Author's Note: This chapter is sensitive in nature as it discusses the events of what occurred when Michael Jackson had a warrant served to him to submit to a strip search on December 20, 1993. It was hard to write, but I wrote and wanted to include it to get "inside" of Michael's mind when it happened. You only read about this thing, but you don't really know what was going through Michael's mind during that ordeal, so it was imperative to me to explore that. I can only imagine what was going through his mind when he was forced to do something so dehumanizing... I wanted to explore Michael and Shayla's thought process and I hope I executed that well.
Also, I've researched heavily for this part. The majority of what I bounced off of the strip search part of this chapter is from "Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story." by J. Randy Taraborrelli. Some fans like that book and/or J. Randy. Others don't. I based that part of the chapter off of that, but I also made it my own, so it's still fiction.
Michael Jackson is innocent.
We finally landed in Santa Barbra and all there was left to do was to take that hour drive home. Last time we were there, the house was in order and untouched by law officials. Now, we're going back to a house that was once ransacked. Thankfully, housekeeping was able to clean up whatever mess was made, but it won't feel like home anymore just knowing that people were in there going through our things and putting their filthy hands on our belongings. It will never feel like home again after that for a while...
Just as Shayla and I were coming down the stairs, two black vehicles pulled up. Bill was already here with our vehicle, so I'm trying to figure out why someone else would be here right now. I pulled a pair of sunglasses out of my pocket and put them on, picking up my pace as the occupants of the vehicles parked and got out of the car.
"Mr. Jackson," one of them said just before I was able to open the car door.
"Yes...?" Shayla and I stopped in our tracks as the two men approached us.
"I'm detective Jeremy Statum with the Santa Barbra County Sheriff Department and this is detective Bruce with the LAPD. We're here to issue you this warrant. Refusal to comply is an indication of your guilt and will be used in court." I looked at the manila envelope he tried to hand me. I didn't want to take it, but if I refused to comply with whatever the warrant is asking of me, it will only make matters worse.
"What is this?" Bill snatched the manila envelope out of Jeremy's hand and opened it. My eyes widened in horror when he did that. I really did not want him to take that. I didn't want anyone to touch it! Once you've been served and you touch that envelope, it's over. "According to this order, officers are expected to examine, photograph and videotape Michael Jackson's entire body, including his penis, anus, hips, buttocks and any other part of his body. Michael Jackson should be notified, according to this order, that he has no right to refuse the examination and photographs. Any refusal to cooperate with this order will be admissible in a court and an indication of his guilt..." Bill stopped reading and all I could do was look down at the ground as I comprehended everything he had just read. My heart is racing, and a lump was caught in my throat. I have to do what? "What the fuck is this shit, man? Y'all want Michael to take pictures naked for what?" Bill begged to know.
"The child gave a description of Michael's body. He's seen Michael naked and we have to see if what the child says matches anything." Bruce finally said something.
"This is inhumane! You can't do that! He never saw my husband naked. Why would he lie like that? Why would anyone even say something as sick as that? Michael is a grown man! What y'all need to do is investigate Jordie's fucking father!" Shayla's fury sprang to life as she questioned the officers.
"Ma'am, the child said he saw Michael's penis and he said he had vitiligo, especially around that region. Now you tell me if that's correct or not." Jeremy challenged her. I didn't even have to look to know how upset that made my wife. It was true. I have vitiligo and it had affected every part of my body, but anyone could guess that.
"What my husband's body looks like is of no business to you or anyone else in this world. This is sick. You people can't do this. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that vitiligo affected that part of his body too, idiot!"
"When does this have to take place?" I finally looked up and in the eyes of Jeremy. Everyone got quiet and looked at me.
"You have ten days. Everyone will be at Neverland residence December twentieth."
My eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "Who is 'everyone?'"
"District attorney Tom Sneddon, a detective from the LAPD, a photographer..." As he continued, I just looked back down and nodded. I have to call my people to be there as well. I have so much anxiety right now. No one. Absolutely no one has seen my body except for whoever I have shared my body with, aside from doctors and whatnot. No one. And now these people feel like they have a right to just look, poke and prod at my body? As if this world doesn't get enough of me already, now they have to see my naked body?!
