Film Review: Danny Wu Goes Back to Square One with a Crucial Michael Jackson Allegations Documentary

“Square One” is the Michael Jackson documentary we need now.

It has been a tough year for the worldwide Michael Jackson fan community in the wake of “Leaving Neverland”. With celebrities like Oprah Winfrey hopping onto Dan Reed’s bandwagon, and almost all mainstream media purposely stifling any voice in protest of the film, or even any voice of reason, many fans have been left feeling hopeless. A select few podcasters, YouTubers, and media personalities have created great content countering “Leaving Neverland” but, as of yet, nothing has truly managed to get mainstream, lasting attention. And while the fan community awaits Taj Jackson’s docuseries (you can donate here), that project is still a long ways off.

But the tide may be changing. Just this month, three documentaries have been released in support of Michael Jackson (all of which The MJCast team discuss in #TheMJCastEp108): “Chase the Truth”, “Lies of Leaving Neverland”, and most importantly, in my view, “Square One”, by Danny Wu. After viewing the film at its premiere in Hollywood on September 28, 2019, I believe that Wu’s film has the potential to be a game-changer. It is the film we need in these times.

To give you some background on Danny Wu: Based in Vancouver, Canada, Wu is a YouTuber and up-and-coming filmmaker who grew up as an MJ fan, but who watched “Leaving Neverland” and was convinced of Jackson’s guilt. He decided to create a YouTube video presented as a compelling “Did he or didn’t he?” investigation. However, in the course of Wu’s extensive research, he realized that the facts didn’t add up, and that there could be no way that Michael Jackson was guilty of his accused crimes. Over this time, he interviewed Taj and Brandi Jackson and developed close ties with content creator Liam McEwen (who produced one of the first “Leaving Neverland” rebuttal videos, “Neverland Firsthand”). These relationships would solidify Wu’s support of Jackson’s innocence as well as his dedication to getting out the truth about the allegations. I want to emphasize that Wu “walks the walk”. His efforts are not motivated by money or attention-seeking. In fact, he has donated all of his YouTube revenue from his Jackson-related videos to Taj Jackson’s docuseries, and he self-funded “Square One”. When we interviewed him on The MJCast, he specifically recommended that anyone who wants to donate to him should give their money to Taj Jackson instead.

One might have assumed that Wu would create a film examining the lies in “Leaving Neverland”, since that has been the big focus of this year. But he took a different approach. Wu saw a video of Jackson’s 2005 defense lawyer, Tom Mesereau, in which he spoke about how, if Jordan Chandler had been called to speak in that trial, there would have been a line-up of Chandler’s friends ready to tell the opposite story. Inspired by this idea, Wu decided that he needed to find one of these friends who would be willing to speak publicly. And, in doing so, he could potentially take every allegation “back to square one”, where it all started. By focusing on the 1993 allegations and the Chandler family, he could expose the lies at their root.

With this context in mind, it was with great hope that I attended the film’s premiere on September 28, held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. It was hard to know what to expect for this event. Would the fans turn out? Would the film succeed in its goals? Wonderfully, Danny Wu’s “Square One” premiere was a night to remember, when the fan community came together to support a superb film that I believe will make a real difference. In attendance were all the stars of the film, including Danny Wu, Taj Jackson, Charles Thomson (investigative journalist and Legal Correspondent for The MJCast), Jenny Winings, Geraldine Hughes, and Josephine Zohny, who knew Jordan Chandler in college, had been on the 2005 trial witness list, and whose experiences with Chandler frame the film’s narrative. (More on that later.) The rest of the attendees represented a “who’s who” of the MJ community. It was an exciting, inspiring, and dynamic evening. Guest highlights included Tom Mesereau, Liam McEwan, John Ziegler, Tommy Organ, Thayana Sco Jackson, Edwin Costa (of @edwinsgeneration), filmmaker and podcaster Adam Green, actress Lori Petty, and many more. Fans had come from far and wide, with a few attendees flying from China for the event. There was a great energy, buzz, and a lot of love in the room in anticipation of the screening.

