Disturbing!

By now you must have watched the HBO Documentary, Leaving Neverland. The documentary is essentially a 4-hour interview in which two adult males, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, describe being seduced and sexually molested by Michael Jackson, at the height of his stardom, when they were mere children.

I watched Leaving Neverland when it premiered last Sunday, I watched it again on Monday, and today, four days later, I still cannot get the graphic details of these allegations against Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, out of my head. To say I am troubled and disturbed by the allegations is putting it mildly. I am not one to get into celebrity gossip or stories or the like, but I simply cannot get the details of this controversial documentary out of my head and it has left me wondering about the veracity of these horrific accusations.

Both Safechuck and Robson alleges in graphic detail the sexual seduction and abuse they suffered at the hands of Michael Jackson when they were merely 10 and 7 years old, respectively; at the time Michael Jackson was a grown man in his 30s. The age difference is staggering and one can only label Jackson a pedophile, if, and I repeat if these allegations are true.

Safechuck met Jackson when he won the role of a lifetime playing opposite Jackson in a Pepsi commercial in 1987 when he was only 8 years old. His relationship with Jackson soon blossomed after that as the allegations purport that Jackson not only seduced the then 10-year-old Safechuck but also his entire family, including his parents. Jackson became “friends” with Safechuck’s mother and in Leaving Neverland, Mrs. Safechuck even describes how she regarded Jackson as one of her own children. She describes him as “a son” and talks about preparing meals for him, speaking with him on the phone daily for hours and having him over for dinner several times in their home. It was therefore relatively easy for her to say “yes” when Jackson invited them on a vacation to Hawaii and later invited the then 10-year-old Safechuck to tour with him on his Bad tour. It was also relatively easy for her to comply when Jackson requested, while on the vacation in Hawaii, that her 10-year-old son sleep with him (Jackson) in his room.

Robson, who was born in and resided in Australia, met Jackson when he was merely 5 years old after winning an Australian dance contest where he won tickets to Jackson’s concert followed by a meet-and-greet. Thereafter Jackson allegedly told Robson’s mother to look him up if she ever came to the United States, which she did 2 years later, and was miraculously able to get in contact with him; and remember this is in a day and age before the Internet. It makes you wonder if certain things were just meant to be, or this is what Robson’s mother believed.

Robson and his family were invited into Jackson’s home while on their stay in the US and again the allegations are that Jackson was able to charm Mom into agreeing to allow her then 7-year-old child to spend time alone with Jackson in his private bedroom.

Dan Reed, the Director of Leaving Neverland, goes back and forth with the camera as both Safechuck and Robson are interviewed for the documentary. He does extreme close-ups of both men’s faces as they describe in very graphic details the sexual acts performed with Michael Jackson when they were mere boys, at 7 and 10 years old. Truthfully, the entire thing made me shudder and it was extremely difficult for me to wrap my mind around the allegations. My gosh, they were not even teenagers yet (not saying that would make the allegations any less disturbing) but 7 and 10 years old! My gosh! They were mere babies!

Safechuck alleges that his sexual relationship with Jackson lasted from the ages of 10 to 14, while Robson states that his relationship with Jackson was on and off for 7 years from ages 7 to 14. The indication is given in the documentary that Jackson preferred it when the boys were very young and as they entered their early teens he abandoned his relationship with them for other younger boys. Robson even claims that he was replaced by child actor Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone fame.

It is interesting to note that Culkin has vehemently denied any inappropriate conduct from Jackson during the several years they “hung out as friends”. It is also interesting to note that Dan Reed, the Director, never bothered to interview Culkin or any other of the several children, who are now men in their 30s, who were always seen in Jackson’s company at the height of his stardom.

The premiere of Leaving Neverland has, of course, revived sexual abuse allegations made against Jackson in the past. In August of 1993, Evan Chandler, a dentist, accused Jackson of sexually abusing his 13-year-old son Jordon Chandler. Jackson vehemently denied the allegations and both Safechuck and Robson gave sworn testimonies in affidavits stating that Jackson is a wholesome person, a good friend, that never once touched them inappropriately. Jackson later settled out of court with The Chandlers for $23,000,000 (yes, that’s right 23 million) and in September 1993 the criminal investigation related to the Jordon Chandler case was closed.

There were similar allegations within the following decade made against Jackson which culminated in criminal charges being brought against him in January 2004 when then 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo accused Jackson of sexually molesting him. This time there was no out of court settlement and the case went to trial, a trial that lasted several months. One of the key witnesses for Jackson in this 2005 trial was none other than Wade Robson, who testified for days about the innocence of his friendship with Jackson.

