Support the “AdLLaw/Cadeflaw Initiative” by signing the petition.
S. Kendrick, AdLLaw Resolution Specialist
S. Kendrick, AdLLaw Resolution Specialist
When you’re alive, if someone makes false statements about you that aren’t true – and in some cases, if true but it can be proved that such statements have been made with malice – this is called defamation of character. Defamation is ugly. It has the potential not only to destroy your reputation, but your family and your livelihood, too. Quite frankly, words are akin to weapons that have the ability to make or break your life. Thankfully, those with enough money and a good, solid case, have the ability to sue for libel (if the offending words are written) or slander (if the words have been disseminated orally).
When you die, however, you lose that ability to seek redress. You may think those rights are now passed onto your family or Estate, but they’re not. Once you’re dead, anything can be written or said about you without consequences. And all it takes is the circulation of one lie to ruin your good name.
Celebrities are often subject to libel in the tabloid press. But libel and slander aren’t simply the preserve of the rich and famous. Every day, courts are dealing with the maligned reputations of ordinary individuals and/or businesses small and large. Some lose their jobs, their friends, their families, their health and well-being, all due to the effects of defamation. Some resort to legal redress, while others feel that seeking such redress will only add fuel to the fire. But the common factor is that – with enough money and stamina – celebrity or not, one can seek legal redress.
But this is not the case when you die. A lie about you may surface and spread. This time, nothing can be done about it because you’re no longer here to defend yourself, and your family can’t go after the individual(s) responsible because there are no defamation rights for the deceased. Now your good name is forever tarnished and your family has to deal with the aftermath. You may have children or a significant other who have to navigate through the mire of injustice, or the company you left behind might be wound up because nobody wants to do business with something you were associated with any more. The countless possibilities of how it might affect all those who knew and loved you are profound. These situations happen more frequently than you think.
Dee Pfeiffer, Professional freelance writer and editor based in the heart of the UK, MJL Trustee
Acil Leitz, Advocate
By now; you will all be painfully aware of the terrible stories in the media today, each one of them from Conrad Murray as “advertisement” from his up-coming book. I felt it important to get online and address this right away.
This is again another form of defamation against Michael Jackson. Under normal circumstances, steps could be taken to put a stop to Conrad Murray’s actions with a cease and desist order. In addition; there would be legal ways to stop his book being published. But sadly, these are not normal circumstances because Michael Jackson is deceased.
Current defamation laws mean that the deceased have no legal protection from slander in its various forms.
As the situation currently stands; no legal action can be brought against Conrad Murray except under the following circumstances:
1) He mentions Michael’s children/family in his book and subsequent press releases (today’s article already mentions Paris Jackson.)
2.) He talks in detail about Michael’s private medical history.
Those are the occasions where Michael’s family and his Estate can start civil proceedings against him. Other than that; our hands are tied.
But why is he doing this? Yes; we could all surmise that indeed Conrad Murray is a person of the lowest order; determined to make money off the man he killed as a result of his negligence. And yes; this appears to be very much the case. But let’s look at this in detail and bring in other issues and stories circling around Michael at this current time.
Let’s cast our minds back to the very public 2005 molestation trial against Michael Jackson and in particular to the media coverage. As Tom Mesereau mentioned; the media were hell bent on reporting every single lurid detail in the prosecution’s favor. During cross-examination by the prosecution, they practically broke their necks to get out of the court room to report every single account – never waiting for the rebuttal from the defense. Michael was very much tried not just in a court of law but in the court of public opinion. Day after day; various media outlets screamed headlines of a “sick, twisted child molester” with a “dark and perverted side.” The facts of the case were completely ignored. Evidence presented in court was twisted to portray Michael as a criminal, long before any closing arguments had begun. The media all but said that Michael was guilty from day one and were ready to throw him in jail right from the very start.
Why would the media portray an innocent man in such a dark light? It all goes back to what Michael himself has said many times while he was alive. The media will only write about negative things because that’s what sells a story. A headline screaming “MICHAEL JACKSON MOLESTED BOYS!!” is far more eye-catching than “MICHAEL JACKSON SAVES BOY’S LIFE.” Human beings are curious by nature – and the media rely on this to pique their interest. Doesn’t everybody love a good scandal? It’s rather like a gritty soap opera, except the characters depicted are real.