Now, onto the part you’re waiting for: So, how was the film?

“Square One” is a brilliant, professional, and entirely convincing film which will, in my view, speak both to fans and to a mainstream audience. When non-fans, or even casual fans, have asked me this year how to address the questions brought up by “Leaving Neverland”, I have found myself pointing to a lot of different resources, but they are typically overflowing with far more information than the average person is willing to sort through. Enter “Square One”, which is now the film to which I will direct people to understand the 1993 allegations and everything that would come after. The way in which it walks the viewer through a complex set of circumstances is impeccable: easy to absorb, concise, grounded in facts, and it lays the groundwork for precisely why things happened as they did, and how the 1993 allegations would set the stage for the Arvizo trial, Robson, Safechuck, and more. As Josephine Zohny says in the film, “Every allegation is built on the ’93 allegations”. By understanding the chain of events involving the Chandler family, the spider web of misfortunes that plagued Michael Jackson throughout the rest of his life are illuminated.

The structure of the film: First, I want to make clear that there are no surprise bombshells in this film. Serious fans will know this information already. (Though, for casual fans or non-fans, most of the facts presented in this film will be new and, I imagine, revelatory.) Its value is not in making new claims, but in presenting the information in the clearest way imaginable, and in doing so with authority. The film is framed by Zohny’s experiences with Jordan Chandler, with powerful interviews with Taj Jackson, Jenny Winings (who, like Zohny, was on the 2005 trial witness list), and Geraldine Hughes woven throughout the narrative. Caroline Fristedt also appears a few times, if briefly, and some archival audio from “Big Al” Scanlan is included. Danny Wu appears in the film to move the story along at certain points, though it is really Charles Thomson who serves as the film’s primary narrator. (It is worth noting that Thomson did not go into this project realizing that his interview would become so key to the film, and it is a testament to his encyclopedic mastery of this chronology that he can provide such a perfect explanation of the chain of events in two unscripted interviews.) Thomson essentially walks us through every step of the 1993 allegations, with the other interviewees highlighting key moments. The rest of the film is primarily made up of archival audio, video, articles and legal documents, which are all well-presented and well-edited. There is no feeling of a passionate “fan-made defense video” here. The information is serious, journalistic, grounded and credible. I particularly appreciate that the film immediately opens by clarifying a few major questions which seem to eternally emerge up in the Jackson allegation conversation: No child pornography was ever found at Neverland, and nothing was ever discovered during the extended, off-and-on investigation of Jackson by the FBI. The actual chronology of the film walks us through the history of the Chandler family, with a particular focus, of course, on Evan Chandler, and his growing rage. It establishes perfectly the sequence of events leading to Chandler’s extortion of Jackson and why Chandler filed a criminal report, when he clearly had had no intention of alerting authorities regarding the supposed abuse of his child. The film makes very clear, as well, why Jackson settled, and how this settlement never voided the possibility of a criminal trial if there had been any evidence to do so. Wu also addresses and clarifies La Toya Jackson’s support (at the time) of the allegations, Victor Gutierrez and Rodney Allen’s role in the fiasco, and concludes with a short section touching on the Arvizo case. The film’s greatest accomplishment is to put all these puzzle pieces together in a way that any viewer can comprehend. Once set in place, there is a sense of crystal-clear understanding that, as Geraldine Hughes says, “Michael Jackson was the victim of an elaborate extortion scheme which launched the allegations.”

