In 1993 an occurrence would happen that would shock the world about the legendary music icon Michael Jackson. A 13 year old boy named Jordan Chandler who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing him. There was a police raid at Neverland and Michael seemed to be in trouble. People expected a big trial, but it didn’t happen.
Two very polarized versions of the story exists.
One version is the story of a serial child sexual predator finally caught and exposed to the public and paid 20 million dollar to get the allegations away and the boy and his family silent – while the other is the story of an extortionist family who used their sons friendship with Jackson to get loads of an innocent superstars money – and which later inspired a flood of other false accusations.
What version of events is true?
To us it seems evident Jordan was telling the truth. Unfortunately the story has been drowned in a sea of myths.
Jordan Chandler Declaration, 28th December 1993
Psychiatric Interview with Jordan Chandler
Maureen Orth – Nightmare In Neverland (Vanity Fair, January 1994)
Ray Chandler – All That Glitters
Ray Chandler Collection of Interviews
Ray Chandler interview in March 2005
June Chandlers testimony in the 2005 trial (third testimony in document)
Interview with Bill Dworin (A 34-year veteran of the LAPD, he’s investigated more than 4,000 sexual exploitation cases. He was also one of the lead detectives investigating the charges against Jackson)
BBC Documentary : The Boy He Paid Off (2004)
Common myths about the Chandler case
There’s a well established rumor that Jordan Chandler came out after Michael Jackson died in 2009, and «admitted” the 1993 allegations against Jackson were all lies, and something he was put up to by his father or family. The reason was “because they were poor”, although there’s different variations of this story.
This is one is easy to debunk because it’s a completely fabricated story. It simply never happened, nor anything close to it. Jordan never commented on Michael Jackson after his death at all.
No credible news source ever reported this story, so it’s surprising the rumor still spread to many people and many still believe it to this day. It even went as far as Michael’s mother Kathrine Jackson in an interview telling the world that the 93 accuser had retracted Michael ever did anything to him.
How did the story originate?
After Jackson died 25th of June 2009 there were some blogs and suspicious websites that published this story and other sites re-publishing it. We’re not sure exactly where it started, but it seems trackable to around 27th of June 2009 due to forums posting about it. The original sites sourced are gone now.
This news was likely faked by Michael Jacksons fans mourning his death who perhaps wanted this to be true, and/or perhaps wanted the public to believe Jordan had come forward to announce he was lying. Since many fans still believe the accusations were false they perhaps thought it was justified considering Michael Jackson was dead.
Many of Jacksons biggest defenders also admits Jordan never said this, so this one is not that controversial among those who has more than a surface knowledge of the allegations. It’s still fascinating how widespread this myth is considering how obviously fake the story is.
Another myth that you’ll often see is the one that Evan Chandler killed himself out of guilt for extorting Michael Jackson when Michael Jackson died. This one is true to some slight extent since Evan Chandler actually did shoot himself in 2009, but it wasn’t straight after MJ died as it was 6 months later. Some think thats still close enough to suspect a relation, but in reality it seems to be coincidental.
The claim that he killed himself due to a guilty conscience has no ground in any real facts. Evan Chandler suffered from a genetic disorder called Gaucher’s disease, which is a degenerative disease nobody would envy. This terrible condition makes you lose your ability to stand up, to speak, to swallow, to think or to function at all. Evan Chandler chose to end it before it got too bad. He killed himself with a shotgun 9th of November 2009. He was 65 years old.
Additionally he never left a note or indication he had lied or felt guilty about the accusations. If he really felt awful about making a false accusation against MJ, to the degree of actually kill himself, wouldn’t it make sense to leave it in a note when he died telling the world he had done wrong?
The idea that he would feel no guilt about extorting an innocent man and framing him as a child molester, but suddenly feel guilt to the point of actually killing himself over Jackson’s death is relatively absurd.
Either way it’s simply not true.
This is another big myth that doesn’t seem to die.
The claim is that Jackson never actually paid the Chandler family 18-20 million dollars in an out of court settlement, but that his insurance company forced it outside his control. So in effect Michael Jackson had nothing to do with the money paid to the Chandlers.
This one is easy to disprove.
1. Below have Jackson’s signature (20th of January 1994) on the settlement and it does not involve the insurance company, but his lawyers Johnnie L. Cochran and Howard L. Weitzman.
Link to settlement.
