Accuser's Mom Told Kids: Call Jacko, Others 'Daddy'
The mother of the 12-year-old boy who has accused Michael Jackson of child molestation implored her kids to call the pop singer "daddy." The woman told a British newspaper interviewer early last year that her son called Jackson "daddy," but made it seem like this was solicited by the singer. This was not the case, my sources insist.
"You can call him 'daddy' since you don't have one," she reportedly told her children.
The woman also encouraged them to become close to other father figures besides Jackson, close inside sources have told me -- people who know her and her kids well and have solid proof to back up their claims.
The accuser's mother is divorced from her husband, whom she accused of domestic violence.
That, at least, is not disputed by Jackson insiders, who also say that the woman did not have a previously reported drug problem. "She has other problems, not that," my sources said.
The woman, living on a small income, was introduced to Jackson through a hair stylist who had been contacted by comedy club owner Jamie Masada. Her son was quite ill with cancer at the time, as I first and exclusively reported back on Nov. 17, 2003. The boy asked to meet Adam Sandler, Chris Tucker or Jackson.
Jackson did not, according to my sources, give the boy's family money or do much more than invite him to visit Neverland -- as many ailing children have -- when he was feeling better.
My sources tell me now that the mother was so dead-set on bonding Jackson to her kids that she instructed them to call Jackson "daddy" as a way of ingratiating themselves with him.
Problems arose, the same sources say, after the child and his siblings were filmed without permission for Martin Bashir's British documentary about Jackson. The boy was shown holding hands with Jackson and discussing sleeping in his bed. As I was the first to report, the boy was subsequently taunted by schoolmates and at a gas station.
The special aired in the United States on Feb. 6, but the Santa Barbara District Attorney's charges against Jackson say that he did not commence any act of child molestation until Feb. 7 and that it ended on March 10, even though the boy and his family had stayed at Neverland earlier.
I reported in this column first that Jackson had been accused by the mother of giving her son wine and sleeping pills. The National Enquirer subsequently reported in December that Jackson disguised the wine in soda cans and called it "Jesus Juice." Vanity Fair, in its upcoming issue, liberally summarizes all this reporting without proper credit.
My sources tell me that Jackson was not the first man whom the mother tried to enlist as a surrogate father for her three kids, and that other names will soon surface. They suggest that Masada, who also runs a camp for ill children, may also have been an intended target whom she hoped to ensnare. Masada has steadfastly defended her in interviews.
The mother, who is said to be ingratiating and charming in a coarse way, is said not to have stopped there. Another man whom she encouraged her kids to call "daddy" after leaving Neverland was used by her to get her kids into a desired Los Angeles school. my sources say. Jay Jackson, whom she met much the way she did Masada, at program for kids, let her clean his apartment in exchange for use of his address to get her children into a good junior high school.
Meanwhile, Jackson insiders were amused by the Santa Barbara sheriff's "raid" on Saturday of Marc Schaffel's house in Calabasas, Calif. Schaffel, a video producer with a background in pornography, has been working with Jackson on projects like "What More Can I Give?" for three years. Why detectives waited 10 weeks from the day of their Neverland search to investigate Schaffel's home for evidence is a real mystery. I'm told that if there was any evidence, the place was swept clean long ago.
"All they could have found were contracts for the Jackson specials on Fox," says a source. "They took the computer, but there was nothing on it." Homes of two Schaffel associates were also said to be searched Saturday with similar results.
Another source -- and I mean, these people are right in the middle of this thing, not just bystanders or outsiders -- told me with great confidence: "It means the D.A. has no case. He's gone from the top down, instead of the bottom up, looking for stuff. He obviously hasn't found anything."
Well, the record industry, or what's left of it, heads to Hollywood this week for the Grammy Awards. It's a dicey time, considering that once Warner Music Group is sold this week from Time Warner to Edgar Bronfman massive layoffs are expected, possibly by Friday.
Nevertheless, RCA/J Records head Clive Davis is holding his annual soiree at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Saturday night. Davis, who has defied gravity, the odds makers and just plain logic, is the most successful dude in the industry. Once Sony and BMG merge, Davis may well be running the two labels he left behind, Arista and Columbia. This would be the greatest irony in the history of the biz.
But Davis is the hit man, and the hits just keep on coming. His party is the hottest ticket of the week, hotter than the Grammys themselves. It's possible that performances after dinner will include Alicia Keys, Wyclef Jean, Rod Stewart, Heather Headley, any number of American Idols and the usual surprises (Aretha? Whitney? Jacko?). God bless Clive, that's all I can say. He's the only reason I know to travel 3,000 miles for a Grammy week that has 50 Cent as a nominee.
The best actress winner of 2002, Halle Berry, is said to have chosen an agent from the talented ranks of the William Morris Agency.
The winner of the lottery to guide Berry to even more fame and fortune is, I am told, Nicole David, previously responsible for making Whitney Houston a big star in spite of herself.
Berry came to the William Morris Agency in December after a short stint with Creative Artists. Initially, no specific agent had been aligned with her at William Morris. But my sources say Berry hit it off with David, and the two will commence to put Berry on the right track after the unsuccessful "Gothika."