Michael Jackson: Father’s traumatic childhood ‘lesson’ scarred Thriller star for life

Martin Bashir interviews Michael Jackson in 2002

In later years, Jackson spoke openly about the traumatising effect his father had had on him, all through his life. He said: “I am scared of my father to this day. My father walked in the room — and God knows I am telling the truth — I have fainted in his presence many times. I have thrown up in his presence because when he comes in the room and this aura comes and my stomach starts hurting and I know I am in trouble.” The roots to this lay in his childhood.

Even when MJ was filming Thriller, at the height of his fame and success, he was still unwilling to be in the same room as his father. Director John Landis described one upsetting moment when the star’s parents Joseph and Katherine Jackson visited the set.

Landis said: “Michael asked me to have Joe removed. He said, ‘Would you please ask my father to leave? So I go over to Mr. Jackson. ‘Mr. Jackson, I’m sorry, but can you please … ?’ ‘Who are you?’ ‘I’m John Landis. I’m directing this.’ ‘Well, I’m Joe Jackson. I do what I please.’ I said, ‘I’ll have to ask security to remove you if you don’t leave now.'”

Landis claimed a policeman had to escort Joe off the set. Michael was 24 at the time.

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Joe Jackson was a powerful, intimidating figure who moulded his children into a sensationally successful pop package.

Michael was only six when he made his professional debut and this upbringing came at a terrible price.

At the very least, Joe did not permit any of his children, including daughters Latoya and Janet, to attempt any kind of familiarity with him.

Michael said: “He didn’t want us to call him Daddy, and I wanted to call him Daddy so bad.’ He said, ‘I’m not Daddy, I’m Joseph to you.'”

Janet has corroborated this, ominously adding: “He tells you one time, you don’t do it again. So I always called him Joseph.”

When Jackson was 21 he had officially emancipated himself from his father’s management of his professional life and he attempted to do the same with his personal life. 

Jackson’s producer Larry Stessel described the star’s extreme reaction to his father and attempts to avoid him as an adult. He said: “Michael was scared to death of Joseph.”

During the Thriller era, Stessel described how the singer, by now the biggest star in the world, actually moved behind him to hide when his father came into the house.

Jackson’s biographer J Randy Taraborrelli described a chilling childhood moment that exemplified how it all began with the star’s upbringing.  

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When Michael was still a young boy he had been told to keep his window closed at night but sometimes forgot.

One night, Joe climbed into his son’s bedroom window wearing a terrifying fright mask and screaming like a monster to teach him a lesson.

Jackson later confessed that he had nightmares for years afterward about being attacked and kidnapped, dragged out of his bedroom window.

Looking back on his own childhood, he famously said: “I always said if I ever have kids I will never behave like this way. I won’t touch a hair on their heads. Because people always say the abused abuse and it is not true. It is not true. I am totally the opposite.”

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