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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 16:55 GMT
Michael Jackson film: US users' views
Michael Jackson
The public are fascinated by the singer's personal life
Reporter Martin Bashir spent eight months filming reclusive pop star Michael Jackson, resulting in the documentary, Living with Michael Jackson.

The singer has said he feels "utterly betrayed" by the programme, and also stated that it was "a salacious ratings chaser".

But what did US viewers think?

Did it change your opinion of the musician? Was anything new revealed?

This discussion is now closed but you can read what people thought below.


I'm sick to death of defending Michael Jackson; people shouldn't have to. It's no secret he never had much of a childhood to speak of, particularly at the hands of his parents. He's an insanely talented man, trapped in the naivety of a boy. Perhaps he's not the only naive one, as the interview seems to reveal. Even more discouraging were the headlines the next day in the press -- "Michael admits sleeping with boys". Sensationalism at its best. And people wonder why Michael Jackson is a bit odd.
Brian, USA

I still love Michael Jackson. He is a very talented soul. I think his love for children is 100% innocent. I think he needs a little help to deal with his horrible past. But I do not think he would harm a child anyway. He is a very kind-hearted, caring man for all the people of this world, and I do hope he does heal the world.

The interview was very good. It was insightful on his day to day life and getting up close and personal with the king of pop. I hope this doesn't ruin his legendary career. I think the media can be very cruel and disrespectful. He
Amy Reed, USA

I feel that Mr Jackson needs special medical help and his kids need special medical attention to handle what has possibly gone on. I also think only a specialist could ask the right questions of the children to know the truth. If the children have been harmed, we need to act quickly for their sakes
Verrie Pearce, USA

I stayed up late to make sure that I watched this programme. My heart went out to his children. They have no mother & yes his children need their mom. He has them dress in mask, veils, etc. The only part that worried me was the effect that this could have on their little minds later on in life. I feel sorry for Jackson & I was glad to see what a HUMAN he is. But, I think after years of mental, physcial abuse of his father it has taken a toll on him as a man now. And under no circumstance should he think that it is OK for his children to hide who they are behind mask. If anything he should be proud of them & want to show them off to the world. They look as if they are beautiful, healthy children & should not be brought up like that. After seeing this he is in my prayers.
Carrie Blair, USA

I think the interview was fine, when Michael Jackson agreed to it he said it was to be a full insight and that's what we got. However. the post interview mania has gone a little far and although his thoughts on sharing a room with children is naive I now don't think he has committed any crime. I don't think that the fact that his children's mother is not in their life is in any way strange but I do think that having a mask on them all the time is.
R Wood, USA

Bashir's interview was aired in the USA last night. I was so saddened by the cheap tactics he used to try and goad out of Jackson admissions of wrong doing or inappropriate behaviour. It was clear that Michale was set-up and portrayed in a negative light by the manipluation of voice dubs. The interview was baised with Bashir looking for the smoking gun. I must admit as an ex-Brit I am disappointed by the stoop so low of Granada TV in making this documentary. Please refrain from sending any further programmes like this if you chose to drag the gutter. Such a contrast after the Diana programme. Bashir cannot be trusted to deliver honest and truthful programs. Granada should dump him - seriously!
Dave V, New York, USA

Michael Jackson is a perfect example of how fragile human beings are. Without the self worth that comes from a knowledge of God, he tortures himself both mentally and physically. People expect that because he is a "super star", that he is somehow immune to the throes of every day life. On the contrary, he is much, much more vulnerable to the problems of the common man. Great amounts of money does not solve problems, it creates them.

Poor Michael is really much more like the rest of us than anyone wants to admit. He has "...changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever....For this cause God gave (him) up unto vile affections..."

People who are appalled by Michael Jackson should take a good long look at the Man in the Mirror.
Christopher Sortman, USA

I think he was betrayed, he humbly allowed these people in his home and now he is accused of all-sorts. I saw a man that had a bad childhood that has effected him but not the way it has been projected to the public. Michael Jackson is the KING OF POP, he loves entertaining and loves childern because he knows how innocent their views are, these views make him happy, what's wrong with that? He's dedicated his life to children's happiness, something he didn't have although he had more than enough money to buy almost anything he wants. He needs to be left alone and to enjoy the rest of his life before he becomes a dieing legend!
Sonney, UK

The way I see it Michael is an innocent man. He loves kids so dearly he wouldn't hurt them. Actually I am ashamed of Martin Bashir's line of questions. He keeps asking the same dumb question. We all should live by what is right not by what people think about us or our behaviour. I don't see any problem with Michael's sleeping with children. He has some childhood problems and that's why he is acting like this and it is understandable. Shame on Martin Bashir.
Bisrat Woldeyohannes, USA

Quoting from CNN.com: "In California's Santa Barbara County, where Jackson's Neverland ranch is located, District Attorney Thomas W. Sneddon, Jr., condemned the "media circus" around the documentary and called Jackson's admission that he has slept in the same bed as children "much ado about nothing."