It is a fact that the media were reporting these stories in order to sway public opinion. They WANTED Michael to be guilty of the crimes alleged; despite all the evidence and ambiguities in his favor. Imagine how much money they would make if Michael had have been guilty! They’d have enough material to sell stories for the next 10 years and beyond. And the dollars would just keep rolling in. So many people would have gotten rich off this! Shake down – and Michael Jackson is the target.
So why are all these stories coming out now?
Next year sees the civil suit of Wade Robson & Jimmy Safechuck. Their legal teams are already preparing their case as we’ve seen in recent reports. Many of the articles we have seen have been published by media outlets who are in SUPPORT of WR & JS. Now I want to make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that I am in no way dismissing those who have genuinely suffered some form of child abuse. Not at all. What I am against; are those who make up a lie purely for cash and that is what we are seeing here.
But these stories are history repeating itself. Yet again; the media have tried, convicted and hung Michael Jackson this time before the case has even made it to the court room. Like WR & JS; the media are counting of two possible outcomes:
1) That the smear campaign levelled against Michael Jackson will force the Estate of Michael Jackson to settle out of court. Let’s remember the stick Michael got in 1993 when he settled (against his will I might add). The media called it an admission of guilt – and this is echoed today in their continuing reports on the matter. Should the Estate choose to settle; this again could be construed as an admission of guilt and with that; the media will have a field day.
2) Public opinion is swayed so the court find in WR & JS favor. Again; that would point to Michael being guilty.
In short; both scenarios are a win-win situation in terms of the media and all those hoping to profit from lies.
Unfortunately for WR & JS; the MJ Estate aren’t biting. Wade Robson is playing a game of “throw me millions of dollars and I’ll go away.” The Estate has responded with “we’ll see you in court.” They are determined that WR isn’t getting a single dime for a lie. Would they have settled if Michael was still alive? Probably not. Michael repeatedly said he wanted his day in court and the fact that it was his INSURERS who paid the settlement to the Chandlers, confirms that.
Let’s also cast our mind back to the various legal suits brought against those who printed lies about Michael. The infamous National Enquirer suit for example. Diane Dimond herself ran with a story of there being a video tape of Michael molesting a child. No such tape of course existed. Michael sued both her and Victor Gutierrez and won. Gutierrez declared himself bankrupt and move to Chile. (I should point out that the reason for many of Michael’s debts was because of these civil suits – particularly around the 2003 allegations.)
This time however it’s different. Michael cannot sue for damages because he’s no longer with us. This means it’s a feeding frenzy for the media. They can write whatever they like about him and get away with it….and that leads me to Conrad Murray….(you were probably wondering when I was going to get to that!)
Enter Conrad Murray – whose tell-all book is to be released on 29th July. Hello! Timing? Of course it is no accident that his publishers choose right now to release it. Neither is it an accident that he decides to contact the media with delicious tidbits of his “story”. WR and JS have already whetted the appetite of the gossip mongers and the hateful “con-Michael Jackson” groups. Murray has rubbed his hands together in glee and brought out the main course. It’s so easy to make money off Michael when he’s already in the news. All Murray has to do is sit back, wait for the book to be released and watch the money come rolling in. And even better; there is not one thing anybody can do to stop him!
So why am I telling you all this?
The actions of Conrad Murray and the fact that he’s clearly piggy-backing off the WR & JS case is a classic demonstration of why the defamation laws need to change. And this is just the start. We have several other books coming out about Michael’s private life. Why do you think these unscrupulous people have waited until Michael’s death to unleash their stories? Floodgates have opened and there is no dam to stop them. And as we edge closer to Murray’s book release AND the WR civil suit next year; the stories are going to become more and more toxic. We haven’t seen anything yet. Right now; Michael Jackson is easy money – and everybody wants a piece of him.
As Tom Mesereau said: “Why work when you can sue Michael Jackson?” Or write a book about him; I shall add.
