Sunday, February 1, 2004
Los Angeles Saying the public should remember that Michael Jackson is presumed innocent until proven guilty, a friend of the Jackson family criticized a magazine article that portrayed the embattled singer negatively.
Firpo Carr said he had talked to Jackson's parents and some of his siblings and they were outraged by an article in Vanity Fair magazine.
The story, appearing this week, gives an overview of the current child-molestation charges against Jackson and similar allegations 10 years ago that were never prosecuted.
"We find it curious that this article appears when Michael's legal team cannot respond to this yellow journalism because of a gag order," Carr said Friday outside the Jackson family home.
The article did not contain a response from Jackson's family or legal team, although it noted the writer attempted to get their side. All parties involved in Jackson's legal case remain under a gag order and cannot speak publicly about it.
Carr said the story contains false statements and allegations that were not attributed.
Regarding claims in the story that Jackson has had drug problems, Carr said it was well-documented that after a 1984 accident while filming a commercial Jackson was given painkillers, became addicted to them and went into rehabilitation to get off the drug.
The magazine issued a brief statement affirming its story: "Vanity Fair stands by Maureen Orth's Michael Jackson story. The article underwent rigorous fact-checking and legal vetting, as do all Vanity Fair articles prior to publication."
Carr said he had known the Jackson family for about 10 years. He said he was not an agent of the family, and was speaking as a private citizen.
Jackson pleaded not guilty earlier this month to seven counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 and two counts of giving the child an "intoxicating agent."