Anger quickly replaced the anxiety I was feeling. "These photos and whatever videotape you take better not get sold to anyone. I will sue everyone if I have to."
"Oh, these won't get out. They'll just be shown in court." Bruce said nonchalantly. Fuck.
"Anything past court and... and... You know what? We have to get home." I opened the car door and before Shayla got in, she had one more word.
"Have you gotten photos of Donald Trump? Matter of fact, you need to get photos of everyone in Hollywood! None of these motherfuckers are innocent, yet you have a man who would never do anything to hurt anybody and you want photos of him?!"
"Get in the car, Shayla."
"This is sick! It's preposterous. They're only picking on you because you're the most loved man all over the world. They want you to feel like them, sick and twisted. But you're not that and I refuse for these idiots to feel like they have a right to a black man's body like this! You all are-"
"Get in the car, Shayla!" I told her again, pushing her by the small of her back so that she could slide into the car. As soon as I got in, I slammed the door shut and waited for Bill to get us out of here.
"Why are you mad at me?! I'm defending you and you want to get mad at me, Michael? Seriously? They want photos of your black ass and I'm not allowed to get mad at this? This isn't right, Michael and you know it!"
"I know it's not right, but you're not making it any better by talking all that bullshit. It doesn't change a thing! They're going to get the photos they want of me and that's that. Say all you want about me being innocent. They won't think so until they get those photos. You don't have to take them. I do. If this is what it has to be in order for me to prove my innocence, then so be it. I don't want to do this, but I have to."
"I don't get why you're so mad at me when I'm defending you..." She continued to ramble on, but I just tuned her out. It's one thing to defend me. It's another to be belligerent about it. I'm sure those cops got a good kick out of seeing my wife embarrass me like that. In ten days, photos will be taken of my body... I swear, if these photos are sold anywhere, I'll sue the whole goddamn country if I have to. This is dehumanizing.
December 20, 1993
Everyone was downstairs waiting for me. We were supposed to take the photos forty-five minutes ago, but I could not get out of this room and let them see me just because they felt like it. Tom Sneddon, a photographer and a doctor for their side were all there, but I also had my own people: Johnnie Cochran, Howard Weitzman, my physician David Forecast, my own detective and photographer as well. I locked myself and Shayla in our room as Johnnie and Howard tried desperately to get me out so we could get it over with. It's easy for everyone else to say. They're not the ones with a warrant to take photos of their naked bodies, because a bitter father lied on them. Shayla continued to tell me everything was going to be okay and we'll get through this. Although she was still upset, it was the complete opposite of when we learned of the warrant in the first place. My wife understood my pain. She let me cry and cried with me. She held and kissed me. She let me shout, rant and rave. She was as supportive as she could possibly be in such a time like this.
"Michael, we have to get this over with. Once we're done, it'll prove your innocence and you won't have to do anything like this again." Johnnie said from the other side of the door as he continued to knock.
"You won't have to think about this ever again." Howard had the audacity to say.
"This is traumatizing, Howard! I'll always think of this. Are you kidding me?" I shouted. "He's so stupid. Why would he say that?"
"We're all under a lot of pressure, baby..." Shayla rubbed my back.
"No one is under as much pressure as I am right now. No one."
"I know. I'm just saying it's a stressful day for all of us... Seeing you like this is a lot for everyone right now. And you are so strong to even go through with this."
"If I hadn't, I'd be proven guilty and thrown in jail, Shayla. I had no choice."
She sighed. "When all this is over and you're proven innocent, we'll never have to see these people ever again. Ever. You hear me? You just go back to making music and-"
"Michael, we don't have a lot of time here!" Johnnie banged on the door. If he bangs on my door one more time...
"Come on. Let's get this over with. I'm tired of all these people in my house, yelling and carrying on like they pay the bills around here." She took my hand and helped me up. I tightened the robe around my body and followed her to the door.
"Shayla," I pulled back. She looked back at me. "I really don't want to do this."