The AdLLaw Initiative is needed now more than ever. Power needs to be given back to the deceased to stop their legacy from being ruined at the hands of those who will stop at nothing to make a profit. You cannot ignore these stories and pretend they don’t exist. With every passing week; the stories are getting more and more damaging. The media have unleashed a tirade of slander to whip the public into a frenzy. It is spreading like an aggressive cancer and the only way to stop it is to cut it out.
Signing the AdLLaw petition takes only ONE MINUTE of your time. That’s all. It doesn’t cost a penny. You won’t get spammed out with various emails. You’re not signing up for anything which has an ulterior motive. All you are doing is raising your voice and saying “ENOUGH!” to the lies. We need as many signatures as we can possibly get to get the defamation laws changed. Not just thousands but millions! It truly is the ONLY way we can stop this. Not just for Michael either but for every single deceased person who has or is suffering defamation in death. They don’t have to be famous or in the public eye. It can happen to ANYBODY and EVERYBODY. It could even happen to you!
The link to the global petition is below. Will you add your name to it? And please don’t forget to share it as well! The more people who sigh, the more congress will take notice and make that much-needed change to the law!
Submitted by: Kerry Ward, MDF Admin – July 18, 2016
RIGHTS OF THE DEAD by Kirsten Rabe Smolensky* (Page 8/41)
Interest Theory: Deceased Can Have Interest That Survive Death
Assume that a person dies and his neighbor spreads defamatory remarks about him. These remarks hurt the decedent’s reputation, regardless of whether he is alive and can become emotionally upset by the statements. The fact that he does not know about the harm does not mean that a harm to the decedent’s interest, namely his reputation, has not occurred.
One might respond that while the decedent’s reputation is harmed in this example, the decedent is not harmed because he cannot know about the defamatory comments after his death. But knowledge of a legal harm is not required for a legal harm to occur. Take, for example, a living landowner whose land is trespassed upon by a harmless trespasser without his knowledge. In this hypothetical, the landowner’s legal interest is harmed even if he never discovers the trespass. Similarly, even though a decedent will never know about any particular harm to his posthumous interests, that does not mean that a harm has not occurred or that such harm should not be protected against.
In ruling that Elvis Presley’s right of publicity survived his death, the New Jersey District Court said that “‘[i]f the right [of publicity] is descendible, the individual is able to transfer the benefits of his labor to his immediate successors and is assured that control over the exercise of the right can be vested in a suitable beneficiary.’” While the court notes that posthumous rights of publicity incentivize living persons to work hard, it also notes that it is important for individuals to be able to choose an appropriate beneficiary, presumably one who will exercise the right of publicity judiciously and in a way that protects the decedent’s interest in his reputation.
Others have also noted posthumous rights protect decedents’ interests. In discussing his efforts to enhance protections for deceased celebrities in California, the attorney for Marilyn Monroe LLC said: “Ms. Monroe expressed her desires in her will—that the Strasberg family should be the protectors of her persona. The enactment of this legislation helps ensure that the wishes of Ms. Monroe and all other deceased personalities will now be fully respected.” What drives many posthumous rights is not only the recognition that some interests survive death, but also a desire to respect decedents’ wishes.
However, the realization that some interests survive death does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that all interests must or should survive death. For example, interests that “can no longer be helped or harmed by posthumous events,” such as a secret desire for personal achievement, die upon the death of the interest-holder. Minimally, the distinction between interests that survive death and those that die with the decedent turns on whether a record exists of the particular interest in question. The record could exist either in the mind of a surviving friend or family member, or it could be recorded in writing. But, if an interest is incapable of being known after death, then the law cannot protect it.
Furthermore, the simple fact that an interest survives death does not require that the law recognize this interest as a posthumous legal right. Theoretically someone could die with a certain set of interests written in a document, perhaps a will. These interests might include the desire to transfer assets to one’s children after death or the desire to have one’s flower garden tended in perpetuity. Given the wide range of posthumous interests that survive death in a philosophical sense, the law’s purpose is to choose which of these interests are worthy of legal recognition.
Interest Theorists make few suggestions about which surviving interests should be recognized as posthumous legal rights. This determination requires a theory about which sorts of posthumous rights should be recognized.
Interests that survive death.
