Nolte: There’s Nothing Wrong with a Michael Jackson Biopic

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 10: Michael Jackson performs on stage during is "HIS
Phil Walter/Getty Images

After it was announced that Antoine Fuqua will direct an upcoming biopic of Michael Jackson starring Jackson’s nephew Jaafar Jackson, all the usual suspects had a predictable tantrum.

People seem to forget that one of the great things about living in America is that we know where to draw the line, and where we draw the line is here: innocent until proven guilty.

I like that line. I like that line a whole lot. That line makes sense to me. It’s a big, red, thick straight line that nobody can miss — unless they choose to. The best part of that line is the lack of nuance. It means exactly what it says… Until the state proves you are guilty, you are innocent, and can therefore move about the cabin until the captain turns the seatbelt sign on.

Want to know what else I really like about that big, red, thick, straight line? It saves me from the emotional exhaustion of having to play Solomon. Someone else does the judging for me, which, in turn, gives me the freedom to move about the cabin until the captain turns the seatbelt sign on.

Using the endless resources and power of the State, the State spent years looking to prove that Michael Jackson was a child molester and rapist. The State failed. Therefore, Michael Jackson is innocent, and that’s all there is to it. That’s how it works. That’s how it should work. That doesn’t mean you are not entitled to your own opinion. I certainly have an opinion. But opinions don’t matter. What matters is that Jackson was found not guilty, and that’s that.

You might say, Yeah, but he paid out millions to his alleged victims.

To that I will say, Other than getting mixed up with drugs, that was by far the stupidest thing he ever did. Had I been advising him; I would have told him that. Nevertheless, the payoffs do not prove his guilt and until guilt is proven, he is innocent. Therefore, regardless of anyone’s personal opinion, no one should be looking to have this movie blacklisted.

Dan Reed is looking to have the movie blacklisted. Reed directed Leaving Neverland, a very flawed documentary detailing Jackson’s alleged abuse of two boys, and wrote in the Guardian that he’s angry because, “No one is talking about ‘cancelling’ this movie, which will glorify a man who raped children.”

He continues:

What the total absence of outrage accompanying the announcement of this movie tells us is that Jackson’s seduction is still a living force, operating from beyond the grave. It seems that the press, his fans and the vast older demographic who grew up loving Jackson are willing to set aside his unhealthy relationship with children and just go along with the music.

To them I say this: even if you do not believe a word of what his many accusers have said; even if you are not concerned by the police investigations and the massive payouts to halt legal proceedings, how do you explain the completely uncontested fact that for years Jackson spent innumerable nights alone in bed with young boys? What was he doing with them, alone in his Neverland bedroom, with alarm bells in the corridor? That cannot be acceptable by any measure.

Easy answer. Jackson admitted to that, admitted it was wrong, it is part of his legacy, an ugly part, and an honest biopic will depict that. The biopic should also include the boys, like child star Macaulay Culkin, who said they spent considerable time with Jackson and nothing happened.

Is this the culture we want to live in…? One where allegations deep-six a human being, his accomplishments, and his art? This is especially ridiculous after the person in question is dead. What are we supposed to do, memory-hole him? Erase him from the history books? What does that mean? Where does this lead? No more movies about Josef Stalin, even though erasing history does, in a very sick way, honor Stalin’s legacy?

Even if Jackson had been found guilty, what would be wrong with a movie about his life? When did we start shying away from telling stories about bad people?

We’re becoming a culture of censors and babies, of people who are too quick to judge because they either want to feel virtuous by going along with the crowd or because they are too lazy to look at the facts (see: Allen, Woody). No one wants to be challenged, provoked, made uncomfortable, or have their assumptions questioned anymore. We’ve raised a generation of Eloi 800,000 years before H.G. Welles predicted. Heaven help us if this generation of Eloi ever face a world war or Great Depression. If they can’t handle a Michael Jackson biopic or being misgendered… What a bunch of babies.


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