Why Josephine Zohny? Zohny has been unfairly criticized by some people online, saying that she is not a credible source. I completely disagree with this. She, along with Jenny Winings, were on the 2005 trial witness list, and would have been part of that trial if Chandler had been brought into the case. Also, Zohny is not motivated by anything but telling the truth: She gave one statement when she was put on the 2005 witness list, but has never spoken publicly about her experiences otherwise. She has never sold her story, nor has she told conflicting or exaggerated tales. And, while it’s true that she was not a close friend of Chandler’s, just an acquaintance, she had interactions with him on multiple occasions when they were classmates together at NYU, and heard him make statements specifically related to Jackson. According to her, Chandler surrounded himself with MJ memorabilia and fan friends, and, upon the release of Martin Bashir’s “Living with Michael Jackson”, Chandler stated, in front of multiple witnesses, that Jackson was “not capable of the things he was being accused of”. In sum, Zohny has put herself in the spotlight at personal risk (she has had to deal with internet trolls and her professional website being hacked) in order to defend Michael Jackson, and I have absolutely no doubt that viewers will find her story compelling and credible.

The minuses: I have very few critiques of this film, which I hope will be widely shared across the global MJ fan community and far beyond, except to point out that it could have benefited from a bit more editing. Wu created “Square One” in just a couple of months, which is deeply impressive, so I am perfectly willing to excuse any slight imperfections. I personally wish that Charles Thomson’s narration wasn’t via a sometimes-crackly speakerphone, for example, but that is a small complaint. So many long-time fans have spent years exploring the issues around the Jackson allegations, but no one has managed to create anything quite like this, and I encourage every Jackson fan to come together to support this film in whatever way we can.

I’ll conclude with a few words from Tom Mesereau, who was interviewed by John Ziegler immediately after the film premiere:

“It’s a fabulous film. It is high quality. It was carefully investigated. It was condensed in a very professional attempt to find the truth, and it tells the truth. Michael Jackson was not a pedophile. He never should have been put through what he was put through, starting with the case in ’92-’93. And I commend Danny Wu and all of his people for the fabulous job they did, and I can’t wait to hear this circulating through society, because we live in very, very biased, troubled times. Michael Jackson was never a pedophile, never should have been accused as such, and his life was destroyed by greed, by people without integrity, by people without a conscience. This film starts the road back from some of the recent developments, which have been very troubling. [Wu] did a tremendous job in showing the truth.”

Let’s gather as a community to support this film and other quality content being released in Michael Jackson’s defense. This is our moment.

How to watch “Square One”:

October 5, 2019: Worldwide debut of “Square One” on YouTube.

London premiere: UK residents can attend a screening of the film on October 5th in London. Danny Wu will be in attendance, and possibly other stars of the film. Information here.

Learn more:

The MJCast’s interview with Danny Wu.

Danny Wu’s TwitterInstagram and Facebook pages.

Other episodes from The MJCast related to the allegations:

Episode 108 – Back to Square One

Episode 103 – Vindication Day Special with Larry Nimmer

Episode 099 – Leaving Neverland Q&A

Episode 095 – Leaving Neverland Roundtable

Episode 081 – Vindication Day Special with Aphrodite Jones

Episode 058 – Vindication Day Special (Pirates in Neverland: The Michael Jackson Allegations)

Episode 033 – Vindication Day Special with Scott Ross

Article by Elise Capron.

Episode 093 – Season Four Christmas Special

It’s the time of year for cookies and carols and ornaments on the tree…and The MJCast’s annual Christmas Special!

Jamon, Q, and Elise wrap up Season Four with discussion of developments in the world of Michael Jackson, including John Cameron’s terrific Musicology podcast, the “On the Wall” exhibition moving to Paris, Janet Jackson’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett’s health scare, and the inspiring results of a music scholarship which Michael Jackson established in 1984. The MJCast Correspondents also chime in, with news on the Cascio Case, MCFFC charity efforts, and the Jackson family.

It’s been a whirlwind year, full of great discussion, lots of Jackson news, and illuminating conversations with amazing guests. The team reflects on the past year, highlights favorite clips from this season’s Special episodes, and also looks to the year to come, as The MJCast continues to grow.

We want to thank our listeners for all your support throughout the year and hope that you enjoy our episodes coming up in Season 5! Happy holidays, #MJFam!

