I didn’t watch the Channel Four expose of Michael Jackson, so I have no view on the testimony of the two men who said they were horribly abused by him. Do I take their word for the allegations, which are not the first allegations made against Jackson, or were their intentions purely of financial gain? Plenty of people on social networks have already made up their minds. I certainly have a view on the overall picture.
Sorry if this seems all about me. I can’t think of another way of explaining how I feel. But here goes.
In 2017, I was the victim of major abuse and bullying by managers at the British Red Cross. Such were the levels of abuse, I suffered a mental breakdown. I kept an extensive timeline of everything that happened to me, but when the organisation carried out its own internal review, I was never, at any stage, asked to make my case. When I resigned my post, devastated and broken, I write to the British Red Cross CEO Mike Adamson. On the basis of the internal report, compiled by someone very close to the heart of the matter who knew and worked with the abusers and bullies, Mr Adamson effectively said I had made it all up. He was sorry for the way I felt, whatever that meant. However, none of it ever happened. I have lived with that ever since and I still wake up thinking about it.
I thought about taking action against the British Red Cross. I knew in my heart I was wronged. When I looked into the possibilities, there weren’t any. The Red Cross is more than just a charity. It is a fabulously rich multinational corporation. No way could I afford to conduct a legal case against them, any more than I could take legal action against anyone else. If they can pay vast six figure salaries to their senior staff, they could also hire the best legal minds money could buy. I, a broken man, never stood a chance. Which, leads me, uneasily, to Michael Jackson.
Jackson had more money than God. His estate has benefited to the tune of more than $2 billion dollars in terms of royalties and other payments since he died. Money will never be an issue for the beneficiaries of the estate. Those who stand to gain financially also stand to lose a great deal if Jackson’s image is further tarnished. In other words, can anyone be surprised when those same people launch into a robust defence of their late benefactor? These people have a lot to lose.
The whole situation is uncomfortable, not least because we do not know the facts. We can make assumptions of guilt or innocence on the basis of the information we have learned, little of which is based on facts. We can believe what we judge to be true. Beyond reasonable doubt? Therein lies a big problem.
The alleged victims of Jackson rarely spoke when he was alive. They daren’t. They’d have been crushed by the legal eagles. Even the cases that got very close to going to court ended up with multimillion dollar pay offs, with signed non disclosure agreements, either. It is a reality in so many places in the world that the world of lawyers and court rooms exists for the rich and the powerful and no one else. Justice, or a dubious derivation of it, can be bought.
I know what happened to me and there was nothing I could do about it. I do not, and would not, compare my abuse to what the alleged victims of Jackson went through. If true, my issues are nothing by comparison. However, my experiences enable me to understand how things work and today I have far more sympathy for the alleged victims of abuse at the hands of Michael Jackson than I did yesterday.