Behind The Interview: Jacko On 60 Minutes

I know you all wanna hear about Stereogum’s vacation in Vermont, but that’ll have to wait. First I have an update on JACKOGATE:

It’s interesting how the TV media has become an integral part of the Jacko ’03 story. First of all, MJ wouldn’t even be in the situation if he hadn’t allowed Martin Bashir to track him for eight months. The British journalist’s documentary included this pricey soundbyte from one of Jacko’s cancer-striken young friends:

JACKSON ACCUSER: There was one night, I asked him if I could stay in the bedroom. And he let me stay in the bedroom. And I was like, Michael, you can sleep on the bed. And he was like, no, no you sleep in the bed. And then he finally said, ?Okay, if you love me, you?ll sleep on the bed.? I was like, ?Oh, man.? And so I finally slept on the bed.

I’m no Lionel Hutz, but if I were Jackson’s attorney I certainly wouldn’t have let him appear on 60 Minutes last night, even if CBS did agree to air the previously cancelled Number Ones Special in exchange. By all accounts, the Q&A with Ed Bradley was a PR disaster for Jacko.

Of course, who has time to watch TV? Lucky for you, here’s the Stereogum recap:

1. Back in December ’83 do you think anyone would’ve predicted that twenty years later 60 Minutes’s top story would open:

For most of his life, Michael Jackson has been in the spotlight, most recently because of what has been described as bizarre behavior that has now led him to be charged with sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy. If convicted, he could spend 20 years in prison. Now out on bail and awaiting trial, tonight Michael Jackson speaks out for the first time about his arrest, his accuser and the charges that have, for the moment, made his life a shambles.

2. So MJ is pretty fucked from the start. Ed Bradley starts by asking if he’s guilty of the charges.

MICHAEL JACKSON: [The charges] are totally false. Before I would hurt a child, I would slit my wrists. I would never hurt a child.

3. Okay. So what did go on at Neverland?

MICHAEL JACKSON: He had never really climbed a tree. So, I had this tree that I call “My Giving Tree.” ‘Cause I like to write songs up there. I’ve written many songs up there. So, I said, “You have to climb a tree. That’s part of boyhood. You just gotta do it.”

Wouldn’t it be cool if this tree WROTE ALL OF MJ’S SONGS? Like a magical tree? That would be fucking cool. Moving on…

4. Bradley asks what happened when they arrested him.

MICHAEL JACKSON: They manhandled me very roughly. My shoulder is dislocated, literally. It’s hurting me very badly. I’m in pain all the time. See this arm? This is as far as I can reach it. Same with this side over here … if you saw what they did to my arms ? it was very bad what they did. It’s very swollen. I don’t wanna say. You’ll see…

5. Then the accusations get more bizarre.

MICHAEL JACKSON: One time, I asked to use the restroom. They locked me in there for like 45 minutes. There was doo doo, feces thrown all over the walls, the floor, the ceiling. And it stunk so bad. Then one of the policemen … He said, “Does it smell good enough for you in there? How do you like the smell? Is it good?” And I just simply said, “It’s alright. It’s okay.”

6. Bradley brings up the ’93 charges. Why did Jackson settle? Why not go into court and fight for his good name?

MICHAEL JACKSON: I’m not allowed to talk on that…

At this point Jackson attorney Mark Geragos stops the intervew.

7. Bradley continues: “Would you, as a parent, allow your children to sleep in the same bedroom with someone, who has the suspicions and allegations that have been made against you?”

MICHAEL JACKSON: I know how the press is, and how people can twist the truth. If I knew the person personally … I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

Good news for Jeffrey Jones!

8. Bradley asks, “What has this done to your career? How has it impacted touring, record sales…?”

MICHAEL JACKSON: My album is number one all over the world. All over the world. America is the only one, because I ? I don’t wanna say too much … It’s a conspiracy.

Oh, no … Jacko brings up his conspiracy theory again. Geragos stops the interview for the second time.

9. Bradley ends with a softball: “Michael, what would you say to your fans, who have supported you through all of this … and might have questions?”

MICHAEL JACKSON: If you really want to know about me, there’s a song I wrote … the most autobiographical song I’ve ever written. It’s called, “Childhood.” They should listen to it. And thank you for your support, the fans around the world.

10. Here’s the MP3 kids: michael jackson – childhood.mp3. MJ wants you to listen to it. And remember, it’s the theme from Free Willy 2. So maybe he’s trying to tell us he’s a killer whale. You be the judge.

And one final note: it’s hard to tell ’cause Jackson obviously had specific instructions on how he was to be lit for the cameras … but do you think he’s wearing a prosthetic nose?