The short answer is no, it’s not mean or irrational.
Under normal circumstances nobody gets to do what Michael Jackson did (bring unrelated children into his bedroom overnight). No adult man gets to do that without suspicion cast upon him by other adults. It’s simply not sane to give adult males that kind of latitude with the most vulnerable among us. And for Jackson to engage in that behavior—bringing children into his bedroom overnight—and then act put-upon by the public for being suspicious that he was a pedophile is outrageous.
An analogy: Every weekend a suburban woman goes to a street corner known to be frequented by prostitutes. She gets picked up by cruising men who drive her to nearby motels. Before they return her to the same street corner, they give her money. She tells people that she never has sex with the men. Never touches them. Never blows them. Never lets them put their hands on her. She just talks to them. They simply drive around. She feels compassion for the men. They’re lonely. She tells them about Jesus. She wants to help them. She doesn’t understand why all those around her suspect she’s a whore.
Jackson engaged in equally outrageous (and suspicion generating) actions—many of them characteristic of pedophiles—and then he is shocked—shocked!—that people might suspect that he is, well, a pedophile. And the power disparity between Jackson and the children who visited his bedroom for “sleep-overs” is enormous. A wealthy man in his forties was bringing children unrelated to him into his bedroom alone overnight. A person needs to absorb the import of that before suggesting that the suspicion directed toward Jackson is unreasonable and based on animus.
Furthermore, to treat pedophile-suspicion directed toward Michael Jackson as a form of persecution is to tell people it is wrong to speak plainly about what is evident. Jackson lived his life in ways characteristic of a pedophile. It doesn’t mean that he was one. It means that there is a real probability that he was one. No adult male gets to bring unrelated children into his bedroom alone overnight without suspicion being rendered by other adults. It would be a monstrous dereliction of duty toward the children involved not to cast that suspicion. And it would be Orwellian not to speak to others plainly about it.
I understand “innocent until proven guilty.” But I sure the hell wouldn’t have had him anywhere near my children. And the children that he did bring around him were oftentimes hugely vulnerable (cancer patients; boys of poor single mothers). An adult single male obsessed with Peter Pan and decorating his bedroom with children’s toys was bringing kids into his bedroom for “sleep-overs.” That should set off five alarm predator worries in any sane parent who is not stupid or tempted by greed. And Jackson showed zero evidence of having any serious impulse control. The older I get, the less patience I have for bullshitters. Michael Jackson was, in my view, a huge bullshitter who got away with spectacular amounts of bullshit. It’s like Rush Limbaugh, G. Beck, and Jimmy Swaggart. Everyday, bullshitters look at their bank accounts and say, “How stupid people are!” This, in my view, was what Jackson was doing. He was using his fame and wealth and “mystery power” to get away with things. It’s an old game. If you dress like a glitzy version of Captain Crunch (as Chris Rock noted that Jackson did), or put on the clothing of a priest, or have money, then you can cast spells on people and get away with stuff.
Jackson was a spell-caster.
Below is a video of reporter Martin Bashir speaking of Jackson. Bashir illustrates the problem. Note Bashir’s rhetorical tone-down of what it means to be a single man bringing young boys into his bedroom for “sleep-overs,” and his logically fallacious “I never saw anything” obscurantism. His emotional solemnity is also cloying. It’s all slight of hand and euphemism. Of course he wouldn’t have seen anything. It means nothing. I have a great deal of contempt for people who use language in ways that distort, rather than clarify, an issue. It’s like using “enhanced interrogation” for “torture.” Michael Jackson was suspected of being a pedophile because he brought vulnerable children into his orbit and took them into his bedroom overnight alone. At least Bashir, as a journalist, could describe things accurately. But, of course, he doesn’t. But the rest of us should.
I can see why the embedding of this video was disabled. Its complicity is shameful. But you can still get to it directly here.