Both Safechuck and Robson were adults in 2005 during Jackson’s sexual molestation trial, Robson, who was 23 years old at the time, testified under oath that Jackson never sexually abused him. Safechuck, who was 27 at the time, stated in the documentary that when Michael contacted him to testify on his behalf in 2005 he refused, told Jackson to never call him again and hung up the phone.

The fact that both Safechuck and Robson defended Jackson in 1993 when 13-year-old Chandler accused him of sexual molestation and misconduct and Robson again in 2005, defended Jackson, this time by taking the stand has many die-hard Michael Jackson fans questioning their credibility. There has also been talk about both men making the documentary for money. However, it has been postulated over and over again by Director Dan Reed, that neither man has been “renumerated” for telling his story.

Oprah Winfrey interviewed both Safechuck and Robson after Leaving Neverland aired and she asked a pertinent question of them both, “Why come forward now?”

Both men, who are now married with sons of their own, have essentially said it is because of their children. They are now watching their own children grow up and are motivated to tell the truth as they watch the innocence of their own children on display.

Safechuck has said “I want to speak the truth as loud as I spoke the lie. Michael made you feel like you did it, that it was all your idea, Then you look at your own kid, and for the first time realize, “What? That just makes no sense.”

Today I read on BBC.com that a statue of Michael Jackson has been removed from the National Football Museum in Manchester, England. I was a bit taken aback. I also read a few articles where radio stations are considering no longer playing Michael Jackson’s songs.

Say what?!

Jackson’s music has always uplifted me, admittedly it still did this week even after watching Leaving Neverland. Jackson is no longer alive to defend himself and it bothers me that these allegations are now being made when he should be resting in peace.

However, there is something about Safechuck, not so much Robson, but James Safechuck, as I watch him give his interview to Oprah that makes me believe him. His eyes are filled with pain, his face distorted in disbelief that he simply cannot believe he’s actually doing this, that he’s actually talking out loud about something he had vowed to take to his grave. You can almost tell that he takes no pleasure from all of this. He still talks about his “love” for Jackson and the fact that he “feels like he is letting him down”.

In all honesty, I don’t know what to believe about Michael Jackson anymore. I am a fan. In light of these horrible allegations will I remain a fan? Should we now shun the man, his legacy and his music because of a controversial documentary? Or should we separate the man from his art? What say you? Do you believe that the King of Pop was capable of such appalling acts, especially against children?

The Art of Conversation – Part 2

Have you ever met someone and knew for sure you wouldn’t like them? The first time I came across a blog post by http://bottomlesscoffee007.com I was so sure the post was written by someone I could never like. His views didn’t align with mine at all and he was harsh in his criticism of “the other side”; and since I am here (on WordPress) for some lighthearted conversation and humor, I stopped myself from leaving a commentary with my opposing views and just moved along to someone else’s blog post.

It was only a couple of days later when BottomlessCoffee007 showed up again. This time he was in the comment section of my blog post. I rolled my eyes when I first got the notification that he had left a comment on one of my posts. What did he have to say about what I had written? As luck would have it he had left a humorous comment. I chuckled as I read it and then I replied. A few minutes later I got a notification that he was now “following” my Blog and since I am a big advocate of reciprocity I followed him back and that was how 007 and I started.

He would show up in my Inbox daily, sometimes twice or thrice with his controversial opinions, arguments, and rants. Admittedly, his pieces were thought-provoking and gave rise to discourse, even though they were views I didn’t readily share. I eventually started commenting on some of his posts and lo and behold he wasn’t miffed whenever I didn’t agree with him, which happens frequently.😃 We would oftentimes go back and forth several times on just one of his post and in the end, we would always agree to disagree.

I came to admire the manner in which he wrote his pieces and invited dialogue. He addresses every issue you put forth before him and he is never obnoxious in his response to your comments even when you have opposing views. It’s surprising to me that 007 has become one of my favorites on WordPress, despite his controversy, and I am learning to embrace our differences.

007’s blog has taken on a life of its own and now he even has his very own Podcast, which has risen in popularity in only a few months. I am honored to have been the first Blogger he interviewed on his Podcast back in December. You can listen to that interview here: The Art of Conversation. We recently switched seats and he allowed me to interview him, in an effort to have his readers learn more about him. It was truly an interesting and fun conversation that lasted over an hour and forty-five minutes. If you’re interested in listening the link appears below. I promise you won’t be bored.

What 007 has taught me in this extremely divisive climate that we live in is that we don’t have to see eye to eye to get along. If we would only pause and listen, I mean really listen, to others who do not share the same perspectives and views as us we could possibly learn something; and not because we are not on similar sides of the coin it doesn’t mean we can’t have a decent conversation punctuated with a few deep down, genuine, belly laughs.

https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/2019/02/05/the-voice-behind-the-keyboard-racquel-interviews-bc007-tidepodcast-episode-52/

Photo courtesy of StockSnap.io (This is how I imagine 007 as a kid screaming his rants into the microphone 😃😃😃).