Follow Up

  • #UndieGate
  • #MoonwalkWalks #Book4 is out in the QLD wild!

News

  • John Cameron has dropped his latest episode of #JCsMusicology, focusing on Michael Jackson’s HIStory era
  • “Michael Jackson: On the Wall” exhibition has moved to the Grand Palais in Paris
  • Janet Jackson is to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett suffered an emergency triple bypass operation and has started a GoFundMe page to help with his medical costs
  • The Cascio Case is headed to the Supreme Court of California
  • The artistic director of Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, is designing a new collection based on Michael Jackson
  • Groovefunkel has released a new remix of Michael Jackson’s Thriller
  • The 1984 music scholarship fund that Michael donated has awarded scholarships to four students! (Thank you to listener Kayla Salem, of Jacksonville, Florida, for this tip.)

Season Four Highlights

Main Discussion Topic

  • A year in review.
  • What’s to come in Season 5!

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comStay BAD!

Episode 092 – Humanitarian: The Real Michael Jackson Special

A crucial aspect of Michael Jackson’s life, which is rarely highlighted (and often blatantly ignored), is that of his amazing humanitarian work. While this comes up on The MJCast frequently as a point of discussion, the team is finally taking the opportunity to dedicate a full episode to this important topic. At last, the time is right for a deep-dive chat. Q welcomes to the show megafan and author Paul Dwyer, whose book, Humanitarian – The Real Michael Jackson, has just been published, as well as Friend of the Show and MJ Charity Correspondent Steven Hodges, of Michael Jackson Fans for Charity.

We encourage all of our #MJFam out there to #MakeThatChange!

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comMichael on!

Episode 090 – Thriller 3D Roundtable

Happy Thriller Night 2018! While Jamon is busy setting up Studio Brisbane and Q is on holiday, Elise takes over for this special roundtable discussion focused on the world’s favorite dancing zombie, Michael Jackson. She welcomes two long-time Friends of the Show and regular guests, James Alay and Andy Healy, to join her for an in-depth chat about the recent IMAX theater release of ‘Thriller 3D’.

The Halloween trio discuss their first memories of the original ‘Thriller’ short film, experiences seeing ‘Thriller 3D’, thoughts on promotion and screenings (the decision to not screen the film in Australia is another reason that Jamon and Q are not part of this episode), the quality of the remastering, impact of this iconic film which changed the landscape of pop culture, their feelings around supporting the Estate when it comes to respectful and quality products, and the possible future of ‘Thriller’ in the years and decades to come.

The MJCast wishes all of our listeners a great Thriller Night!

Participants

 Topics

  • First time seeing ‘Thriller’.
  • Thriller 3D experiences.
  • The Remastering: audio and video quality.
  • The impact and legacy of the ‘Thriller’ short film.
  • The Estate: If/when/how we should cautiously give support?
  • What’s next for ‘Thriller’ and other potential Estate products?

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Episode 089 – John Barnes Special

The MJCast’s Elise Capron and Jamon Bull are honoured to interview renowned musician, arranger, songwriter and mixer John Barnes, who has worked with an incredibly wide range of the world’s top musicians and entertainers, including, of course, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

John has been recording music since the early ’70s, and has collaborated with artists such as Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Diana Ross, and many more. He first teamed up with the Jackson family in the early ’80s, playing synthesizer and handling arrangements on The Jacksons’ Victory album. He also worked independently with Janet and Jermaine during this time.

Captain EO and the Bad album marked the beginning of John’s deep involvement in Michael Jackson’s solo career. While Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien were working at Westlake, John, Matt Forger, and Bill Bottrell spent their days at Michael’s private home studio at Hayvenhurst, bringing to fruition Michael’s own musical creations. John took on many different roles in the creative process. He was a musician, programmer, and developed ideas from the group up alongside Michael, including co-writing ‘We Are Here to Change the World’.

