Michael knew if he was going to persuade all of the networks not to air the version of the documentary he was shown, he could not waste time. And he couldn't do it alone. So what he did was have his assistant issue a statement made by him, which read: "I would never harm a child. I would rather slit my wrists first. It sickens me that there is such trash written about me. As a result of these inaccuracies, I cannot allow this documentary to be released as yet. But I will need the help of you fans to stop it. Remember, there's nothing that can't be done if we raise our voice as one. I love you, and God bless." - Michael Jackson. When his fans read this, they thought what a rat Bashir was. They were furious about this. They could only imagine all the humiliation Michael would be put through if this documentary made it on the air. And they especially applauded him for taking action. Otherwise they would have had to start a campaign to boycott it. Well, they would be starting a campaign all right, but it wouldn't be a boycott. What they decided to do was write letters to the producers and numerous television stations in order to persuade them not to air the documentary Martin created, but to wait for the unedited one. They figured if the stations were flooded with enough e-mails, they would have no choice but to reconsider. Of course, they also remembered to be polite in their e-mails, no matter how angry they were feeling. Nikki and Kerri thought this was the perfect plan, and knew it was in their best interest to not show their anger in their messages, otherwise they would not be taken seriously. The two girls had reminded their friends on MySpace and at school that were fans to be sure their e-mails were polite as well. It was hard for some of them, since their friends were very brash and impulsive at times, but they tried their best. As for dealing with Bashir, Michael decided he would deal with the injustice after the airing of the revamped biography. That way, he would be able to provide proof that the journalist was out to ruin him with his slanderous portrait of him. He also knew it would take time to find a decent civil case lawyer, file the complaint and prepare his defense. So there would be lots of things to worry about later.
Michael's parents and his brother Jermaine saw the documentary. Michael had lent it to them that weekend and to put it mildly, they were very upset about it. They were mostly upset about the segment that showed Michael's relationship with children, and were dissatisfied with the scene where he talked about the strict discipline. The latter part would be easily misconstrued, if it were not already. They couldn't believe Bashir betrayed Michael this way. They were fed up with their name being sullied, so they were glad when Michael told them he would be seeking legal action against Bashir for what he did. Just as the two adopted daughters expected, they said that they would support Michael all the way. From the moment he was in their lives and they met the rest of his family, it didn't take them very long to realize how supportive, loving and close they were...even though they were no longer able to spend as much time together as they used to, due to the fact that they were all busy with their families and work.
It especially didn't surprise Nikki that Joe was supportive of Michael's decision. She knew he only wanted what was best for him, even though she didn't always understand his way of showing love. She could remember the time she and her elder sister were introduced to the remainder of the Jackson family for the first time-their other adopted family members. The recollection was so clear, as if it had happened just yesterday. For the most part, it was such a wonderful experience. Considering what she and her sister knew about Mr. Jackson, they had to admit, they were nervous wrecks when meeting him. Even Nikki, who usually knew how to keep her cool, wasn't sure what to expect. That's how intimidating she found him to be. Their reserved nature reared its head on that occasion. They had let Michael do most of the talking and only spoke when they were spoken to. From that moment on, they dealt with Joe's company by showing their reserved, proper side, just to avoid trouble.
The weekend hadn't gotten much better after watching the dreadful, traitorous documentary. The following day, the Arviso's had returned to the ranch. They were the last set of people the two young women wanted to see. There had been one occasion they were there during one of the Arviso family visits and the cancer survivor's younger brother had damaged Kerri's electric guitar when he was in his hyper mode. Michael had gone to visit his mom in Encino that day in order to get away from the Arviso's. Nikki and Kerri had decided to stay back to get some college work done, and volunteered to watch their younger adopted siblings as soon as they were done. Kerri had found out about her guitar from the housekeeper, who caught them in her room. She was so angry that she wanted to murder Star. Surprisingly, she had managed to keep her cool, but only by a thread. That wasn't the worst of it, either. She remembered when the 12 year old boy ruined the singer's leather guestbook where his guests left thank you notes, as well as some other items that were in the guest room they stayed in. And he and his siblings had threatened and sassed the staff members. It was such a nightmare. The girls knew that Michael's patience was wearing very thin and that's why he was distancing himself from them. Quite frankly, they didn't blame him one bit. And they were sure it wouldn't be long before the Arviso's would be out of his life forever. And she and her sister's lives, too, for they had lost respect for them for quite some time.
