Friday 28 November 2014

Lawsuits and family rifts: So what's next for Jacko's daughter?

Paris Jackson's attempt to take her life appears to be a result of 'a lot going on' in it, says Will Pavia

GARY, IN - AUGUST 29: Paris Jackson attends a candlelight vigil at the childhood home of Michael Jackson on August 29, 2012 in Gary, Indiana. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Paris Jackson attends a candlelight vigil at the childhood home of Michael Jackson. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Paris Jackson Photo: Twitter
Michael Jackson (3rd R) poses with Mohamed Hadid (3rd L), Hadid's children and Jackson's children Michael Joseph Jr. (L), Paris Michael Katherine (C) and Prince Michael II (2nd R) on November 27, 2008 at the Jackson Holmby Hills residence in Westwood, California.
Janet Jackson, left, Paris Jackson, La Toya Jackson, on stage during a memorial service for Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Prince Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Prince Michael Jackson II and Paris Jackson attend the St. Paul Saints Vs. The Gary SouthShore RailCats baseball game at U.S. Steel Yard on August 30, 2012 in Gary, Indiana. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

'Being a sensitive 15-year-old is difficult, no matter who you are," a family lawyer said.

"It sounds more like a boy thing," an unnamed acquaintance suggested to a reporter from a New York tabloid. And according to her mother, she had "a lot going on".

These were the various reactions to the news that Paris Jackson had attempted to take her own life.

Everyone agreed it was not easy to be adolescent. Paris had exams to take, there was apparently some bullying at school and a disagreement at home about not being allowed to attend a Marilyn Manson concert.

"That conversation escalated quickly," she wrote on Twitter last week, and then: "I wonder why tears are salty."

But above and beyond the dramas and trials of a 15-year-old girl loomed a far larger drama: a colossal legal contretemps over who was to blame for the death of her father, Michael Jackson.

A lawsuit had been filed a year after his death on behalf of Paris, her brothers Prince Michael and "Blanket" and their grandmother Katherine, alleging that the entertainment company AEG was culpable in "the tragic wrongful death of the internationally beloved artist".

Now it has ground its way to court. Paris and Prince Michael had already given depositions, and they expected to be called and cross-examined on the grisly details of their father's last days. Armies of lawyers clashed each day, and the vast machinery of an American civil court dredged up both intimate insights and insults to their father's memory.

"We're going to show some ugly stuff," warned Marvin Putnam, a lawyer for AEG, in an opening statement in April.

As this dirty business began in earnest, new allegations that her father was a child molester were being aired in the press and raised, reportedly, by fellow pupils at her school. Then there is Paris's extended family: the uncles and aunts who contest the terms of her father's will and have seemed prepared to do anything to re-arrange matters to their satisfaction. Nearly a year has passed since they escorted her grandmother and legal guardian Katherine from the children's home in Los Angeles to Arizona, ostensibly so that the matriarch could obtain medical treatment "away from phones and computers".

Paris reported her grandmother missing, and Katherine's own lawyer contended that she was being "held against her will". Observers interpreted the bizarre manoeuvre as an attempt to gain guardianship of the children and wrest control of Michael Jackson's estate, which had become vastly more lucrative since his death.

So, as her mother Debbie Rowe said, Paris had "a lot going on".

When news that she had been rushed to hospital reached the Superior Court of the State of California last Wednesday, one member of the Jackson family legal team wept in the courtroom.

The civil case turns on the relatively limited question of whether AEG were responsible for hiring Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered the dose of sedatives to Michael Jackson in June of 2009. Murray, who has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, had signed a contract with AEG to serve as Jackson's physician as the pop star prepared for a comeback tour of 50 concerts. However, AEG, the tour promoter, had not counter-signed the contract and, though they had agreed to pay the doctor $150,000 (€113,000) a month, AEG say they were merely paying him an advance taken from Jackson's own expected earnings from the shows.

"You are 16 years old but you are so much older and wiser than your years," the programme's presenter Brooke Anderson said. Dressed in a suit but with his white shirt unbuttoned, he resembled a middle-aged stockbroker midway through a night on the tiles.

Anderson asked if he liked the film Oz the Great and Powerful. "Yes, I liked it a lot," he replied. "I thought it was very cinematic."

He said his ambition was to be a director, producer, screenwriter and actor. Despite these tentative steps towards success, the eldest of the children is still vastly outshone by Paris. Hers was the tribute everyone remembered from Michael Jackson's memorial service. "Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine," she said. "I just wanted to say I love him so much."

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Also in this Section

Promoted articles

Top Stories

Most Read

Independent Gallery

Your photos

Send us your weather photos promo

Celebrity News