ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday broke a story about Michael Jackson that has received surprisingly little press. In a report about the pop star’s finances, as well as his relationship with financial advisors, an audiotape was played of a telephone message Jackson left for a former business associate:
JACKSON: They suck - they're like leeches. I'm so tired of it. They start out the most popular person in the world, make a lot of money, big house, cars, and everything, end up with, penniless. It is conspiracy. The Jews do it on purpose.
On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League officially demanded an apology from Jackson:
"It is important now for Mr. Jackson to stand up and acknowledge that his words are hurtful and hateful. He needs to show his fans that he rejects bigotry and is truly serious about stamping out, in his words, 'the ugliness of racism, anti- Semitism and stereotyping.' This can only begin with an apology to Jews everywhere, especially those fans who have been deeply hurt and offended by his words."
This segment was featured at 7AM ET on Tuesday, and the statement from the ADL was released at 11:34AM ET on Wednesday. This means that more than 72 hours have passed since this story broke, and 48 since the ADL statement. Yet, a Google news search of the phrase “Michael Jackson Jews” produced only 234 results. By contrast, a similar search of “Cindy Sheehan” yielded 3540 results.
I guess that tells us what the media’s priorities are.
What follows is a full transcript of this segment.
DIANE SAWYER: But first, we have heard so much, as we know, about Michael Jackson and the mysteries of his money, his relationships with his business partners. Well, we have executively this morning some phone messages left by the pop icon pleading with friends and business partners for money. And ABC's senior legal correspondent, Chris Cuomo, has taken a look at them to see what they tell us. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO: (Off Camera) Good morning, Diane. This is the latest legal wrinkle. ABC News has learned that a former advisor to Michael Jackson named Dieter Wiesner filed a civil complaint against Jackson yesterday in Los Angeles for $64 million.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Voice Over) Now, this is a typical breach of contract case, and there's another lawsuit already in progress by another former advisor.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Off Camera) But what is really of interest here are these voice mail messages. They provide a kind of audio snapshot into who Jackson really is.
MICHAEL JACKSON: Hello? Marc, it's Michael. Please, please, please never let me down. I really like you. I love you.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Voice Over) Michael Jackson as you've never heard him before, directing someone to get him what he needs.
MICHAEL JACKSON: Marc, I really need you to get $7 million for me as soon as possible. Seven, seven and a half as an advance.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Voice Over) And what he needs is money, including millions for what this man says is Jackson's over the top lifestyle.
F. MARC SCHAFFEL: (FORMER JACKSON BUSINESS ASSOCIATE) You go to a restaurant, you have to close the whole restaurant down for the day. You know, pay for the entire day's receipts in the restaurant so that he can go in and enjoy a quiet meal.
GRAPHICS: GMA EXCLUSIVE
GRAPHICS: MICHAEL JACKSON PHONE MESSAGES
CHRIS CUOMO: (Voice Over) This is Marc from the tapes, Marc Schaffel. He says for over two years, he was an advisor and close confidant for Jackson. According to Schaffel, Jackson's bankers placed restrictions on the big spender so he would use middle men like Schaffel to access his own money and arrange various loans.
HOWARD KING (ATTORNEY FOR MARC SCHAFFEL): He uses people like Marc Schaffel and now whoever he's currently using to get around the restrictions on his current financing.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Voice Over) And Schaffel says often the money had to be in cash and in very large amounts, sometimes requested in code.
MICHAEL JACKSON: You gotta get me some fries - it's big money overseas.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Voice Over) Schaffel says he once delivered $100,000 in an Arby's fast food bag. The joke was that Schaffel had brought Jackson some fries.
F. MARC SCHAFFEL: When he wanted large amounts, he would call and say, supersize them.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Off Camera) Millions of dollars, sometimes in an Arby's bag.
F. MARC SCHAFFEL: The smaller amounts. The bigger ones went in duffel bags.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Voice Over) And Schaffel provided more than money. In 2003, Jackson turned to his advisor to plan a response to the allegations that Jackson had had an improper relationship with a young cancer survivor. Later, Schaffel would be named an unindicted co-conspirator in the California criminal prosecution of Jackson. But now, Schaffel is suing his former pal for millions in a breach of contract case. Schaffel says he has hundreds of voice mail messages that he received from Jackson between 2001 and 2003 that showed the nature of his relationship. They also create a portrait of the many faces of Michael Jackson, sweet and strident.
MICHAEL JACKSON: I don't want no ifs, ands, or buts, do it now. Do it now, okay?
F. MARC SCHAFFEL: Michael will yell at you, Michael will punish you, maybe not let you do something.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Voice Over) And when he feels people are against him and his desires, King says Jackson becomes something very different from his sugary sweet self. King says Jackson left this message for a different former advisor, attacking various business associates.
MICHAEL JACKSON: They suck - they're like leaches. I'm so tired of it. They start out the most popular person in the world, make a lot of money, big house, cars, and everything, end up with, penniless. It is conspiracy. The Jews do it on purpose.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Voice Over) Schaffel's relationship ended just before Jackson's recent criminal woes. He says he's not surprised that since his acquittal, Jackson has relocated to the oil rich country of Bahrain, that it fits the pattern. Michael Jackson looking for a new friend and a new source of fries.
CHRIS CUOMO: (Off Camera) For the record, while ABC News was able to verify the phone messages Jackson left for Marc Schaffel, ABC News could not verify the call you heard to Wiesner in which he makes an anti-Semitic remark. Jackson's attorney, Tom Mesereau, told ABC News when the jury hears the evidence, they'll know Schaffel isn't owed anything. He says he couldn't comment on the Wiesner lawsuit until he had seen it, and he would not comment on the tapes. We should also note that Jackson has filed a countersuit claiming that he is the one owed money.
DIANE SAWYER: (Off Camera) A whole new level of layer upon layer of drama when the money (inaudible).