One of them has stopped talking, another has reportedly tried to slit her wrists. How the third is feeling has yet to be revealed, but he can’t be that happy.
The effect that any public scandal has on the children of those involved is often ignored but usually devastating.
In the case of Michael Jackson, who has gone from being an object of international showbusiness veneration to a despised paedophile whose legacy is being torn down, the fallout must have been particularly crushing.
Close: Jackson with (from left) Prince, Blanket and Paris. Could it be that members of the Jackson family are using the children to ramp up sympathy for the fallen star, discrediting the documentary and its headline-grabbing claims?
On Saturday, Paris Jackson — the star’s only daughter — was taken to hospital. Los Angeles police told news outlets they were called to her LA home at around 7.30 am following a suicide attempt.
According to showbusiness news website TMZ, she was placed on what is called ‘5150 hold’ — the California state code for the temporary psychiatric commitment of someone whose mental state indicates they pose a danger to themselves or others.
Citing members of the Jackson family as sources, TMZ claimed the 20-year-old model had attempted to slit her wrists largely because of the backlash to the new documentary Leaving Neverland, which provides testimony from two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say the superstar sexually abused them for much of their childhood.
Ms Jackson has previously spoken about her problems with depression, in particular following another attempted suicide in 2013.
Medical officials have said she is now in a stable state, although she sparked concern after taking to Twitter to rail at the media reports of her suicide attempt. ‘F*** you you f***ing liars’.
Paris has repeatedly referred to media ‘lies’ about accusations levelled at her father, but this was not enough to avoid the wrath of Jackson ‘Truthers’ — fanatical fans who will hear no ill word said against their icon, above
Her sudden hospital visit this weekend came shortly after she became embroiled in a heated social media exchange with zealous Michael Jackson fans who had criticised her for not doing more to defend her father’s reputation.
Paris has repeatedly referred to media ‘lies’ about accusations levelled at her father, but this was not enough to avoid the wrath of Jackson ‘Truthers’ — fanatical fans who will hear no ill word said against their icon.
They must have expected Jackson’s children — and most of all Paris, who was particularly close to him — to have leapt to his defence. But on Thursday, Paris insisted it was ‘not her role’ to champion her father, although she did praise her cousin, Taj (son of Jackson’s brother, Tito), for standing up for the singer.
‘There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said in regards to defence. Taj is doing a perfect job on his own,’ Paris tweeted.
Amid claims she is worried the new furore will kill off the aspiring actress’s plans for a film career, Paris last week told militant Jackson fans to ‘calm down’ and ‘smoke some weed’.
Citing members of the Jackson family as sources, TMZ claimed the 20-year-old model had attempted to slit her wrists largely because of the backlash to the new documentary Leaving Neverland
‘I’m just tryna get everyone to chill out and go with the flow, be mellow and think about the bigger picture. That’s me,’ she added. Two days later, she was rushed to hospital.
The reported reaction of her younger brother, Blanket, to the bombshell documentary has been equally dramatic.
According to Taj — now the singer’s cheerleader — 17-year-old Blanket Jackson (who nowadays calls himself ‘Bigi’) has retreated into an uncommunicative, shocked state since Leaving Neverland was released.
Taj Jackson told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show recently: ‘Bigi is one of the most talkative kids at school. He’s not talking now and people are worried about him because he’s sensitive just like his dad was.’
Asked about the impact of the allegations against Jackson on his children, Taj said: ‘It’s beyond devastating because . . . seeing what they’re going through, it really upsets me.’ Taj said each of the children was ‘handling it different’.
We have yet to hear what Jackson’s eldest child, aspiring film-maker Prince, 22, thinks.
But a source close to the family claimed last week that Prince and his siblings were considering suing Jackson’s accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, for fraud, emotional distress, slander and misrepresentation.
Jackson’s three children say they will give any damages to charity and primarily want the men to ‘accept’ responsibility and apologise, said the insider.
The source told the New York Post: ‘It’s very important to them they carry forward [Jackson’s] legacy of philanthropy and humility.’
Given both Paris Jackson’s insistence that it isn’t her job to defend her father and her brothers’ public silence, the claim that they’re preparing to take legal action seems dubious.
Similarly, Taj Jackson’s statement that the documentary turned Blanket into a virtual mute has been undermined by ex-British child actor Mark Lester, Blanket’s godfather.
Lester (who, complicating the picture, is believed by some to be Paris’s biological father after he gave the singer a sperm sample) said Blanket had been worryingly uncommunicative long before Leaving Neverland came out.
Could it be that members of the Jackson family are using the children to ramp up sympathy for the fallen star, discrediting the documentary and its headline-grabbing claims?
If so, it wouldn’t be the first time. Older members of the deeply dysfunctional Jackson clan were accused of cynically pushing the three children into the spotlight after the singer died of a drug overdose in 2009.
Medics attended Paris Jackson’s Hollywood home this morning on an attempted suicide call, LA police have confirmed – despite the star denying she had tried to take her own life. Pictures of Paris following her hospitalization carrying cigarettes later emerged
Then, Jackson’s public image already hung in the balance: would he be remembered as a drug-abusing weirdo with a huge question mark hanging over his relationships with young boys, or would he ascend into the showbusiness firmament as the King of Pop whose life was cruelly cut short by the pressures of fame?
Paris Jackson, then 11, helped sway opinion in his favour when — speaking publicly for the first time — she addressed his memorial service.
‘I just want to say ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine, and I just wanted to say I love him so much,’ she said before bursting into tears.
Black civil rights activist Al Sharpton received a standing ovation when he told the children: ‘There wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with.’
It’s not surprising the large family is anxious to protect the good name of Jackson given that, even in death, he remains their main breadwinner. Many Jackson family members live entirely off the earnings of the estate, which were $75 million in 2017.
The Prince’s Trust, the youth charity founded by Prince Charles, has ended a partnership with Thriller Live, a West End musical celebrating Jackson’s life
That estate is losing its value by the day as the wider world tries to disassociate itself from a man whose monstrous behaviour towards children as young as seven is difficult to deny after Leaving Neverland.
The Prince’s Trust, the youth charity founded by Prince Charles, has ended a partnership with Thriller Live, a West End musical celebrating Jackson’s life.
The Indianapolis Children’s Museum — just two hours’ drive from the Jackson family’s hometown of Gary, Indiana — has removed Jackson’s fedora and famous spangly glove from display.
A Jackson poster has also gone from the museum’s Power Of Children exhibition.
French fashion brand Louis Vuitton has removed Jackson-inspired clothing from its new collection. Makers of animated TV series The Simpsons have pulled an episode in which Jackson voiced his character.
The Jackson family estate is suing broadcaster HBO, which released the film with Channel 4, for an estimated £75 million for breach of contract.
The estate claims HBO agreed not to disparage the star in the future during a 1992 deal to air one of his concerts. HBO says the legal action reeks of ‘desperation’.
As the singer’s family face a future in which the ‘MJ’ connection will be anything but a golden ticket, they have every reason to feel their well-cushioned world must be caving in on them.