The right to have their estate governed as they requested
The right to privacy for their family members
Posthumous interest to protect name from being defamed via family, friends and in the case of artists their fans.
Posthumous right to constitutional free speech. If the living has the right to free speech those with an interest to the deceased should be able to speak for the decedents.
The decedents should have a posthumous right to protect and preserve their legacy through friends, family members or fans in the case of an artist.
An artists may desire that his or her artistic work survives him/her. In that case there has to be people who continue to support or buy the works. His/her fans would be responsible for maintaining that interest because they will continue to buy the product.
Right not to have sperm/viable eggs removed from body unless that request has been made, in writing, while living.
Right to safeguard reputations in cases of defamation and invasions of privacy.
Right to artistic creations, name and image
If death marks the end of conscious existence, shouldn’t it mark the end of legal existence as well?
The right of publicity to survive death: the right of an individual to control the commercial value of their name, image and likeness. The right of publicity was used by the singer Bette Midler to stop a car company from using a singer in a commercial who sang in a similar style to Midler and by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to stop an advertiser from using an Onassis look-alike. http://www.alternet.org/story/147332/how_dead_people_have_more_rights_than_you_do!
The deceased DO have INTEREST that survives death. They may be DEAD but they are not DONE. Let’s make sure those interest are respected and carried forward by supporting the AdLLaw Initiative. Sign the petition at:
MJ Brookins, Advocate/AdLLaw Admin
The White Lion talks about the 2005 Michael Jackson trial and in particular talks about the behavior of the media during that time. He points out that the trial was “big business” for the media because they were all profiting from it.
The Wade Robson civil suit starts in 8 months. And again; it will be big business for the media. The behavior we saw from them in 2005 will be repeated. They will report exactly as they did in 2005 – only reporting the salacious testimonies and not reporting the cross- examination.
We have already seen a demonstration of how much the media have $$ in their eyes from the last week. Stories from the likes of Radar Online, Daily Mail and even Huffington Post have shown how they are rubbing their hands together in greed and glee at what will be a big money spinner for them.
Remember; as far as the media are concerned the truth will not bring them profit. The scandal and lies of Wade Robson & Jimmy Safechuck will. Yet again; they are trying to sway public opinion to persuade the public of Michael’s guilt because a “guilty” verdict means even more money for them.
This is why it is so important to act now! This is exactly why we are urging you to get involved in the AdLLaw Initiative and sign the petition to put a stop to this scandalous media behavior.
There are many concrete facts to support Michael’s innocence and none to support his guilt. Which do you think the media will go with? I think we all know the answer to that.
Act NOW and let’s stamp out the media lies for good. Sign the petition and share it with everyone you know. Together; we can protect Michael’s legacy from the greedy money-sucking leeches!
Support the #AdLLawInitiative by signing and sharing the AdLLaw Global Petition
Submitted by: Kerry Ward, MDF Admin
The answer is Paul Baressi – former Private Investigator and tabloid broker.
Here’s a little info on Baressi:
During the Michael Jackson allegations of 1993; Baressi was asked by his former girlfriend Stella Marcroft and her partner Phillippe Lemarque to help them sell a story alleging that they had witnessed Michael Jackson molesting Macaulay Culkin. Baressi managed to get them a $150,000 offer from the National Enquirer, but the couple was so greedy they went over his head to lawyer Arnold Kessler, who persuaded them to dismiss the offer Baressi had managed to get them and promised them a much bigger offer. Baressi was not happy; and secretly taped them to tell their story once again.
Armed with the “tape”, he then approached The Globe: “I called the editor at The Globe and I said, ‘I have a tape, I’m on the way down town to hand it to the District Attorney.’ And his words were, ‘let us come with you.’ And then I knew I had him. The next thought in my mind was I’m going to ask for $30,000. You always ask for twice as much as what you hope to get. He put me on hold, and within less than a minute he came back and he said ‘well, we can’t give you thirty, we’ll give you ten.’ I said ‘make if fifteen,’ he said ‘you have a deal.'” Reporter: “Could you see the headlines coming? Barresi: “Oh yeah, sure, and I could see that money coming too.
