Jackson's Montreal connection played up in unauthorized bio
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | 5:28 PM ET
The Canadian Press
An unauthorized biography about pop icon Michael Jackson's final years says the singer once considered moving to Montreal because polls indicated Quebecers rejected child abuse allegations against him.
Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson says the megastar behind such hits as Thriller and Bad spurned the United States after surveys indicated many Americans still thought him guilty even though he was acquitted of child abuse charges in 2005.
Author Ian Halperin, who predicted in December 2008 that Jackson would be dead in six months, writes that Jackson's first choices for a new home were Britain and Berlin, followed by Montreal.
Jackson died June 25. The cause of death has not yet been determined.
"Quebec had always held a special affection for Jackson and it happened to be the only jurisdiction in North America where polls showed that the majority of residents firmly rejected the child abuse allegations against him," Halperin writes in the book, released Tuesday in English and French by Montreal's Transit Publishing.Halperin, who has previously written unauthorized biographies of celebrities such as Céline Dion and James Taylor, also penned a bio of Guy Laliberté that the Cirque du Soleil founder complained was based on unsubstantiated rumours.
In the Jackson book, Halperin cites unidentified associates of people who dealt with the singer as well as "one of the city's leading realtors" for his information on the possible Montreal move.
The realtor told him and a group of people at a June 2007 cocktail party at the Montreal Grand Prix that she was in the process of selling Jackson a house and that he had already been to Montreal twice to look at potential properties.
"He came incognito," Halperin quotes the realtor as saying. "He even attended a hockey game while he was here."
Although Jackson was shown places in the upscale Westmount and Outremont districts, he didn't see anything that suited his needs. Privacy was paramount to him, the realtor said.
Jackson did like a "swanky mansion once owned by the Bronfman family," although it wasn't for sale.
Halperin also explored other Quebec connections, including negotiations between Jackson's Neverland Entertainment Group and a Montreal film company to start a new film production division.
Despite announcements a deal had been struck, it eventually fell apart because of Jackson's financial problems, Halperin writes.
Jackson liked idea of separatism
Halperin also recounts a conversation he had with now-deceased Montreal broadcaster Ted Blackman, who told him of a chat between the singer and a francophone journalist Blackman overheard in the mid-1980s.
"They were discussing whether or not Quebec would be better off being separate from Canada," Halperin quotes Blackman as saying of the backstage encounter at a Jackson show in Montreal.
"Jackson replied, 'Oui, oui.' I was amazed. Jackson said he thought Quebec could be another Paris and that Canada was too culturally lame to sustain Quebec."
Blackman reportedly said Jackson ignored anglophone journalists and spoke to French-language media in broken French, accepting a fleur-de-lis key chain from one reporter.
Halperin's book was literally on the printing presses when news of the pop star's sudden death was announced. It was pulled so a brief update could be included.
Halperin says in his conclusion to the book that while he started his investigation believing that Jackson was guilty of child abuse, he couldn't find any evidence to support the allegation.
While he criticizes sensationalist media, he also says Jackson also bears blame for his own misfortune because of behaviour that "bordered on criminal stupidity."
The author, who says he got his information from friends and associates of Jackson, paints a disheartening picture of the pop star's declining years. He says ill health likely would have prevented Jackson from completing a comeback tour that was scheduled to start in London, England, this week.
- Horror tale Haunting Melissa targets app audiences by Jessica Wong May. 16, 2013 4:40 PM If you're seeking the weather, the news or a pic of what your buddy had for lunch, there are apps for that. What about an original, Hollywood-calibre ghost story from a producer of The Ring and Mulholland Drive? Now, there's an app for that, too. Haunting Melissa ventures into the burgeoning realm of digital storytelling as a traditional ghost story with a modern twist -- namely a tale that unfolds through an iOS app.
Top News Headlines
- Search continues for 2 missing New Brunswick fishermen
- A search effort has resumed for two missing fishermen off the coast of New Brunswick, after a distress call was issued from their boat early Saturday. more »
- Jeep driver apologizes after stunt kills Edmonton woman
- A man claiming to be the driver of a Jeep that struck and killed a spectator at a charity event in Edmonton says he is sorry for what happened. more »
- Senior Pakistani politician shot dead
- Gunmen in Pakistan have killed a senior member of Imran Khan's Movement for Justice (PTI) party outside her home in Karachi. more »
- Virginia parade crash driver likely had medical problem
- Authorities believe the driver who plowed into dozens of hikers marching in a Virginia mountain town parade suffered from a medical condition and did not cause the crash intentionally, an emergency official said Sunday. more »
Latest Arts & Entertainment News Headlines
- John Lennon guitar snags $408,000 at auction
- A custom-made electric guitar played by the late John Lennon and George Harrison of the Beatles sold at a New York auction on Saturday for $408,000 US, said officials with the company behind the event more »
- Book seller Sarah McNally: Hipster writes her own business rule book
- Canadian Sarah McNally is taking her own unique approach to the book-selling game in New York City, and its success is evident in her Manhattan McNally-Jackson Bookstore, writes David Gutnick. more »
- Mohawk Girls series tells stories of once 'voiceless' women
- The director behind a TV series being shot in Kahnawake says she wants to show Canadians what it means to be a Mohawk woman. more »
- Thieves steal $1M worth of jewels during Cannes film festival
- Thieves ripped a safe from the wall of a hotel room near the Cannes Film Festival and made off with around $1 million worth of jewelry in a brazen late-night burglary. more »
- Pete Townshend on The Who's "Tommy" May. 17, 2013 4:15 PM
- Juvenile inmates benefiting from Russian literature May. 17, 2013 3:32 PM A juvenile correctional facility in Virginia has seen the behavioural benefits of encouraging their inmates to read the works of classic Russian writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.
- Harper chief of staff resigns amid Senate expense scandal
- Spectator killed at Edmonton Jeep event
- Car drives into crowd at Virginia parade
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford cancels weekly radio show
- Email is proof Senate greenlit expenses, Brazeau says
- Senior Pakistani politician shot dead
- Winning ticket sold in Florida for $590M Powerball jackpot
- Rescue attempt over for New Brunswick fishermen
- Astronaut Chris Hadfield adjusts to 'earthling' life