Surprisingly, though, the family was pleasant when they were there. Michael had showed them the documentary. Even they were angry about the segment about the group of kids' visit to Neverland. Gavin was glad that Michael was trying to prevent it from making on the air. He could only imagine the ridicule he would endure from his classmates. It disgusted him that Martin was making a mountain out of a molehill when Michael had done nothing but be kind to him and his family. He only wished he could have spent more time with the superstar. Mrs. Arviso was so angry that she thought of seeking legal action against Bashir herself. He never even asked her permission to include her son in the special. With everyone upset about the documentary, the family forgot about causing any kind of trouble, as they had been doing lately. Nikki had to admit, they were not so bad during times like that. But it still didn't change the fact that she thought they were the worst guests ever.
Nikki and Kerri had decided to return to the ranch after classes that day. They didn't feel like going home to an empty house and they didn't want Michael to be alone during this time of possible crisis. And to tell the truth, they didn't like seeing him only on weekends.
Kerri was playing "this little piggy went to market" with Blanket, and Nikki was braiding Paris' hair into pigtails. Prince was reading Peter Pan with his daddy. It was such a happy moment, compared to what happened over the weekend. It made them even happier that the Arviso's had left the previous day.
All of a sudden, Michael's assistant came into the den holding some mail and a bouquet of white roses. "This is for you, Mr. Jackson," he said.
Michael looked up from where he was reading with Prince. White roses. One of his favorite types of flowers. He wondered who they could be from, and how this person could possibly know he liked white roses. "All right, thank you." He took the roses and the letter from his assistant.
"The pleasure is mine. I'll be in the office if you need me."
"I'll be back, Prince. Save the page where we are."
"You got it, daddy."
The pop star excused himself from the den. He didn't know what was in the letter, but he wanted privacy just in case it was something intimate or something that Prince wouldn't understand. The handwriting on the envelope was unfamiliar. He couldn't place it at all. Curious to know who it was from, he ripped open the envelope and proceeded to read the letter. It said:
Hello! How are you? I am a huge fan of yours. I have been since the days you performed in the Jackson 5. I admire you very much...both as an entertainer and a person. I saw the statement you made on your website. I am so sorry you are going through that. I want you to know that no matter what the press says about you, I have your back. Good for you for putting a stop to this. I get some of my strength from you. Have struggled with bouts of anorexia and bulimia for over a decade. I've recovered from it eight years ago. However, there are still times I relapse.
About the flowers I sent along with this letter...I sent those as a token of my love for you. To tell you the truth, I have had a crush on you since I was 13. You are such a beautiful person, inside and out. I have had to control my feelings for you for years. I am sorry your previous marriages did not work out. This may sound selfish, but I am glad you are available. Perhaps I would have a chance with you. If you want to take your time, that's fine. I am willing to wait. I live in Spain, but I will be moving to California in about two weeks. A spa there has offered me a job as a masseuse. I will come to California for an interview this weekend. I hope I cross paths with you.
Take care, my giving tree.
Hugs and kisses from Spain,
P. S. I will send you a photo of me in the next letter. My most recent pictures are not good at all. I was ugly duckling in those pictures.
The letter took Michael by surprise. He had never read a more heartfelt, beautiful letter before. Of course, all of the letters he received from his fans were genuine, but not like this one. He always liked to hear about fans who were inspired by his music, dance and humanitarian efforts. What shocked him to the core was Mariann's confession of her love for him. Sure, there were always fan girls and women screaming about how they were in love with him, but this woman was different. Her tone was more reserved, more candid. He wasn't sure whether to return her feelings or not. About her request to get to know him, he could definitely comply with that. She was correct when she said that he probably wanted to wait, and was glad she understood. He appreciated her comment about him being beautiful inside as well as outside, but he wasn't sure if he believed the outside part. To this day he was still ashamed of his looks. Although the acne problems faded away, he still had to manage two autoimmune disorders, both of which he was ashamed of. But if she said so, it would not be his place to argue. He was saddened by the fact that she suffered from those eating disorders. He was never the biggest eater, but he was still sensitive to another person's suffering. And he didn't know how she looked since she didn't send the picture yet, but he didn't like her being so down on herself. The letter showed that she had a very beautiful heart, and that was good enough for him.
Knowing that Prince was probably waiting, Michael put up his little "gift" and went back to the den. By then, Kerri was showing Blanket a picture book and Nikki was done braiding Paris' hair. She held up the mirror for Paris to see. She was proud of her handiwork and it was icing on the cake knowing that Paris usually liked it, too. "Do you like it this way?"
Paris nodded. "Thank you for fixing my hair. I love you so much. "
"Awwww. I love you more." She gave Paris a squeeze. The four year old was so huggable.
The public scrutiny Michael had been under in the recent months had become relentless than ever. The news about his statement leaked into the press. The tabloids were also making more jokes about his personal life. FOX news was reporting Michael's displeasure about the biography.