MILF

“Mr. Pannell asked me to participate in your school’s career day.”

“Noooooooo!” said my 15-year-old son. He was visibly annoyed.

“Why not? I want to do it.”

“Mom, no! I’ll talk to Mr. Pannell in the morning.”

“No, you’re not gonna talk to anyone because it’s something I want to….” My son cuts me off abruptly.

“Do you know that you’re a meme in my school?”

“What? A what?” I was a little confused.

Blake was getting more annoyed by the moment. “You do know what a meme is, don’t you?” He said while rolling his eyes.

“Of course I know what a meme is. How am I a meme? That doesn’t even make sense.”

He sighed, “All my friends think you’re hot. You’re like the Mom with the body. I don’t want you around my friends.”

“Well, aren’t you happy you have a hot Mom? I mean…” I trailed off as he interrupts me again.

“No, I don’t! No!” with that final statement my 15-year-old walks away.

I’m left standing there a bit befuddled thinking to myself, “What just happened? Is this kid for real?”

This was a conversation that took place last week between me and my 15-year-old son, Blake, who attends an all-boys private school. A few days later I posted the conversation on Facebook as my status update and my friends, for the most part, were amused, and to tell you the truth I am a little amused by the entire thing myself. My Facebook friends, who are all people I know in real life, most of them even know Blake personally, started to weigh in on whether or not I should participate in Career Day.

The opinions were split down the middle, 50% who gave their point of view believe I should adhere to Blake’s wishes and not participate in Career Day, some of which were my male friends indicating that I just wouldn’t understand since I am not driven by testosterone and raging hormones. The other 50% were of the opinion that Blake will always have to deal with his “Mama being hot” so I should indeed attend and Blake will just have to get over it.

My take on the matter is that I should go, for several reasons, the main one being that I can motivate and inspire by giving a talk to young, impressionable minds on the benefits of entering the legal profession. These days we never know where someone’s inspiration can come from and I think it would be a wonderful thing if I am able to reach even one student and inspire said student to one day apply to Law School.

I mean, to this day, I remember the lawyer I met while I was in high school that made me want to become an attorney. Well, I didn’t really “meet” her, she was in the bank conducting business, where I was waiting on my father while he too conducted business in the same bank. This woman was striking and fierce, as I eavesdropped on her conversation with the banker, I realized that she was a lawyer. She was well-spoken and polished, and she had the bank employees eating out of the palm of her hands. She had a commanding presence, and I remember thinking, “Damn, I wanna be like her when I grow up.” 😃 That was the moment when the seed of becoming a lawyer was planted into my brain. Obviously, there were several other circumstances, over the course of the following years, that made my determination to become an attorney a growing ambition but it started in the Cross Roads Branch of the National Commercial Bank in Jamaica.

I get it, teenagers are going to ogle. Blake is uncomfortable with his friends ogling. He probably ogles his friends’ moms too. It’s life, maybe even a rite of passage for teenage boys, if you will. I don’t know – I have never been a teenage boy – but what I do know is that Blake needs to get over himself and stop telling me what to do. As it stands, I am forbidden from attending his basketball games because his friends “look at me and talk about me”. Really?! My son plays Center for the Junior Varsity team for his school and I am so proud of him for even making the team and now I am not permitted to go cheer him on because he is “uncomfortable”. Mind you, my husband is allowed to attend the games but I cannot.

I have gotten to the point where I want to tell my 15-year-old to get over himself and his discomfort. My patience is wearing thin with him and this foolishness. I will respect his stance on the basketball games (even though I did sneak into one of the games a couple of weeks ago) because it is a mere social activity, but I was invited by a faculty member to participate in Career Day and I think it is very important that I attend.

One of my very good friends from Law School, a male, has been advocating for Blake all week. He has even sent me private messages saying I should sit this one out. He totally understands Blake’s “plight” since he “was once a teenager with a hot Mom too”. He says it “can be a lot for a young man to deal with”. My response to that is the fact that I have to sit out the basketball games and now he wants me to sit out Career Day, it would seem as if Blake wants me to sit out the remainder of his teenage years. My former Law School buddy promises that “it will get better” as Blake “matures”; but what if it doesn’t? Should I really wait for Blake to get over his “discomfort”? His teenage years will be over in the blink of an eye. He’ll be going off to University in just 2.5 more years. Am I to miss out on the limited time I have left with him, as my child in my house, because of such unbelievable nonsense?

