When it emerged yesterday that two weeks ago Evan Chandler, father of Jordan Chandler, shot himself in the head, few tears were shed despite the media's best efforts to eulogise him.
Most media outlets are touting Chandler as 'the father of the boy who accused Jackson of child molestation'. Wrong. Chandler was the father who accused Jackson of molesting his son after the star refused to negotiate script-writing deals for him.
The initial allegations against Jackson were made not by Jordie Chandler but by his father Evan, in spite of Jordie's insistence that Jackson never touched him inappropriately, a stance that the boy maintained for several months.
Relations between the boy's father and Jackson had been strained from the outset as Evan Chandler felt that Jackson was replacing him as a father. The following passage is taken from Jackson biography 'The Magic and the Madness'. Chandler spoke to the author, Randy Taraborrelli, several times:
"June and Evan had been arguing about Evan's involvement in Jordie's life; June didn't feel that Evan was spending enough time with his son. Evan disagreed. However, he couldn't help but feel that he might be losing his place in Jordie's life to Michael. He didn't believe that Michael was doing anything wrong with Jordie. Rather, he simply felt the presence of another man, an influential male figure, in his son's life - and he didn't like it. It didn't help matters that June would often make reference to the fact that Jordie saw Michael more than he did his own father. 'Michael is completely influential on your son,' she told Evan during one conversation, 'and he's taking over where you have left off.'"
The book goes on to describe Evan's chagrin as Jackson performed fatherly tasks, such as buying Jordan a computer: 'Evan was not happy about it. He had planned to buy his son the exact same computer and Michael had beaten him to it.'
Chandler noticed his son becoming distant and began to believe that Jackson was involved with his ex-wife, June: 'I felt then that maybe June should just divorce Dave, since they were having problems, and maybe hook up with Michael.' On a trip to Monaco Taraborrelli describes Jackson as looking close to June: 'In Monaco Michael was often photographed with June, Jordie and Lily. In several pictures, he is seen holding Lily in his arms while walking next to June. Jordie [...] walked ahead of them.'
When Evan first met Jackson he felt 'exhilaration' and 'awe'. However, when Jackson stopped returning his calls he became bitter. On July 8th 1993 Evan was tape recorded during a telephone conversation, complaining that Jackson had stopped telephoning him: 'There was no reason why he had to stop calling me'.
He added that he'd had a conversation with Jackson and told him 'exactly what I want out of the relationship with him'.
'I picked the nastiest son of a bitch I could find,' he said of his new attorney. 'All he wants to do is get this out in the public as fast as he can, as big as he can, and humiliate as many people as he can. He's nasty, he's mean, he's smart and he's hungry for publicity. Everything's going according to a certain plan that isn't just mine. Once I make that phonecall, this guy is going to destroy everybody in sight in any devious, nasty, cruel way that he can do it. I've given him full authority to do that.'
'If I go through with this, I win big time,' he continued. 'There is no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever. June will lose [custody] and Michael's career will be over.'
Asked whether that was good for Jordie, he replied: 'That's irrelevant to me.'
Behind the scenes an increasingly embittered Chandler had contacted Jackson and demanded that he negotiate three scriptwriting deals on his behalf. If Jackson did not comply, Chandler threatened, he would accuse him of molesting his son. Jackson didn't comply - and the rest is history.
Jordie maintained for some time that Jackson had never touched him inappropriately. Investigative journalist Mary Fischer uncovered compelling evidence - which she published in her 1994 GQ article 'Was Michael Jackson Framed?'
- that Jordan Chandler only subscribed to his father's version of events after Evan - a dentist by trade - plied him with a mind-bending drug called sodium amytal, which is known to induce false memory syndrome.
Even once Jordan Chandler began to toe his father's line, his testimony was so unconvincing that DA Tom Sneddon took his case to two separate grand juries and neither allowed him to bring charges against Michael Jackson. Contrary to widely reported myth, Jordan Chandler did not accurately describe Jackson's genitals. Among other inaccuracies, he claimed that Jackson was circumcised while police photographs proved that he was not.
