Jacko Chaos: Has Nation of Islam Taken Over?
Michael Jackson is panicked about his legal situation. In fact, he is so anxiety-ridden that he is now taking advice from a leader of the Nation of Islam rather than listening to his managers.
All of this comes on the eve of an event at Neverland Ranch on Saturday for 200 invited family members and friends. I told you about this event a couple of weeks ago. There will be a lot of filming that day of testimonials in an effort to rally support behind Jackson.
But first, the world waits for the Santa Barbara County district attorney, Tom Sneddon, to file formal child molestation charges against Jackson. Those charges will be filed Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
In the meantime, sources portray the situation with Jackson's inner circle as chaotic, with brother Jermaine Jackson — sensing a chance to win favor with his famous, wealthy brother — bringing Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam into the mix. Jermaine became a Muslim in 1989 after a visit to Saudi Arabia, and his children converted to the faith as well.
My sources tell me that last week, the day before Jackson's controversial manager Dieter Wiesner left for a trip to Germany, Jermaine introduced Nation of Islam leader Leonard F. Muhammad — Farrakhan's chief of staff — into the group as a "bodyguard."
After Wiesner departed, Muhammad and Jermaine began making the case to Michael that he was a victim of racism and that only the Nation of Islam could save him.
Since Wiesner's return from Germany, massive infighting has taken place as the opposing sides vie for Jackson's attention.
Meanwhile, the event this Saturday seems to be in the hands of none other than Jackson's father, Joseph, who has turned it into a family reunion.
"Michael has issues with his father, but he can't say no to him," said my source. "And right now, he's so panicked about what's happening, he's listening to his father and to Jermaine."
Both Joseph and Jermaine have declared bankruptcy in recent years and depend greatly on the largesse of Michael and his sister Janet.
Contrary to conventional thought, the Jackson 5 were not big money-makers in their days as recording artists. Because they didn't write their own songs and because royalties are not paid to performers, during their time at Motown the Jacksons mostly earned money by touring.
It wasn't until they moved to Columbia Records in the late 1970s that that changed. Their last big money-making tour, known as the Victory tour, took place nearly 20 years ago.
Whether Wiesner and his partner, Ronald Konitzer, can break the new stranglehold on Jackson by Muhammad remains "fluid," my source said.
"Jermaine and his father needed some kind of leverage with Michael to make sure their cash cow didn't disappear. So they're not going to let go without a fight."
This change among Jackson's confidants has so far not affected his legal team, however. I am told that his attorney Mark Geragos is meeting with Sneddon this afternoon in anticipation of the media frenzy which will no doubt occur upon the filing of charges.
Calls to Geragos and to the Nation of Islam were not returned.
A sheep with a gun, is still a sheep.