John worked with Michael in his later years as well, and spent time with him in Bahrain following the 2005 criminal trial in which he was found not guilty. Not only was John a crucial member of MJ’s creative team, but he has also had a major impact on the popular music landscape as we know it, both as a traditional musician and with his revolutionary work with synth sound programming. Today, John continues his work in the music industry as the CEO of Innersound Studios.

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Episode 088 – Janet Got Busy

After a whirlwind summer of Jackson events, anniversaries, and special guests, Jamon and Q catch up on lots of news and developments in the world of Michael Jackson! On this episode, the guys welcome first-time guests Courtney and Kam, who co-host the Janet Jackson podcast, Janet Today, Janet Tomorrow, Janet Forever. The podcasting foursome chat about the story behind the new podcast, as well as updates in the world of Janet, including the buzz around her fantastic new single, ‘Made For Now’.

On the Jackson news front, the team discusses the recent media explosion around the Cascio Case, and the upcoming, limited-series podcast by Damien Shields, titled Faking Michael, which will document the history of the fraudulent tracks. They also chat about new books by Anthony King, Richard Lecocq & Francois Allard, and Vincent Paterson; the upcoming Quincy Jones documentary showing on Netflix; and the one-week run of “Thriller 3D” in IMAX theaters. Plus, they recap events at the Diamond Celebration in Las Vegas, and get updates from The MJCast correspondents.

News

  • Official Michael Jackson merchandise was been released by Culture Kings in Australia. Oh, and Cotton On.
  • Anthony King has released his first book on Michael Jackson, called Michael Jackson & Classical Music.
  • Richard Lecocq & Francois Allard’s book Michael Jackson – All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track is due for release on October 23rd
  • Netflix lands a Quincy Jones documentary for September 21 release.
  • Vincent Paterson’s autobiography, Icônes et Instincts is now available in French. The English version is coming soon!
  • Jacksonville students to benefit from 1984 donation from Michael Jackson for scholarships.
  • The article, ’60 Years of Michael Jackson, The Fashion Icon’, appears in Britain’s VOGUE magazine.
  • Damien Shields launches his Faking Michael podcast
  • Frank Cascio’s book to be turned into mini-series
  • Cascio Case media explosion and updates
  • ‘Thriller 3D’ to play in IMAX theatres for a one-week run
  • Diamond Celebration discussion
  • Audio from the ‘Diamond Celebration’ Q&A with John Branca in Las Vegas
  • Janet’s throwback video to MJ’s Remember the Time

Main Discussion Topic

  • Janet! Janet Jackson releases a new single and two new music videos for ‘Made For Now (feat. Daddy Yankee)’
  • Janet’s recent performance on Jimmy Fallon

Finds of the Week

  • Jamon – Mark Ryden shares a YouTube video in which he discusses making a frame for his original Dangerous album art piece. His original design sketches of the frame are also available here.
  • Q – A video that listener (and legendary Aussie MJ tribute artist) Paul Rizzo posted, comparing the original release and the Number Ones DVD release of the film clips for Blood On The Dance Floor, and the differences between them!

Additional Links

  • iTunes and Twitter for the Janet Today, Janet Tomorrow, Janet Forever podcast.
  • Janet discusses motherhood and learning to love her body on Eonline!e!
  • CBS Executive Les Moonves was obsessed with ruining Janet Jackson’s career article from Huffington Post.

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comKeep Michaeling!

Episode 087 – Happy 60th Birthday MJ!

On this episode celebrating Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday, Q, Elise and Jamon go on a trip down memory lane with special guest Sean Fitzgerald, who was part of the team who ran The Magic World of Michael Jackson Fan Club in the U.S. from 1989-1995. Sean recreates the incredible moments he experienced during this golden era for MJ fans, such as attending Michael’s fabled Bad World Tour shows at Madison Square Garden and having front-row access to the filming of MTV’s 10th Anniversary Special, where Michael performed Black or White and Will You Be There for the first time. He also talks about the infamous 1995 HBO Beacon Theatre show that was cancelled when Michael fell ill and organising ‘MichaelFest’ fan gatherings.