2. You can hear Michael Jackson talking about paying the money himself to the Chandlers on his interview with Diane Sawyer. [Link]
3. Prior the 2005 trial his lead attorney Tom Mesereau (with Michael Jackson present) held a speech announcing Michael Jackson regretted paying up the money. [Link]
4. Tom Mesereau again clearing it up on a Michael Jackson fan podcast (King Jordan Radio) because fans were confused if an insurance company paid or not. [Link] (Timestamp: 01:04:43)
5. The insurance company in question (Transamerica) themselves say they didn’t pay it. [Link]
How did the myth originate?
This one is pretty interesting. A document from 2005 was signed by one of Jackson’s lawyers Brian Oxman explicitly says an insurance company actually did pay for the settlement, and thats the one that is used as proof an insurance company paid the settlement.
So what is going on? We would need to investigate it more to get to the bottom of it, but we have our theories.
The short answer: We think Brian Oxman faked it to protect Jackson.
The long answer: Tom Mesereau who was the lead lawyer in the 2005 trial has in several interviews explained the defense team did polls to see how the perception in Santa Barbara was if Michael Jackson was guilty or not, and they found out the settlement he paid to the Chandlers didn’t sit well with most people in the county or people in USA in general. A lot of people expressed concern why anyone would pay millions of dollars out of court to a child sex accusations if there was absolutely nothing to it.
We assume the lawyers of Jackson saw this as a PR crisis for Michael Jackson and were were looking for different ways to respond to this. It seems like Tom Mesereau (who probably genuinely believed Jackson was innocent) chose to hold a public statement saying the settlement was bad advice to Jackson from prior lawyers in the 90s and that he sorely regretted it now, while Brian Oxman strategy was to make a fake document saying Jackson didn’t pay it but his insurance company did. This is obviously a big contradiction for a team of lawyers to make.
Brian Oxman was kicked out of the team of Jackson’s lawyers pretty early in the trial by Tom Mesereau. Mesereau explained the reasons Oxman was kicked are confidential and we believe this faked document might have caused some tension and at least played a part in Oxman being terminated.
Whatever happened its clear Michael Jackson did make a multi million dollar settlement with the Chandlers, and everything speaks against his insurance company ever paid a single penny. It also came to light around the time of the trial he had made another million dollar settlement with another boy (Jason Francia) who accused him of molestation in the 90s.
The official story from the Chandlers themselves is that Evan (who worked as a dentist) already for a period had suspicions his son may have been sexually molested by Michael Jackson, but Jordan didn’t want to say anything. After doing dentist work on his sons teeth while Jordan perhaps was drugged by anesthesia, he finally managed to get Jordan to admit what had happened between him and Michael Jackson.
For some reason in the stories defending Michael Jackson the anesthesia that was used by Evan Chandler on his son was sodium amatyl, a very controversial drug that sometimes has been referred to as a “truth serum». Sodium amatyl was once believed to make people who take it “to tell the truth”, but has later been proven that might cause delusional memories that may not be real, or that it could also be used to plant false memories. The argument is that the use of this drug makes Jordan’s testimony unreliable as the drug could make delusional memories, or that Evan planted a fake story in his son head that he was molested by Jackson.
This would have been an interesting argument to have if Evan Chandler actually claimed to have used sodium amatyl, the problem is he never did. This is yet another rumor that is a complete fabrication but has been treated like a fact ever since it originated.
Sodium amatyl is actually a very rare drug that is very extremely difficult to attain, and is definitely not used by dentists today. Nor are there any indication Evan Chandler ever owned it or used it on his son. Evan’s assistant (Dr. Torbiner) records show they had administered the far more normal anesthesia Robinol and Vistaril to Jordan. These drugs do not have any comparable effects. The Sodium Amatyl story is just another myth.
How did the sodium amatyl story originate?
The Sodium Amatyl story was popularized by Mary Fischer’s infamous article for GQ Magazine «Was Michael Jackson Framed?» (1994), and has since been reported in several books, documentaries, pro-MJ websites and social media as facts. It seems to have been taken out of thin air as Mary Fischer didn’t know the Chandlers or anyone relevant involved, so where she got this information and how she claims its credible is her burden of proof.
This one is a little bit more inconclusive.
The Santa Barbara police (at the time lead by D.A Tom Sneddon) infamously took photographs of Michael Jackson naked to see if they matched Jordans descriptions. The most unique things described was supposedly a black splotch under Jackson’s penis due to color disfiguration as well as small pink spots on Jackson’s buttocks and testicles which seems to have been correct. According to several sources by people who saw the photographs they did match Jordan’s descriptions accurately.
There has however been circulating a different story by Michael Jackson’s defenders that Jordan failed to describe Jackson’s penis because he said it was circumcised. The leaked autopsy papers of Michael Jackson from 2009 concluded Michael Jackson was not circumcised, so if this is true its not a small error on behalf of Jordan.