Unsurprisingly, none of this information has made its way into the mainstream media's reportage of Evan Chandler's death. Instead, Chandler's suicide is seen as another opportunity to sling mud at Michael Jackson and perpetuate the same, tired old myths about the 1993 allegations - particularly with regard to the settlement.
News outlets the world over are once more reporting that in 1994 Jackson paid the Chandlers a settlement. Court documents which came to light in 2005 state clearly that Jackson's insurance carrier "negotiated and paid the settlement over the protests of Mr Jackson and his personal legal counsel."
Amongst the publications that rehashed this age old nonsense was The Sun
, to which I often contribute as a Michael Jackson expert. I was contacted yesterday and asked to provide information about Evan Chandler and the 1993 allegations, which I did. However, none of my information was used - most likely because it reflected too well on Jackson. Myths that imply Jackson's guilt are evidently more important than truths which exonerate him.
Noticing that The Sun's article on Chandler's suicide contained several inaccuracies (most prominently that Jordie initiated the claims of molestation and that Jackson paid the settlement) I contacted two members of staff at the newspaper - my usual contact and the journalist who wrote the article. Neither email was replied and the article was not changed.
Elsewhere, The Mirror ranked several places higher on the absurdity scale as it attempted to portray Chandler as a martyr of some kind. 'Michael Jackson sex case dad Evan Chandler wanted justice but ended up destroyed'
, read the headline.
If Evan Chandler had wanted justice, why did he contact Jackson and ask for a three-movie script deal before he went to the police? If he wanted justice, why did he accept a settlement from Jackson's insurance carrier? The settlement specifically did not affect the family's ability to testify in a criminal case. So if Evan Chandler wanted justice, why didn't he allow the police to press ahead with their investigation after he got his money?
The headline, along with much of the article, is nonsense.
Having taken Jackson's insurance carrier for just under $15million (not the $20million usually alluded to by the press), in 1996 Evan Chandler tried to sue Jackson for a further $60million after claiming that the star's album HIStory was a breach of the settlement's confidentiality clause. In addition to trying to sue Jackson, Chandler requested that the court allow him to produce a rebuttal album called EVANstory.
So the man who The Mirror claims only 'wanted justice' thought that the best course of action after the initial media storm died down would be to release an album of music about the supposed abuse of his pre-pubescent son.
The Mirror alluded to the fact that relations between Jordan and his parents were strained after 1993, but laid the blame at Jackson's door, claiming that the trauma of the case had driven them apart.
In actuality, Jordan Chandler went to court when he was 16 and gained legal emancipation from both of his parents. When called to appear at Jackson's 2005 trial, he refused to testify against his former friend. Had he taken the stand, Jackson's legal team had a number of witnesses who were prepared to testify that Jordan - who now reportedly lives in Long Island under an assumed name - had told them in recent years that he hated his parents for what they made him say in 1993, and that Michael Jackson had never touched him.
The evidence surrounding the 1993 allegations overwhelmingly supports Michael Jackson's innocence. It is for this reason that during the lengthy investigation, which continued for many months, Michael Jackson was never arrested and was never charged with any crime.
The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that Evan Chandler masterminded the allegations as a money making scheme, believing it would help him to achieve his dream of working in Hollywood. The aforementioned tape recorded telephone conversation heard him dismiss the boy's wellbeing as 'irrelevant' and admit that he was out to take Jackson for all he was worth.
Mary Fischer's evidence shows that as well as falsifying the sexual abuse of his own son in an elaborate extortion plot, when Jordan refused to play along Evan plied him with mind-altering drugs in a bid to trick him into believing that he was molested.
But even drugging a child as part of an extortion plot wasn't Evan Chandler's lowest point. That came when he petitioned the court to allow him to release an album of music about the supposed sexual abuse of his own son.
As for the media, this latest incident cements once more the industry's almost total unwillingness to report fairly or accurately on Michael Jackson, particularly on the bogus allegations of sexual abuse that were levelled against him. None of the aforementioned information and evidence was included in any article about Chandler's suicide that I have read so far, despite the fact that I personally delivered it to at least one newspaper which specifically asked me to supply it.
Exculpatory facts are overlooked in favour of salacious myths. A black humanitarian is tarred as a paedophile and his white extortionist is painted as a martyr.