Plus, Sean goes into detail about his fan club’s very positive relationship with MJJ Productions, who invited Sean and other fan club organizers to their LA office on multiple occasions. Sean also gives interesting insight into how the fan community was organised pre-internet, and how that time contrasts to the online community today.

Sean Fitzgerald is based in New York, and now works in marketing. He’s been married to his high-school sweetheart (who is also an MJ fan!) for 27 years, and they have five children together. Sean is also very active in Church ministries (prison ministry, youth ministry and bible study) and has multiple degrees in Theology. He still has many very personal items from his collection of MJ memorabilia, including a range of items signed personally from Michael Jackson.

The MJCast can’t imagine a better way to celebrate sixty years of Michael than with these fantastic memories.

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.com. Stay BAD!

Episode 085 – For all the YANA Lovers Out There?

After hosting four (epic!) back-to-back special episodes, Jamon takes a well-deserved break, handing the reins over to Q, Elise, and Damien Shields, who catch up on more than a month’s worth of MJ and Jackson Family news. They revisit The MJCast’s recent interview with Judith Hill, and look ahead to events planned for MJ’s birthday on August 29th, including a screening of Moonwalker at the British Film Institute, as well as developments around the Estate’s ‘Diamond Celebration’, which include partnering with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the release of a vinyl anthology box set.

In other news, Michael has been making appearances on tracks by major recording artists, including Christina Aguilera’s ‘Maria’, and Drake’s ‘Don’t Matter To Me’, which has earned Michael Jackson his 30th Hot 100 Top 10 Billboard hit. Plus, developments are in the works for a Broadway show based around Michael’s music, and Omer Bhatti reveals the long-rumoured original golden Invincible album cover artwork. In Jackson family news, Janet continues her big year by receiving the first ever Impact Award at Radio Disney Music Awards, and reports are circulating that she is collaborating with Bruno Mars, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on her new album. Lastly, be sure to check out the Michael Jackson Academic Studies courses, which have recently been made available for free online.

Q and Elise also get a chance to ask Damien about the revised and expanded edition of his book, Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault (previously titled Xscape Origins), and about the progress on his “A Truth Untold” project.

News

  • A new German-language book about Michael has been released, Make That Change: Michael Jackson: Botschaft und Schicksal eines spirituellen Revolutionärs (Message and Fate of a Spiritual Revolutionary) by Sophia Pade and Armin Risi.
  • Reports are circulating that Janet Jackson is to collaborate with Bruno Mars, as well as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for new album.
  • New Christina Aguilera song, “Maria, featuring an MJ sample.
  • The Michael Jackson Estate is set to partner with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation for Michael’s “Diamond” birthday celebration.
  • Janet Jackson receives the first ever Impact Award at Radio Disney Music Awards and gives another inspirational acceptance speech.
  • A Michael Jackson Broadway show may be coming in 2020, organised by the Estate and Columbia Live Stage.
  • New Drake song with previously-unreleased MJ vocals, “Don’t Matter to Me“, which has earned Michael his 30th “Hot 100 Top 10” Billboard hit.
  • London’s prestigious British Film Institute has announced a screening of Moonwalker on August 29th for Michael Jackson’s birthday.
  • The National Portrait Gallery has opened its Michael Jackson – On the Wall exhibition, which will be travelling to France later this year.
  • Fashion house Balmain launches its Spring 2019 Menswear collection featuring Michael Jackson-inspired designs from designer Olivier Rousteing.
  • SWG (Single White Glove) has released a new (10 minute long!) You Are Not Alone Extended Mix. Enjoy, YANA-heads!
  • Omar Bhatti reveals the long rumoured original golden Invincible album cover artwork.
  • MJAS have just made all their courses available for free.
  • MJ60 Birthday events: What’s happening? Let us know details! Organise something yourself!
  • Most of MJ’s albums are to be officially re-released as picture discs in a US$175 vinyl anthology box set. (No BOTDF!)
  • Elise shares a few Los Angeles MJ Week stories.

