Michael Jackson now has reason to worry about more than just going to jail: His career is over.
I have just read a devastating new book by Ray Chandler, uncle of the boy who accused Jackson of molesting him a decade ago. "All That Glitters: The Crime and the Cover Up," which Chandler will publish on Monday, is a surprise. As levelheaded as it could be under the circumstances, the book meticulously details the Chandler family's case against Jackson. No one is spared.
Raymond Chandler apparently was right in on the action in 1993 during the time his brother battled with his ex-wife and her estranged second husband over their 13-year-old son. The mother, Ray claims, allowed Michael Jackson into their lives to the point where the pop star was sleeping over in the boy's bedroom. Not at Neverland, mind you. In their own home.
When the boy's father intervened, Ray explains, he realized his son's attachment to Jackson. He also questioned whether or not his son was gay and proceeded cautiously at first. But it wasn't long before he became suspicious Jackson and his son were having sex and a war ensued that left all players severely wounded.
What Ray Chandler does is find a new villain in the piece: the boy's stepfather. Now a wealthy man of his own making, the stepfather is set up as the weakest link in a chain of adults who were suddenly being bribed by Jackson's attorney and private investigator, Chandler claims. The infamous investigator, Anthony Pellicano, is currently serving a 27-month prison sentence on another matter.
Chandler addresses very adroitly what he views to be almost every myth, repeated bit of false gossip and disinformation that the case has produced over the last decade. All the machinations among the parents, lawyers, private eyes, Jackson and the main subject are open and splayed in their entirely. Chandler promises that by September 12th, his website will be chockablock with copies of legal papers and psychiatrist's interviews that will support his stories.
He also parses Jackson's main defense, a 1994 GQ story by Mary Fischer that attacked the Chandlers and suggested they were guilty of extortion. In one particularly bad moment, Chandler — and what has to be a ghostwriter — reviews a tape transcript on which Fischer based her story and rips her work to shreds. It will take a rebuttal from her to save the reputation of a story that has come to be a touchstone in the Jackson universe.
But Fischer, who now has unlisted number, could not be reached for this article. Randy Jackson, Michael's brother and current manager, did not return calls either.
One thing is for sure: Chandler has been thorough in this project. There is so far nothing slipshod about it. The plan for the book and the website were obviously thought through some time ago.
Of course, Chandler does one thing that most readers will find unspeakable: He sacrifices the privacy of his nephew, now 24. Jackson's alleged relationship with the boy is described in detail. It lasted longer than any of us may have guessed and was, if true, unbelievably cruel and twisted on Jackson's part. Chandler told me the other day that he feels the case is so well known, his "outing" of the nephew won't be anything new.
As Leo Tolstoy once put it: "Happy families are all alike. Unhappy families are all unhappy in their own way."
"All that Glitters" is only about the 1993 case. It really has no bearing on the current child molestation charges facing Jackson. It's not even necessarily completely true. But I predict that once it hits stores on Monday, this book will be a blow to Michael from which he will never be able to recover.
Whether Ray Chandler wrote "All that Glitters" for personal enrichment or because he wanted to expose Jackson, help other children or be a saint, doesn't matter. All that does matter, clearly, is that Michael Jackson needs help, and he needs it now.