He arranged a $15,000 deal with Globe but greed and impatience took over resulting in him contacting Kevin Smith of Splash News Service; resulting in the story being featured in the Daily Mirror, for $24,000. This meant that eventually when Globe was finally interested in the story; they would not pay him because of the Mirror scoop. It is alleged that Baressi threatened Kevin Smith in order to gain $10,000. The end result was that Baressi made $30,000 on the whole story.
In addition; Baressi was regularly hired by Anthony Pellicano to “gain dirt” on any celebrity client sex stories. Pellicano was a former PI to Michael Jackson. Pellicano has also sold various MJ “stories” to the tabloids.
Pellicano is now serving a 15 year sentence in jail for conspiracy to commit wiretapping. He was actually indicted on 150 counts including racketeering, conspiracy, wiretapping, witness tampering, identity theft and the destruction of evidence.
Diane Dimond is a known supporter of Wade Robson. Radar Online are known supporters of Wade Robson. And Paul Baressi? Well he’s a greedy tabloid broker who only cares about money!
I think we can conclude here that these stories are absolutely coming from the Wade Robson camp in an attempt to manipulate public opinion in preparation for the civil suit in 8 months’ time. The upshot? These stories are tame compared with what will come out over the course of the next 8 months. They will get worse. And it also means that WE have only 8 MONTHS to act and stop these stories! We must take action NOW!
Support the AdLLaw Initiative by signing the global petition and sharing with family and friends.
Submitted by: Kerry Ward, MDF Admin
This is something fans, non-fans and those who have doubts about Michael’s innocence should consider. It is well known that DA Tom Sneddon was a man with a grudge. Many in Michael’s camp were well aware that Sneddon was determined to nail Michael; no matter what the cost was. Sneddon was smarting at his failure to bring Michael to trial in 1993; because of lack of evidence.
In 2003; Sneddon was adamant he would not fail. Sneddon carried out a thorough and intense investigation into the allegations made against Michael. From the raid on Neverland to the statements from various witnesses; he left absolutely no stone un-turned. Indeed; investigations against Michael Jackson lasted for 16 years. Around 70 law enforcement personnel were involved in these very detailed investigations. Michael’s personal possessions were collected; Hayvenhurst was also searched as part of the investigation; and Michael himself was subjected to a strip search. And in those 16 years; a man with a very clear grudge against Michael Jackson; was unable to find one scrap of evidence to prove Michael was guilty. Absolutely NOTHING.
Whatever your opinion of DA Sneddon and I’m certainly not paying him a compliment here – he was the man who if there was damning evidence; he WOULD find it. In terms of the investigation; he was the best man for the job because he was fueled by a determination to see Michael Jackson go down. And yet he failed. So if a man with a grudge can’t prove Michael’s guilt; then it’s very clear. There was absolutely NO GUILT to prove.
Submitted by: Kerry Ward, MDF Admin
Support the AdLLaw/Cadeflaw Initiative by signing the petition at: AdLLaw Global Petition
Elvis Presley – Posted by the National Enquirer that he had 7 secret love-children and was secretly gay.
Whitney Houston – the lies posted about Whitney are well documented. One disgusting article in the National Enquirer talks about “secret lesbian romps.”
David Bowie – Days after Bowie’s tragic death from cancer; tabloids posted that he died as a result of AIDS.
Robin Williams – A year after his tragic death; a tabloid posted that he was murdered and his suicide note was a proven fake.
Prince – days after his death and BEFORE any full autopsy result was released; numerous tabloids posted that he died of HIV/Aids.
Michael Jackson – the lies continue with regard to “evidence” he molested children. Recently; The Daily Mail posted a lie that “detectives were convinced he molested his nephews.”
NOBODY is immune from tabloid lies. And it effects EVERYONE; not just the deceased. Their families; friends and fans all have to read these disgusting and cruel lies. However; there is nothing they can do to stop it. They currently don’t have any legal case to sue. But if the AdLLaw Initiative is passed; then this will change and in turn; the lies will stop. WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN!
Please spread the world today! Sign the petition and share it far and wide and let’s change the defamation laws TOGETHER!
