Leave Paris Jackson Alone
I cannot imagine how difficult Paris Jackson’s life must be. The lives of the children of the obscenely rich and famous face a unique set of challenges that can be absolutely devastating. There is undoubtedly a good reason that the children of hugely famous and successful celebrities seem to have a disproportionately high level of suicide and drug overdoses despite the wealth and fame and connections that come with being the progeny of someone our culture worships.
Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the children of the massively wealthy and powerful and well-known have a disproportionately high level of suicide because of the wealth and fame and connections that come with being the progeny of someone our culture worships.
As a child and as an adult, Michael Jackson was as wealthy, famous and connected as they come. To say that did not lead to lasting happiness or contentment would be a bit of an understatement. Being a child of massive, historic fame is a Gift and a Curse but in Jackson’s case it seems to be overwhelmingly a Curse.
Paris Jackson is an impossible place right now. Michael Jackson’s legacy, once one of the most prestigious and lucrative in the world, is now in tatters. It has become an ugly, sordid and tragic entity that spills out messily in every direction, corrupting and contaminating everyone it touches. As Leaving Neverland reveals, Jackson was at once a victim of child abuse and a master manipulator uniquely gifted at getting people to think and behave the way he wanted. Yet a goodly percentage of the world will not be satisfied until Paris angrily denounces her own father. Paris is only twenty years old. Her life has been filled with unspeakable, inconceivable tragedy. She should be afforded the time and space to grow, to mature, to become her own person instead of lingering forever in her father’s impossibly vast, impossibly dark shadow.
The tabloid media has been going after Paris Jackson in the seedy, sordid, tragic aftermath of Leaving Neverland and the current consensus that Michael Jackson was most assuredly guilty of the crimes he was accused of over the decades. The same is true of “fans” on social media who’ve decided they know best for her by, for example, shaming her for smoking pot. Jesus, if anyone has a right to get high it’s Paris Jackson.
Leave Paris Jackson alone. The poor woman has been through enough. She has endured tragedy upon tragedy. Do not follow the young woman around with a microphone and a video camera asking her if she thinks her dead father raped children. Don’t shame her for smoking marijuana. Don’t chase page-views with lurid stories about suicide attempts and stints in mental hospitals.
Tabloid media, at least try to be less terrible. Try to remember that you’re dealing with real people with real, complicated, divided emotions and not just a famous name connected inextricably to someone who was once the most famous man in the world and now is perhaps the most infamous.
If Jackson attempted suicide and was institutionalized in the aftermath of Leaving Neverland, that is nobody’s business but her own. I’m not sure unrelenting media attention and the harsh glare of the spotlight has ever done any good for anyone’s mental health but this seems like an instance where it is particularly toxic and dangerous.
None of us have a right to tell Paris Jackson what to say or do or how to feel, about her father or anything else but we have the solemn obligation to leave her be and let heal in her own time, in her own way, on her own terms.
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