"I know..." Her voice shook. As if she had to be strong for the both of us, she cleared her throat, turned back around and opened the door to Johnnie and Howard waiting.
"Finally!" They said in unison.
"Michael, let's get this over with so we can get these sonsabitches out your house," Johnnie said as we followed him upstairs to the conference room. I feel sick to my stomach. It took them an hour to get me out of my room and it could have taken them longer because this feeling I have right now is the worst feeling I've ever had in my life. It's a mixture of anger, disappointment, sadness, anxiousness and overall my heart is broken. I've been nothing but kind to this family and they've done nothing but throw me to the wolves and lie on me. I'm truly hurt because all I wanted to do was help a family in need. I did what I was taught growing up and learned through reading my Bible only to be ridiculed and spat on as if I was nothing. I used my works for good. I've donated to countless charities. I've helped families out of my own pockets, and this is the thanks I get?!
As soon as we entered the room, all eyes were on me. And while all eyes were on me, my eyes were on the platform they had in the middle of the room waiting for me to stand on like I was some sort of slave waiting to be auctioned. It reminds me of all the books I've read on slavery and what my ancestors had to go through in slave auctions. They would just take these people and inspect their naked bodies. The auctioneers didn't care how ashamed they felt. Men, women and children alike were all inspected for "defects" on their bodies. Just like those slave auctioneers, Tom Sneddon, the photographer and everyone else in this room that's not on my side, just want to feel in control. They want to feel like they're in charge. These photographers don't care how ashamed and embarrassed I feel. They just want to see a black man's body and inspect it to their liking or disliking.
I looked around the room and just like that, my anxiousness was gone as rage gripped me. "You, you and you, I want you all out! I don't want any of you here for this. Get out!" I shouted at Tom and my attorneys. "Get these people out of here!" The District Attorney's photographer began taking photos of me as he sat on the couch, causing me to cover my face. "Stop, before I have you put out too," I warned. He put his camera down and waited for further instruction.
"Mr. Jackson, if we could please have you stand on the platform," one of the detectives asked.
"Not until everyone else leaves. I only want the required people in here. It's bad enough you all are taking pictures of me. I don't need everyone watching me. Only the detectives, photographers, doctors, my wife, and Bill can stay. Everyone else can get the hell out of here." I didn't care how I was talking and who I was talking to at this point. No one understood the agony I was going through. Absolutely no one. But these good for nothing idiots sure did act as they did. Once we were left with the people I requested to stay, I finally went to stand on the platform. I've never been so anxious in my life.
"Could you please take off the robe, Mr. Jackson?"
My eyes began to water. "Please don't make me do this. This is so terrible. Don't make me. You don't understand how humiliating this is."
"Sir, we have no choice," said the other detective. I took a deep breath and turned my gaze to Shayla who's face mirrored mine, except for the fact that she was already crying in the midst of trying to appear so strong. I took off the robe and let it fall to my feet. "You'll have to take your swimming trunks off." The detective said. I felt like I couldn't breathe, but I took off the trunks anyway. Underneath was my pair of boxers, my last piece of clothing... "Sir, please... The quicker you do this, the quicker we're all out of here." As I slipped my boxers off, I couldn't hold back my tears any longer. I stared at my wife. The only person I trusted and loved. The longer I stared at her, the more I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I simply could not be here mentally to be humiliated. Looking at my wife gave me all the solace I needed.
"Is he circumcised?" Their doctor asked. The photographers, doctors, and detectives stepped closer to me to take a closer look at my penis.
"He is," said one detective.
"No, he's not," said a doctor.
"Yes, he is..." The other detective said.
"No, it doesn't look like he is." My doctor said.
"Oh my God." I groaned. My legs felt like they were about to give out on me. I literally felt like I was either going to faint or throw up. Or even worse, both. This is humiliating. These people are really arguing over whether I'm circumcised or not.
"You can't tell?" One of the detectives asked my doctor.
"I've never seen his penis before this moment." My doctor said.
