fictional persona that we’ve been served for the past 20+ years by the biased media, both tabloid and mainstream.
As reported by Forbes, Michael Jackson was an astute businessman who surrounded himself with financial advisers and while he did spend his hard earned monies on himself and his children, he also contributed Guiness Book record-breaking amounts on the underserved and underprivileged of the world. Dr. Wayne Dyer spoke that with his enormous heart, he fed half the population of the world with ‘We Are The World”. Dr. Dyer also spoke of how much money Michael Jackson spent on Neverland to create an environment rich in childhood bliss, to supply children who had little or no chance of having any or even living a few moments, some utter joy.
The ‘secret’ rooms that the tabloid princesses, Grace and Dimond, still snicker about were fully functioning, fully medically equipped hospital rooms for the terminally ill children who visited his Neverland Ranch. Dr. Patrick Treacy, a personal physician and friend said that Michael habitually gave away large sums of his money away to the neediest among us, and if he had financial difficulties it would be for that very reason. He abundantly and privately paid for the health services for needy children, funerals of notables in the music business who had fallen on hard times, as well as a small unknown child in South Central shot down by a stray gang bullet and yet, his largess is generally unknown to most people.
Why is that, Mr. Friedman? Because these FACTS didn’t fit into the image the media wanted to create for Michael Jackson.
We know that in time the real legacy of this gentle man will be exposed by independent academic research such as Mr. Vogel’s. We are dedicated to discovering with due diligence what the medialoids on the whole did not research, nor seek when it came to reporting erroneously on Michael Jackson lo these many years; FACTS. We can also assure you, sir, that facts DO very much matter to the majority of Michael Jackson supporters and we will continue to do everything in our power to make sure the world hears and understands the true Michael Jackson, not the one that the media fabricated.