However, most sources of what Jordan told the police never actually said anything about Michael Jackson being circumcised, but some sources do.
Where did this rumor come from?
The main source seems to be Victor Guitierez, a controversial journalist and private investigator of Jackson in the 90s. He released a very controversial book «Michael Jackson Was My Lover» in 1996. As a source it certainly has a lot of staggering research, stories and inside information on Michael Jackson’s relation to underage boys, but is shadowed by the uncomfortable position Guitierez has on pedophilia (at least among underage boys and older men) in general. His main argument is that relationships between older men and underage boys while forbidden is just misunderstood and should be deemed as fine. His book paints the story between Jordan and Michael Jackson almost like a “forbidden love story” and his “evil” parents who does not allow it. (This story of events has a lot of issues, but thats a story for another time.)
While there’s a lot of information in the book that is still (possibly) true Guitierez the base of the book is a proposed “love diary” by Jordan Chandler. According to the Chandlers Jordan never kept or wrote a diary, which makes direct quotes from it fictional. This fact alone makes Guitierez book unreliable at best, even if there’s also a lot of very detailed information that may or may not be true. (There are scans from real documents, photographs, interviews, facts shown later to be true and so on.)
The picture below is from the book, and allegedly is a drawing Jordan did (or perhaps his father did while Jordan was describing it) of Jackson’s penis. Among the keywords it says « Mike circumcised”.
This is the source used on fan sites defending Michael Jackson. It’s not confirmed if this is a legitimate drawing, and if it is how Mr. Guitierez got a hold of it.
So what is true?
While some people dismiss the circumcision story as simply fabricated by Guitierez (just like he fabricated Jordans “love diary”). It’s perhaps tempting to do so, but it’s unfortunately not that easy.
There’s another quote attributed to Sgt. Deborah Linden who worked at the Santa Barbara police at the relevant time also implying Jordan did describe Michael Jackson as circumcised too. [Link]
Bob Jones and Darwin Porters books about Michael Jackson (both pro-guilty books) also refers to Jordan describing Jackson’s penis as circumcised.
So we have to stay open to the possibility Jordan actually did say it…. but if he did, what does that mean?
A possible explanation could be that Michael Jackson while not technically circumcised still may have had very short foreskin like some men naturally have, making Jordan Chandler (who is half jewish and possibly circumcised himself) simply make that association and connection. That seems like the most likely explanation. Another suggestion some people think is that if Jordan only saw Jackson’s penis while erect the foreskin is is much more difficult to be confused as circumcised.
Its also curious that the only thing the autopsy actually says is «The penis appears to be uncircumcised» [Link to autopsy, p.15], which when phrased in such a curious way make it seem like even the ones doing the autopsy seem inconclusive too, which may strengthen the plausibility Michael Jackson may have had very short foreskin. That would certainly explain things. Why they mention anything about circumcision on someone non-jewish is a bit mysterious in itself. However, unfortunately, as far as we know there are no sources indicating if Michael Jackson had short or long foreskin, so it’s inconclusive as of yet.
There exist audio “secret” recordings of Evan Chandler where he seems very furious and talks about Michael Jackson, Jordan, mother June and the allegations. At one point he says «I will get everything I want», “They’ll be destroyed forever” among other things like threatening to destroy Michael Jacksons career (“He will never sell another record”), hiring a nasty lawyer, saying he didn’t care what happens to Jordan, etc.
The line «I will get everything I want» quote is often used as evidence that Evan Chandler was only after Michael Jackson’s money, and this bolsters the claim that Evan Chandlers were attempting to extort money from Michael Jackson through false allegations of child sexual abuse. So what is going on in this recording?
Where is the audio actually from?
The story behind this soundbite is quite interesting. Evan was actually being secretly recorded while being in phone conversation with his ex-wife’s husband David Schwarz. David Schwarz and June Chandler at the time were told by Michaels people (Anthony Pellicano) to secretly record a phone conversation without Evan being aware of it. It was later edited and spliced out of context by Anthony Pellicano (who worked for Jackson) and through this edit he tried to make it sound like Evan was unstable, unethical and only had dubious motivations and just wanted money.
Didn’t Evan talk about wanting Jackson’s money in this conversation?
Surprisingly he actually did not, and it’s easy to prove because we have the transcript of the whole conversation. There’s no mention of money in the whole conversation.
The actual context is a little bit convoluted, but at the time Evan was on a fight to get custody for Jordan from his ex-wife June Chandler. June at the time was going to allow Jordan go on tour with Michael Jackson and didn’t want to hear Evan’s warnings and concerns. Evan was worried about the well being of his son as he suspected Michael Jackson was possibly sexually molesting him and that the relationship was harmful for Jordy. Evan had tried desperately to get them all to meet, sit down and have a conversation, but nobody cooperated with Evan, which made him very angry. When he says “he will get everything he wants» he is in actuality only talking about the custody of Jordan away from the mother.
