According to new reports this week, pop icon Michael Jackson paid $35 million over the course of 15 years to cover up his pedophilia. Secret FBI files, the Daily Mirror (UK) reports, show that Jackson shelled out that cash to silence “at least two dozen young boys …. Agents have thousands of pages of evidence dating back to 1989 indicating Jacko groomed and molested children – sometimes right under the noses of their starstruck parents.”
Actually, the documents show more than that. They show that some of the parents were willing accomplices in the sexual exploitation of their own children. Jackson was apparently once caught by a member of his staff groping a child star; another time he was caught watching child pornography while touching another child; a third time, he was caught grasping at the genitals of a different child in his movie theater. The mother of one of these kids was in the theater at the time, supposedly unaware of all of this. Overall, at least 17 boys were abused, according to the files.
The files were gathered from Anthony Pellicano, former detective to the stars, who was often hired in order to cover up scandals. His files state that one mother “knew her son was being molested but turned a blind eye to it.” The witness to the molestation “confided because it didn’t bother her son, it didn’t bother her. Another email shows Jackson’s former lawyer negotiating a hush agreement with the family of an alleged victim, paying $600,000 to “refrain from any and all contact with media and communications, newspapers, television, radio, film, books.”
This week, former child friend Wade Robson also filed a lawsuit against Jackson’s estate alleging repeated molestation at the infamous Neverland ranch.
How did Jackson get away with this sort of activity for well over a decade? He was pampered by the media for his stardom, and treated with equanimity by parents who were happy to cash checks. Money and fame can go a long way in Hollywood.
Of course, in Hollywood, child molestation by the rich and famous is often overlooked. Roman Polanski received an Oscar for The Pianist in 2002, 24 years after fleeing the United States for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old girl at a party. Hollywoodites gave him a standing ovation. Only Jack Nicholson, who hosted the party at which the molestation took place, remained seated.
Former child star Corey Feldman now admits that he was abused while working in Hollywood, and says that he will write the names of his two abusers in a tell-all to be released. Feldman also says that his friend, Corey Haim, was abused. “I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” Feldman said. “That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry …. It’s the big secret.” He added, “I was surrounded by [pedophiles] when I was 14 years old …. Didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until I was old enough to realize what they were and what they wanted … till I went, Oh, my God. They were everywhere …. There was a circle of older men … around this group of kids. And they all had either their own power or connections to great power in the entertainment industry.”
It is no coincidence that more movies now deal with the sexualization of younger and younger children and teenagers. Where romance used to be the province of adults, it has now become the province of teens and pre-teens, who often are “in love” and engage in sexual activity with legal adults. None of this is commented upon, of course. “Sexual awakening” films almost always involve a minor having sex with a person of majority age. That’s Hollywood at its worst, legitimizing sexual activity for youngsters in the name of broadmindedness.
Or, perhaps, it’s artistic justification for a town in which sexual activity directed at minors has always been a nagging problem. Across America, children aren’t expected to work, and they especially aren’t expected to work with adults. But in Hollywood, that juxtaposition happens all the time. Further, parents in Hollywood – as was the case with Jackson – are often willing to sell out their own children for fame or money or both. Polanski’s victim’s mom knew where her child was late into the night, but she wasn’t there to protect her. Jackson’s victims had parents too. But stage parents are all too often stage first and parents second.
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