 Main Discussion Topic

Finds of the Week

  • Q – Soundtrack (iTunes) for the film “Love, Simon”, which features the Jackson 5 Christmas classic, “Someday at Christmas”. (Check out the film, it’s great!)
  • Elise – MJ FAQ by Kit O’Toole.
  • Damien – ?

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comKeep Michaeling!

Episode 082 – June 25th Special with Damien Shields and TJ

June 25th, 2018 marks the ninth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s tragic passing. Jamon and Q are joined by their long-time MJ mates, Damien Shields and TJ, to celebrate and honour the King of Pop. This episode is one of inevitable sadness, but also a time to share good memories and even a laugh or two. Friends since they were teenagers, the ‘Awesome Foursome’ reflect on their childhood fandoms, the birth of their friendship, and how they came up with the original seed of an idea that would become The MJCast. As this is TJ’s first time on the show, he tells his fan story. This episode also features memories about Michael Jackson from previous guests and correspondents, along with tribute songs.

Damien Shields last appeared on The MJCast way back in Season Two, though, as regular listeners know, his work is referenced often on the show. Damien is the author of the book Xscape Origins, runs A Truth Untoldwhich investigates the truth around the posthumous Michael album, and has published a wide range of articles related to Michael Jackson. He plans to release an updated version of Xscape Origins this year, and has some new projects in the works, as well.

TJ is an Aussie MJ fan best known for his “Aussie English translation” videos on YouTube. His open letter, “To The Bullies”, was featured in the 2011 book, It Gets Better, alongside a myriad of inspirational contributors such as Chaz Bono, Darren Hayes, Ellen Degeneres, and President Barack Obama. His latest video is a half hour documentary, “The Michael Jackson Trial: One of the Most Shameful Episodes In Journalistic History”, based on the incredible article by Charles Thomson.

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comKeep Michaeling!

Episode 081 – Vindication Day Special with Aphrodite Jones

The MJCast present their fourth annual special episode recognising Michael Jackson’s acquittal from false child molestation allegations on June 13th, 2005. On each of these annual episodes, The MJCast’s Legal Correspondent Charles Thomson along with hosts Jamon Bull and Q, bring a very special guest onto the show to discuss their experience with the trial that so deeply affected Jackson’s life.

A photograph originally used as evidence in Michael Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial.

In this year’s show, the guys welcome author of the newly released special edition of Michael Jackson Conspiracy, Aphrodite Jones. Aphrodite is a journalist and the author of several bestselling true crime books, one of which was turned into the Oscar-winning movie, Boys Don’t Cry. During Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial, Aphrodite initially found herself on the side of the prosecution. However, after the trial was over, she reassessed her stance, and admitted that she got it wrong. She went on to write one of the most comprehensive books about the trial, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, which includes a Foreword by Tom Mesereau. Self-published in 2007, the book went on to become a cult hit, and is being re-released in a new edition this week. Michael Jackson Conspiracy is the last book Aphrodite published, though she has gone on to be a successful true crime documentary host as well as host of her own podcast, called Sex, Love & Murder.

The new edition of the book features colour photos, exclusive links to footage of accuser Gavin Arvizo being led in a police interview, Michael Jackson discussing a children’s holiday with Martin Bashir and Neverland Valley Ranch during the trial era.

Jamon, Q, and Charles talk with Aphrodite about her early life, her experience being one of the few reporters given permanent seats in the courtroom throughout Jackson’s trial, how she fell under the pro-persecution spell and how she changed her mind. Topics also discussed include her interpretation of how the media handled the trial and how it impacted Michael in his final years.

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comStay BAD!

Aphrodite’s 2005 photograph of fan made posters from Michael Jackson’s criminal trial.