When he talks about his anger with Michael Jackson and wanting to destroy his career its connected with him being extremely angry and suspecting Michael Jackson’s relationship with Jordan was harming him. Evan may not have been the calmest person in this conversation, at one point he says he’s drunk (“hammered”), but the proposed quotes has to be read in its proper context. It’s also clear if you read the whole conversation he doing all of this because he wants to protect his son Jordan.
Luckily the whole conversation between David Schwarz and Evan Chandler has been transcribed, and is recommended to see the full context. [Link to transcript]
We highly recommend Ray Chandler’s book “All That Glitters” for the full story what was going on.
Quite a few people find the Chandlers taking millions of dollars in an out of court settlement from Jackson instead of doing everything they could to get Michael Jackson in jail to be suspicious. As in that it makes the allegations less credible. It’s often said thats not what they would have done if someone had sexually abused their child. No money would ever make it go away. This is a fair criticism (on its surface, at least), and a common one, so it needs to be addressed.
First off, the 20 million dollar settlement to settle a child abuse case goes both ways. It doesn’t look good for Michael Jackson either to pay off a child sex allegation which he claimed he never did. Take it from Elton John. It doesn’t look good for either side though arguably.
In reality what happened between the Chandlers and Michael Jackson was a lot more complex than just some money offered/demanded and accepted/given. It was actually a complex legal battle that went on for a long time. There was a charge filed and several lawyers involved. The Santa Barbara Police was involved (they raided Neverland among other things) and both a criminal trial and a civil trial discussed, and two grand juries attempted by the police.
Why didn’t the Chandlers charge go to a criminal trial?
“All That Glitters» by Ray Chandler goes through everything in great detail, so thats a recommended book if you want to understand their side of it. We’ll try to give you the short answer.
There seems to be two major reasons why it didn’t happen.
1. A great concern for Jordan’s mental health
At the time when the charge was filed and suits were planned psychiatrists noted that Jordan was not in good mental health, and the parents also noticed he was very withdrawn, seemingly traumatized and scared by everything going on. We have to remember this whole thing was all centered around him and was already making news headlines everywhere. A lot of pressure on a 13 year old boy. Psychiatrists warned that a trial in front of the whole world and salivating tabloids could damage him for life, and they based it on other similar (yet many times smaller) situations where a small child is going against someone in front of the world. They advised the parents not to force Jordan through a lengthy and delayed trial. When Michael Jackson and his people wanted to delay the trial several years the concern how it could potentially affect Jordan got even bigger.
A critical point was when Jordan draw a picture where someone jumps down from a building. (The father wrote “Don’t let this happen” over it when he found it.)
Considering this not very strange they didn’t want to put Jordan through a trial against Michael Jackson, who at the time the most famous person in the world, and beloved by thousands upon thousands of fans (and sometimes fanatic fans).
So instead they demanded Jackson pay Jordan for the damage he had already done to Jordan, and for how it inevitably would affect his future, so thats partly why the million dollar settlement was organized. Michael Jackson and his lawyers on their side eventually agreed to it.
2. The police didn’t give the Chandlers witness protection
In interviews Ray Chandler said the Chandlers at one point eventually agreed to take Michael Jackson to trial after pressure from Santa Barbara Police. Despite Jordan’s mental health there was another concern that Michael Jackson was molesting other children or could molest more children if they didn’t do anything. The Chandlers agreed.
However, there was another issue. The Chandlers had several death threats sent to them. They had decapitated animals at their doorsteps, Evan Chandler was attacked with a baseball bat outside his work, Jordan was almost drove over by a truck, there was gunshots fired at their house and death threats on the phone constantly. Both Ray and Evan Chandler started wearing guns all the time out of fear.
The Chandlers were naturally very worried about their general safety amidst all this, and they assumed it would get even worse if they moved forward at a trial. They demanded that if they were going up against someone as rich and powerful and beloved as Michael Jackson the police had to provide them witness protection 24/7 through the trial. The police for whatever reason didn’t agree to do this. Possibly for cost reasons. This resulted in the Chandlers being less cooperative with the police, and combined with their worry for Jordan’s mental health the negotiations for a criminal trial broke down.
Ray Chandler noted that the police later had realized not giving them witness protection was a big mistake, and that they did give the Arvizo’s witness protection in 2005. «It makes all the difference», as Ray Chandler said.