"Well, he is clearly not circumcised," the other doctor decided and wrote down on his notepad. After deciding, everyone walked around me making notes about other areas of my body. What on earth did this little boy say for these people to want to look at me so closely? They wanted me to turn this way and that way. All I want to do is lay in bed and ignore the world. I feel so sick and I'm tired of being looked at as some criminal and freak show. I did nothing wrong. I never touched that boy and he never saw me naked!
"Mr. Jackson, could you please lift up your penis?" The District Attorney's doctor asked me.
I turned my gaze from Shayla to him. "What?"
"We need to see underneath your penis." He reiterated.
Rage seized me. "No." Everyone talked amongst themselves for a moment about my decision. "You know what? Here." I did as I was asked so they could take their pictures. "That's it. I've had enough. I want all of you out of here! You've had your fun. You got your pictures. Get the fuck out!" I got off the platform, put on my robe and exited the room. I could hear footsteps hurrying behind me.
"Michael, wait!" Johnnie called after me.
"No!" I stopped, shouting back at him. "They're in there taking pictures of me like I'm some sort of freak show. Asking me to do this and that. I'm sick of it! It's humiliating. I have never been so humiliated in my entire life, Johnnie! Do you hear me? This is sick! This lie has turned into the ugliest thing anyone could ever go through. I didn't touch that boy, Johnnie! I would never touch a child! I would never hurt anyone! Do you understand? How could I ever do something like that? That's not me!"
"Michael, I know. I know..." He tried to calm me down.
"No, you don't know! You're not the one being asked to lift your dick so they can take pictures of it. You don't fucking know! Stop acting like you do!" I sat on a bench and started to cry. How did my world get turned so upside down? I went from being the world's biggest star to being public enemy number one despite not doing anything wrong in under a year. How?!
"Michael, you have to finish this," Johnnie said. "It's almost over, okay? We're almost through. They get the pictures. It proves your innocence and we're done, okay? Everyone will be out of your hair."
"Pfft. That's easy for you to say." I wiped my tears, took a deep breath and made my way back to the room and stood on the platform. Shayla's face was now stone cold. She's as upset as I am, this I know for sure. They got more pictures and finally began to videotape. "Can we please stop now?" I pleaded. The district attorney's doctor pulled out a ruler.
"Oh no. Michael, get dressed. This is a joke." My doctor said. I quickly put my robe on and made my way to my bedroom.
"Get these people out of my house." I heard Shayla say as she followed me back to our room. I marched up to our second bedroom and shouted at the top of my lungs. You're such a nice person and people just fuck you over just because they feel like it! When people are miserable, they just feel the need to bring you down to their level in any way they possibly can. I hope Evan is happy. Was he jealous of me because I was actually being a father to his kid or something? He was jealous and selfish. Once he found out I was helping his son and ex-wife, he had to weasel his little snake ass in too. Fuck Evan and fuck June. They're the worst people I've ever met in my life. I literally feel sorry for Jordan and Lily to have to be raised by those sorry excuse of parents. What kind of sick and twisted person lies on a grown man because he can't take constructive criticism? What kind of sorry excuse for a woman lies on her son and makes up a whole scenario in her head that never even happened? Shayla was right. Bill was right. Roland was right. Everyone was right, but me. I just wanted to be kind. I just wanted to help, but I helped the wrong people. They're not getting a dime of my money. I don't give a fuck what they want from me.
"I hate LaToya," I told Shayla as Karen finished up the final touches of my makeup.
"Don't say that." Shayla tried to ease the tension I was feeling towards my sister. "I know what she said was wrong, but-"
"She called me a pedophile, Shayla. A pedophile. LaToya knows me! Why would she even let those disgusting words come out of her mouth?" I begged to know.
"She's still under Jack, Michael. Who knows what he's telling her?" She shrugged.
"I don't care who she's under. I don't want to hear from her again."