Author: Kerry Ward, Admin MDF
Part of my role within Michael’s Dream Foundation is to keep abreast of news related to Michael Jackson. This is something I do on a daily basis; with the aim of sharing interesting articles about him, particularly if they talk about his humanitarian work and his legacy.
Unfortunately; part of that territory are the countless tabloid articles I uncover throughout my research all of which I don’t share. In the 27 years of being a Michael Jackson fan; I have never once shared a tabloid article about him and I certainly don’t intend to do so now. Instead; I will echo what Michael himself used to say – I don’t read them. The fact that it’s written doesn’t necessarily make it “truth.” Truth is; I don’t give these articles any more scrutiny than they deserve. Instead, I ignore them and refuse to draw attention to them. Why would I want to give attention to an article that is clearly littered with ridiculous lies about a man I have followed and researched for many, many years?
But today; I came across an article I could not ignore. I know only too well that Radar Online take great pleasure in posting negative things about Michael; and are like a dog at a bone when it comes to the subject of the child molestation trial in 2005. The fact that Michael was acquitted of ALL charges by a UNANIMOUS verdict seems to go over their heads. Of course they are going to ignore all the concrete facts in the pursuit of increasing and maintaining their readership. Today however; they went too far..
In a disgusting article entitled “ Paedo Proof? Never before seen – Cop Reports Expose Michael Jackson’s Sick Secrets,” they go so far as to say Michael was a “manipulative drug and sex crazed predator.” Throughout the article; they make references to documents which show “filthy photos and videos of men, women, boys and girls in perverted positions” and “ drugs to treat sex addiction, with multiple prescriptions written by a variety of physicians for people close to the star.” The article goes on to say that Michael even used “sexy photos of his own nephews in their underwear to excite young boys.” And according to them “an investigator told Radar” that “the documents expose Jackson as a manipulate sex-and-drug crazed predator who used blood, gore, sexually explicit images of animal sacrifice and perverse adult sex acts to bend children to his will.” Not satisfied with that; the “source” adds; “he also had disgusting and downright shocking images of child torture, adult and child nudity, female bondage and sadomasochism.”
I shall not continue with the offending article in verbatim. The whole thing is distressing, sickening and anger-inducing to the point where any fan would be able to feel their blood reach boiling point.
But as if to add insult to injury; the article then provides a link where you can see this so-called “evidence” for yourself. And why did I find on visiting it? Proof that Radar Online has greatly exaggerated this “evidence” with the aim of slandering Michael and distorting the truth. The pictures depicted on the link are not at all as they are being reported.
So why did this particular article bother me more than others I’ve seen? Indeed; only days before did Radar post an article about Michael’s “bizarre sexual behaviour”; allegedly after Bobby Brown claimed he saw Michael slap his sisters’ bottom when he was dating Janet Jackson. Do I see this as “bizarre sexual behaviour”? No I do not. My brother used to do the same to me when we were growing up – and has done it in adulthood. It’s called “sibling ribbing.” Is my own brother therefore a sexual predator simply because he exhibited the exact same behaviour? No he isn’t. But then again; if I was to think along the same lines as the tabloid media – my brother is not an eccentric pop star, desperate to protect his privacy.
The real reason for my intense anger at this article was the venom behind it. It is not simply a case of printing ridiculous lies about Michael. This article goes beyond that. It ventures into slander and defamation territory and beyond. I will even go so far as to say that it was less of a news item and more of a personal attack against Michael – and let’s remember that Michael is sadly not here to defend himself. Whoever wrote this article; their hatred and bitterness; to a point of a vendetta against Michael was immediately apparent. Reading between the lines (as I often do when I read any news story about Michael); you could see the toxic poison which dripped from every single typed word. This person knew exactly what they were doing and the timing of such an article speaks volumes. Five days before 25th June? Hardly a coincidence. I do not know who was behind it. That information was omitted from publishing…how convenient.
Oh and just for good measure; the article gives a thinly veiled suggestion that more accusations and civil lawsuits should be brought against Michael. “Anything for money” perhaps?
Why are these articles now cropping up almost 7 years after Michael left us? Because of the civil lawsuit happening in 2017. And if you think this one was bad; wait for the next one and the one after that. They will get worse especially from a site which is known for being very anti-Michael Jackson.