I asked my husband, Greg, the neutral party and always the go-between for me and Blake, what he thought of the entire situation. He supports my perspective and thinks Blake should learn to start properly handling the situation instead of giving his friends too much of a voice. Greg states that in years to come when Blake’s buddies are all adults, he will still have friends that ogle me because some dudes are just “disrespectful” like that and Blake needs to learn as early as possible how to handle those “friends”, the sooner he learns, the better. Blake’s advocate disagrees with Greg and believes “friendships are important at any age, that life is never easy for teenage boys and young men, who go through a lot and are oftentimes told to put on a brave face and act tough because society expects them to”. According to my Law School buddy, what all young men need is “those they love to listen and understand their point of view”.

Now, I am at the point where I am going back and forth in my mind about this situation. I love my son, obviously, and want to make him happy, but for me, this shouldn’t even be a discussion. Like seriously, back in my day, my brother wouldn’t dare tell my mother not to show up to his school for Career Day, there wouldn’t have been a discussion. Hot mom or not.

According to my husband, the situation could be worse, the situation could have been such that he was being teased for having an unattractive mom. One that no one wanted to look at. Despite, the disagreement among my Facebook friends on the topic, the general consensus is that I ought to be “proud” that I am a hot Mom and that this is a “good” problem to have.

I have verbally agreed to participate in Career Day but I still haven’t handed in my formal notice of participation yet. Career Day isn’t until mid-March so I do have some time to think about it. I would love to hear your take on the matter. Should I go or not? What’d you think?

Why Is Everyone So Sensitive

Why is everyone so sensitive these days??? Why is everyone taking everything so seriously??? Can we lighten up a bit, please?

Last week I learned that one of my favorite Christmas songs will not make it to the airwaves this Christmas because the lyrics are too “suggestive”. Say what?!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a classic tune usually played around Christmastime that gives me a delightful, warm, fuzzy feeling whenever it comes on the radio, it is way better listening pleasure than Jingle Bells. It’s catchy and it’s fun, and it is one of my faves along with Eartha Kitt’s Santa Baby. Now in light of the #metoo movement, it is being said that the song connotes a hidden agenda of sexual harassment and as such should no longer be played on the radio. Say what?!

Are the powers that be for real with this nonsense? This song was first recorded all the way back in 1944, even before my mother was born, for the movie, Neptune’s Daughter. Over the years it has grown in popularity and has been recorded and covered by several contemporary popular artists including Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton, Michael Buble, Norah Jones, and even Lady Gaga. So why all of a sudden it is not fit for the airwaves and will lead to the promotion of “date rape culture”? Say what now?! I can’t, I just can’t.

Who are the ones making these decisions? The gist of the song, which is usually recorded by a male and female duo, has the female singer, who is in the company of the male singer saying she needs to leave, she has to get home but each time she says she has to go the male singer interrupts her by reminding her that she should stay because “it’s really cold outside”. That’s it! That is the general gist of the song, no mention of sex, no mention of let’s go to into the bedroom and do the nasty. Just a guy enjoying the company of a female companion and he does not want her to leave.

Such a delightful and catchy tune and now it’s forbidden because as a society we have gotten just a bit too sensitive and everything has to be misconstrued and misinterpreted and taken to the ith power.

Here’s the link to the original scene where the song was first recorded for a movie, very cute and fun to watch https://youtu.be/7MFJ7ie_yGU.

In conversation with my husband tonight he told me of a co-worker who recently found out that his children’s elementary school will no longer be having a Halloween party, this year’s party was the last because it caused an uproar among a few parents (just a few) who are offended by the concept of Halloween and the fact that a party is being “forced down their throats”. Here is my solution to that – You don’t like it keep your kids at home on the day of…Like really; why is everyone so offended by every little thing these days?!

I get it, not everything is for everyone and if for some reason you’re not into whatever then stay away. Don’t spoil everybody else’s fun, just keep your mouth shut and stay away. Don’t petition the Board of Ed by inundating them with your selfish letters to the point where now there has been a ruling that there will be no more Halloween parties.

Thankfully those parents were not a part of my elementary school when my kid was much younger because they would be getting a hell of a fight from me if they tried that nonsense. It’s not even that I’m a huge fan of Halloween, I grew up in Jamaica, my childhood was Halloween free, but on a matter of principle alone I would jump to oppose those that feel the need to spoil everybody else’s fun. How about you go somewhere quiet and practice removing that stick from your you know where?

There are certain things, words, and terminologies that are downright derogatory and are generally offensive; and the use of such words and promotion of such things are inexcusable. However, songs that have been around and has been playing on the radio for decades are not offensive, neither is a Halloween party for grammar school students.

Everyone is so offended by everything these days, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. What about the concept of “live and let live” and “to each his own”. Why should everyone else suffer because you get butthurt about everything?

Toughen up, people! Not everyone is on the attack not everything is meant to hurt your pretty little feelings. Enough already! Enough!

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