The answer, of course, is Michael Jackson’s music. And his dancing. And his song-writing ability. He was, quite simply, a self-taught entertainment genius. His talent reached down deep inside us and made us feel good. We couldn’t help but tap our toes to the rhythm, to have his lyrics burned into our memories.
But Michael Jackson was obsessive about other things too—things that don’t make us feel so good. He was accused of one of the most insidious crimes imaginable: the sexual abuse of a child; not just once, but twice. And from my years of reporting on the case, I can tell you there were other young boys with eerily similar stories of abuse by Jackson, sons of parents too reticent, too embarrassed, or scared to press charges.
In public, Jackson flaunted his fascination with male children. Even after his narrow escape from prosecution in 1993, for which he paid out about 30 million dollars to avoid a trial, he flamboyantly continued to pose with and travel with unidentified young boys. He openly declared there was “nothing wrong” with a 40-year-old man sleeping with another’s boy. He called us “ignorant” for not understanding. Jackson seemed to be daring us to stop him. No one could.