Now it would be so easy to read the offending article, get angry, feel sad for Michael and forget about it. Michael is no longer with us right? Surely it doesn’t matter anymore. WRONG! After reading said article; I took it upon myself to speak to a few fans about it and like me; they are sick, sick, sick of seeing these lies time and time again. And do you know what is more sickening? The fact that the perpetrators of these lies get away with it. Sure; you could contact Radar Online and ask them to retract but it will more than likely be a cold day in hell before they do that. If they are arrogant enough to post this rubbish; they aren’t going to apologize and admit they were out of order. Instead; they’re going to continue posting poison to harm Michael’s reputation, legacy and don’t forget; his children, because they are allowed that “freedom” to do so. How is that right?
It isn’t right and it never will be. Seven painful years have passed and even now; the media are still dissecting and mutilating Michael’s good name for profit. If they haven’t stopped after seven years; they aren’t going to stop any time soon. Let’s remember that Michael was and is the most famous person on the planet. His memory will live on for generations to come. And unless we act NOW and do something; so will the defamatory behaviour of the media.
Never has it been more important than now to unite and bring the AdLLaw Initiative to fruition. Should that initiative be passed as a law; then Michael’s reputation and legacy can no longer be tarnished by tabloid vultures. And those who attempt to break the law will be held to account for their actions. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful day when tabloids are no longer allowed to defame the names and reputations of those who are deceased and can’t protect themselves? Act NOW and that day can happen a lot sooner. But for it to happen; it takes more than one person to see it through right to the very end.
Michael spoke often about unity and the importance of uniting together; in order to make a change. He is quite right. There is strength in numbers. One or two can’t make a difference. But one or two million can. We his fans; are known as his “Soldiers of love.” He referred to us as “his soldiers”. He stood in solidarity with his fans and protected them at all costs. “Don’t hurt my fans,” was his message because he loved us equally as much as we love him. Surely if he can stand shoulder to shoulder with us; then we can afford him that same solidarity? This is a time when he need us the most and the coming civil suit will reinforce that over and over. He begged for his day in court; he had it and he won. Yet that is not enough for some. Hatred against Michael and the fact that he was totally vindicated; is still being fueled by the media and their poisonous articles. Would Michael have stood for it? Hell no! So why are we going to stand for it?
The time has come to stand up for Michael and do all we can to protect his reputation. Stoke that fire in your bellies and think about the pictures of Michael during the 2005 trial. Think about that heart-break you went through when you saw that awful sadness in his eyes. Think about that joy you experienced when Michael was cleared. Both Michael and his fans went through all that together. But unless we take a stand against the media; it will have all been for nothing. No other celebrity has been attacked so cruelly by the media; than Michael Jackson. He lived it throughout his life and it made his life a misery. The coverage of the 2005 trial was dubbed “trial by media”. It should have been dubbed “tried, convicted and hanged” by the media and next year; we will see it all over again. It was awful enough the first time. But the difference is; Michael was able to speak out and defend himself from these stories. This time he isn’t. And that’s why it falls to US to do something TOGETHER.
There is no “I” in “us”. And you can’t spell “unite” without putting “you” n “I” together.
Kerry Ward, MDF Admin
Please support the AdLLaw/Cadeflaw Initiative by adding your name to the global petition and sharing it.
The other day I received a communication that moved me to write this column. The communication wondered why celebrities are prominently mentioned in AdLLaw’s mission to protect the deceased from defamation. Actually, it went beyond wondering why celebrities are included; it went so far as to suggest that celebrities should be excluded. The recommendation was that our focus should be on the average citizen with whom the masses can identify.
AdLLaw uses many people as examples of those who are being defamed after they have passed on. Celebrity examples include Betty Ford, Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, Whitney Houston, and Amy Winehouse. We also have in our materials records of a young woman who was killed in a terrible car accident whose family endured seeing vile and horrific information being spread on the Internet about their relative.
