This piece is based on the article 'Was Michael Jackson Framed?' by Mary A. Fisher. It was published in GQ magazine in October of 1994.
When Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, an amazing transformation occurred.
For years, the so-called ‘King of Pop’ had been a punchline. If you made a reference to MJ’s sleepovers, or his Neverland Ranch, you were guaranteed a laugh - albeit a cheap one.
Then the man died. Suddenly the laughter stopped, and a ubiquitous summertime sadness set in. But the bittersweet remembrances did not fuel a re-evaluation of the innuendoes and allegations that had dogged the superstar for the last fifteen years of his life.
Now, on the eighth anniversary of Michael’s death, a little-read GQ article from 1994 has resurfaced that may do just that. It offers a detailed account of how the eccentric music icon found himself at the heart of a child sex scandal, and raises serious questions about the motives of his accusers.
It’s a story of compassion, greed, drugs, manipulation, jealousy, and ambition. And it begins with a broken down car on Wilshire Boulevard.
A chance encounter.
When Jackson’s van broke down on the crowded LA thoroughfare, he was conveniently spotted by a man who worked for a nearby car rental agency. Seeing an opportunity, he offered to help.
The owner of the agency, Dave Schwartz, had heard in advance that a very special guest was en route. He phoned his wife, June, and told her to bring their kids down to the shop. Her 12-year-old son Jordan Chandler (from a previous marriage) was a die-hard Michael Jackson fan.
When June arrived at the shop with her children, she struck up a conversation with Jackson, pointing out that her son had previously sent him fan mail. She even gave the singer her family’s home number.
"It was almost like she was forcing Jordan on him," recalled the employee who had brought Jackson to the shop.
Michael Jackson was famously charitable and kind to his fans. While most other celebrities probably wouldn’t have picked up the phone, he did. He began calling Jordan at home, and developed a fast friendship with the boy. June and Jordan repeatedly visited Jackson at Neverland Ranch. He bought gifts for the family, and took them on expensive vacations.
Nobody seemed to think anything of it. But then, the following year, Jackson began having sleepovers with Jordan, and people started asking questions. (continued…)