"Sleeping in bed with a kid is not a crime that I know of," Sneddon told the Santa Barbara News-Press."

Sleeping in bed with a kid might not be a crime, but dangling one off a balcony and trying to feed one through a veil, not to mention grabbing the child immediately upon birth and running off with it, surely must be criminal acts.
Donna Holder, USA

I think your reporter was fair and open with Michael Jackson throughout the interview. Michael Jackson didn't have to do this interview and he didn't have to answer the questions, but he did. It was his decision to open up and his decision to put his life, values, morals, and behaviour in the spotlight. I'm disappointed that I spent my time watching Michael Jackson (no offence to the network) because I think he is an odd character with values I wouldn't have around my children.

If he has so much money to spend on unnecessary items and mothers to give him children, than he has enough money to put himself into therapy and get off of this self pity trip or change children's lives through unlimited donations since he "loves them so much". I feel sorry for the kids he's attempting to raise and don't feel sorry for the mother of their kids since it seems they chose to not be mothers but to "turn their kids over" to somebody such as the so-called father.

I have sympathy for people who deserve it, but I don't feel the need to empathise with Michael Jackson. If he doesn't know the difference between right and wrong than he's no different than people in prisons or institutions. Again, I thought your reporter was more than fair and did a great job...the subject of the interview I think needs to grow up and accept responsibility!
Erika Milligan, USA

Martin Bashir is disgusting. He kept twisting every situation into something "disturbing". MJ seems like a nice guy who has a genuine love and concern for children. The world could learn a lot from him. Love a little more...Climb a tree...
Choosegreen, USA

I think Michael Jackson the person is just another eccentric celebrity. Very strange, but above all harmless. I don't think he would ever harm the children who stay with him, from what I can see he thinks himself as a child still. Nor do I think he was betrayed by the interview, on the contrary I thought it was a very honest, very respectful portrait of his life.
Chris, Deltona, FL USA (UK ex-pat)

Well, I was not sure what to think to be quite honest. I have to admit his face has taken quite a transformation over the years. It kind of freaked me out. But that's his perogative. One of the main things that stuck in my mind was the way that he was feeding that baby. He kept shaking his leg up and down and I thought that the poor child might aspirate the formula. I was also surprised that the kids kept those masks on. I have a five-year-old and though she might think it was fun to wear a colorful mask for dress-up play, I don't think I would have much luck keeping it on her.

As far as the sleeping together with other people's children are concerned, I think that as a parent I personally wouldn't allow my child to have a sleepover party with a 44-year-old man or woman. If it was a slumber party with other kids that's one thing, but he's not a child. The other thing is, Michael Jackson isn't hanging out with these childrens parents and befriending them necessarily! He's making friends with and hanging out with their children. I think it's a bit odd to say the least.

The question is, is it criminal? If it isn't directly physically sexual then how do we know that it isn't psychologically arousing to him in some sense. I hate to say these things especially if it is truly innocent but I can't help but to wonder.
Isabelle, USA

I found the trend of questioning - some leading, some presumptious - utterly disgusting. Bashir's style of journalism can be described simply: CHEAP! He has immensely undermined the trust of the public. Honestly, he should search for a different profession. Good journalists provide facts and good analysis to help readers make their own judgements. A journalist who delves in insinuations, false premises, and entrapment is a shame to the whole profession.
Michael Asante, USA

Except for the infamous baby-dangling scene, everything we saw on screen was pretty innocuous. And the documentary included absolutely nothing that we had not heard before. It was the dark innuendo of the interviewer that gave the show its peculiarly salacious hue. Poor Michael-- even climbing trees was made to look like a crime. As Robert Frost put it, "one could do worse than be a swinger of birches."
JD, USA

I think Martin Bashir's career as an interviewer is over - shame on him. MJ is a childish immature man, but no harm to children - he obviously loves them in a very innocent way. The positive thing that came out of the interview, I believe, is that people can truly see how naive he is, and begin to understand his innocence when it comes to him sleeping with children. He is a child himself - having a kind of sleepover. He would not be holding Gavin's hand on film, or revealing who he'd let sleep in his bed if he had anything to hide. I hope he survives this. He has brought so much happiness to so many children and it seems he is being punished for it. Good luck to him.
Cyan, USA

See also:

07 Feb 03 | Entertainment
04 Feb 03 | Entertainment
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21 Nov 02 | Entertainment
20 Nov 02 | Entertainment
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