Entertainment behind the scenes
In a cruel twist of fate, the man for whom Michael Jackson once said he felt “strong hate” is taking a central role in his final memorial. Joseph Jackson, the 79-year-old family patriarch who, according to Michael, dished out regular beatings to his children, has also raised eyebrows in the past few days, rarely missing the opportunity to promote his new record company.
“Joe Jackson is like the ultimate evil stage mom,” British music author Barney Hoskyns told Reuters, comparing him to the abusive father of the Wilson brothers in the Beach Boys. “You ask what ultimately killed Michael Jackson: It was the self-hatred that was cultivated in him by an extremely abusive — both physically and mentally abusive — man.”
Michael Jackson, the third-youngest child in the Jackson clan, made no secret of his father’s harsh methods.
“He was very strict, very hard, very stern,” Jackson told Oprah Winfrey in 1993. “Just a look would scare you … There’s been times when he would come to see me and I would get sick. I would start to regurgitate (as both a child and adult).”
In an interview with British broadcaster Martin Bashir that aired in 2003, Michael said he got off lightly compared to his older siblings. He tearfully recalled that his father would “tear you up” with a belt or some other convenient cord, and “would throw you up against the wall.” At such times, he said he felt “strong hate” for his father.
In the 1994 book “Michael Jackson Unauthorized,” author Christopher Andersen wrote: “Beatings were administered with razor straps, belts, wire coat hangers, rulers, switches, and fists. Bloody noses were not uncommon, and more than once one of the boys was knocked senseless.”
But Michael Jackson said he still loved and forgave his father. Billy Wilson, head of the Motown Alumni Association, said spankings were common with black families before “we started moving into mainstream America.”
“Without his father, Michael would have taken a different path,” Wilson wrote in an email. “Michael was brave on stage because his father instilled that toughness needed. The only person Michael was afraid of was his father! Which meant … he was fearless with anyone else and on stage.”