"We have breaking news about Michael Jackson. There are some new bombshells regarding the Living with Michael Jackson documentary that is to be debuted this Friday, including a statement on Jackson's website from Jackson himself. Could this mean a possible delay in the airing in the biography? Is the King of Pop fighting back? "
"Well, it certainly seems that way," a woman in her late thirties on Glenn Beck's panel replied. "Take a look at the statement he wrote on his website today." The message what was posted on Michael's official website appeared on the Teleprompter, as well as a picture of him next to the message. "I was kind enough to open up to Martin Bashir, and he has betrayed me by twisting and editing what I said. I would never harm a child. I would rather slit my wrists first. It sickens me that there is such trash written about me. As a result of these inaccuracies, I cannot allow this documentary to be released as yet. But I will need the help of you fans to stop it. Remember, there's nothing that can't be done if we raise our voice as one. I love you, and God bless." - Michael Jackson. She thought about this for a moment. "Now, we haven't seen the documentary as of yet, so it is a little farfetched. It is not impossible, but under the circumstances I cannot say whether I agree or disagree. However, I will say this: if he does not want it broadcasted, maybe there is something. "
Glenn Beck asked Diane Dimond what she thought. Her response was not nearly as open-minded. "I think he is acting like a petulant child as usual. Chances are that this journalist has done nothing but expose the truth and call him out on his eccentricities. His failure to take responsibility for his actions will be his downfall. "
"It seems that we will have to find out Martin's side of the story. It will be interesting to see if Jackson's plan works. Thank you for your comments."
The news about Michael's displeasure had eventually reached Martin Bashir. He was rather callous about it, because he didn't think he was doing anything wrong. That was his mentality when he was asked to appear on 20/20 for an interview with Barbara Walters. He wasn't nervous for it at all. He was more than ready to tell his side of the story.
"So tell me, how do you feel about Jackson's statement that is accusing you of distorting his image and being unfair to him?" Barbara asked Martin.
"It does not surprise me at all. He is very childish. He has proven that in the documentary when I confronted him about certain things. He simply does not want to be held accountable for his poor decisions."
This sounded interesting to Barbara. She felt some of the decisions Michael made were questionable, so she wasn't surprised to hear about this. "Which poor decision did you confront him about?"
"Regarding the Neverland sleepovers. I was astonished that he was still having them even after the '93 allegations. "
Barbara nodded in agreement. "Of course. If he loves children as much as he claims to, he should have better judgment."
Martin agreed with that. "I feel that Neverland is a dangerous place for children. I am not saying that I've witnessed any wrongdoing with the children...it was the opposite. I'm only saying that disadvantaged children should not be at the home of a billionaire superstar where they sleep in his bed." He showed Barbara a clip of the segment where Michael was seen with busloads of children, going on rides and getting ice cream to eat, as well as the scene with Michael and the Arviso children. The shot of Michael having fun with the children seemed innocent enough to her, but she couldn't help but frown at the scene where Gavin was seen resting his head on Michael's right shoulder. She understood where Bashir was coming from and how Michael behavior could be considered bizarre, to say the least. "So, how did Michael respond to your confrontation?" she asked.
"He was extremely testy, and at one point he wept because of the questions I asked him."
"I see. Well, he is a very sensitive individual." The seventy-three year old journalist thought back to the time when she interviewed Michael over five years prior. During that interview, he voiced how much he despised the pejorative nickname Wacko Jacko and how much it hurt him. He had also talked about his firstborn, Prince. She believed he should understand he was expecting to be treated in a way that she didn't think was the press' job to do. "What is your impression of his method in raising his children?"
Martin felt like mentioning that there were certain times he found Michael's behavior towards his kids and adopted daughters alarming. But to avoid even more potential trouble, he simply said, "They are over protected and restricted. I was angry at the way his children were made to suffer." He was referring to the way Prince and Paris had to wear mask when they went out in public, and how even Kerri and Nikki had to wear them for awhile. He was also referring to Michael's decision to have his children homeschooled, and the fact that Kerri and Nikki did not go to regular school until they were 14 and 15 years of age.
Barbara always found it rather odd that Michael had his children wear masks or veils in public. She hoped that they would be able to live normal lives in public when they got older. However, she did give him credit for eventually giving his two adult children enough freedom so they could be like the average people their age. And secretly, she understood why Michael would not approve of the documentary. She didn't mention that to Bashir, though. "Well, thank you for your time. It will be interesting to see how this new improved documentary will turn out. "
"Thank you for inviting me. It was an honor."