Read more here: http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3872556&page=1
We have information on U.S. soldiers whose funerals were picketed by a religious group that used the funerals as a platform to spread their bigotry and hate. The group picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers is not aiming their hate at the individual; however, their actions are mentioned in our materials because they bring hardship to the families of the soldiers in the form of added grief and suffering. One father did try to sue for damages, citing, among other things, the intentional infliction of emotional distress. See more here:
Above are listed just a few examples of the defamation of those who are deceased. They range from the most high-profile celebrities to soldiers fighting for our country to anonymous citizens living their private lives. Defamation can touch anyone, and while there is truth in the fact that most people do not know a celebrity and cannot relate to their lifestyles, we can all identify who they are. For that reason, when they are defamed we are more aware and more attention is given.
Several years ago. Dale Earnhardt, a NASCAR icon, was killed in a shocking accident while racing at Daytona (Florida). The accident happened on live television during the race broadcast. Millions of people saw it play out in their living rooms. Dale Earnhardt was a name so synonymous with the sport that almost everyone could identify him. There was a tremendous amount of coverage of his life and death, and the public outpouring of grief and emotion was incredible. My local radio station had a discussion about the event, and people called in commenting on how wrong it was to feel grief for this man who was killed when the focus of our sorrow should be on our troops. I don’t normally call in to talk shows; however, in this instance I did. I was one of those who saw this horrible accident happen. I explained that when people can put a face to a name, and when they see a tragedy happen in real time, it affects them on a different level. People could identify with what happened. It did not mean there was no sorrow for our fallen troops, but the masses do not have faces to put with a soldier who has died, and they don’t see war played out live in their living rooms. That was why there was so much public grief for Mr. Earnhardt: people could relate.
I use the Dale Earnhardt example to explain why celebrities are a part of the AdLLaw campaign. People are aware of the stories of celebrities and may be outraged at the treatment a celebrity receives in the media. One of the problems with the media is the assumption that celebrities cease to be human once they are famous. A celebrity is still a person…they have lives to live; they have feelings; they have loved ones; they deal with the normal issues of being a human being. They deserve the same respect that any human should receive. That is why they are included in AdLLaw’s mission. Not because they are famous, but because they are human.
People are more aware of the treatment Michael Jackson received in the media than they are of the treatment of Nicole Catsouras, the young woman killed in the car accident. The grief endured by the family of Ms. Catsouras is no less important than the grief endured by the family of Mr. Jackson; it is simply that the masses are more aware of Mr. Jackson’s plight.
The goal of AdLLaw is to change the law nationally so that a family can sue for damages when their deceased loved one is defamed. While living, a defamed person can seek relief for themselves in a court of law for slander and libel. However, at the point of death, current law considers the person to no longer exist. That leaves the gates wide open for anyone to maliciously report untrue “information” about the deceased without fear of repercussions. AdLLaw believes that a person lives on in his or her legacy and reputation. When a person, famous or anonymous, is defamed after they are gone, their loved ones should have a way to seek relief in a court of law.
Perhaps when AdLLaw is successful in its mission, we will be one step closer to becoming a kinder and gentler society. Maybe respect and honor will be restored in our media. There might be a return to integrity in reporting and to thought put into words before they are spoken or written — not just in the media, but by each individual also.
The following video sums up why celebrities are included in this initiative. We are all people; we are all a part of the human race. Regardless of our social status, race, sexual orientation, nationality, political affiliation, or religious belief, we are all people — with the same right to dignity and respect after we have passed on. Watch the video here: http://video.foxnews.com/v/3934406/huckabees-opinion/?#sp=show-clips
AdLLaw’s mission is not to curtail freedom of speech, but to hold people accountable for their words. We believe this initiative and our fundamental right to free speech can coexist. To learn more about AdLLaw, please visit us at https://antidefamationlegacylawadvocates.org/2013/10/22/whats-so-special-about-the-adllaw-initiative-and-petition/
Support the #AdLLawInitiative by signing the PETITION
Edited and Republished by: MJ Brookins
Original story posted here: http://thejamcafe-mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.org/issue/may-issue/article/celebrities-and-AdLLaw
May Issue, ADLLAW – Celebrities and AdLLaw
By Barbara Owens,Journalist and AdLLaw secretary – Thu, May 31, 2012