"One minute, Michael." A CNN cameraman told me as Karen fixed my hair a little bit. Two days ago, I went through one of the worst days of my life. Yesterday, LaToya was live on "Today" all the way from Tel Aviv not only lying on me but our mother, saying that Mom told her about checks I was writing to Jordie's parents. Lies. All lies. As if I wasn't upset enough, now my sister is all over the world spewing hatred and lying on our family again. And for what?! In the beginning, I gave her the benefit of the doubt, but to stoop so low so as to publicly proclaim that I'm a pedophile was the last straw for me. She's never once called me! Never once came by to visit. Nothing! But she has the audacity to lie on national television about me? Shoot, she's been lying about the entire family for years. As far as I'm concerned, LaToya is not my sister anymore. She can kiss her good graces with me goodbye.
Since the photos were taken and my sister is out here lying on me, I decided to put out a live statement from my home for the entire world to hear. They deserve to hear the truth from my own lips. They need to hear my experience and what they don't read about in the tabloids. The media has said that I was hiding, that I was guilty of these crimes and furthermore pushed their narrative by bringing my own sister into the mix. It's time I finally say something and proclaim my innocence while also telling them the horrors that I've been subjected to, based on a lie from a jealous father.
"You're live!" The cameraman mouthed.
I looked in the camera shifting my gaze from the lens to the teleprompter that scrolled through my statement. "I wish to convey my deepest gratitude for your love and support. My wife and I are doing well, and we are strong. As you may already know, after my tour ended, I remained out of the country undergoing treatment for dependency on pain medication. This medication was initially prescribed to cede excruciating pain that I was suffering after recent reconstructive surgery on my scalp. There have been many disgusting statements made recently concerning allegations of improper conduct on my part. These statements about me are totally false! As I have maintained from the very beginning, I am hoping for a speedy end to this horrifying, horrifying experience to which I have been subjected. I shall not in this statement respond to all of the false allegations being made against me since my lawyers have advised me that this is not the proper forum in which to do that. I will say that I am particularly upset by the handling of this mass matter by the incredible, terrible mass media. At every opportunity, the media has dissected and manipulated these allegations to reach their own conclusions. I ask all of you to wait and hear the truth before you label and condemn me. Don't treat me like a criminal, because I am innocent. I have been forced to submit to a dehumanizing and humiliating examination by the Santa Barbra County Sheriff Department and the Los Angeles Police Department earlier this week. They served a search warrant on me which allowed them to view and photograph my body, including my penis, my buttocks, my lower torso, thighs and any other area that they wanted. They were supposedly looking for any discoloration, spotting, blotches or other evidence of a skin color disorder called vitiligo, which I have previously spoken about. The warrant also directed me to cooperate in any examination of my body by their physician to determine the condition of my skin including whether I have vitiligo or any other skin disorder. The warrant further stated that I had no right to refuse the examination or photographs. And if I failed to cooperate with them, they would introduce that refusal at any trial as an indication of my guilt. It was the most humiliating ordeal of my life. One that no person should ever have to suffer. And even after experiencing the indignity of the search, the parties involved were still not satisfied and wanted to take even more pictures. It was a nightmare. A horrifying nightmare, but if this is what I have to endure to prove my innocence, my complete innocence, so be it." My voice shook, but I remained strong and held back my tears.
"My wife, Shayla-Elizabeth, has been by my side standing tall throughout this whole ordeal. This is not only deeply affecting me, but my wife as well who has been nothing but an amazing support system throughout this entire situation. Throughout my life, my wife and I have only tried to help thousands upon thousands of children to live happy lives. It brings tears to our eyes when we see any child who suffers. I am not guilty of these allegations. But if I am guilty of anything, it is of giving all that I have to have," I stuttered but corrected myself. "All that I have to give, to help children all over the world. It is of loving children of all ages and races. It is of gaining sheer joy from seeing children with their innocent and smiling faces. It is of enjoying through them, the childhood that I missed myself. If I am guilty of anything, it is of believing what God said about children: 'suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.' In no way do I think that I am God, but I do try to be godlike in my heart. I am totally innocent of any wrongdoing and I know these terrible allegations will all be proven false. Again, to my friends and fans, thank you very much for all of your support. Together, we will see this through 'til the very end. I love you very much. And may God bless you all. I love you. Goodbye." As soon as the cameraman mouthed "cut," I burst into tears. This has been the worst year of my life.