At tonight's BET Awards, CNN's Don Lemon attempted to interview Joe Jackson about the death of his son. Jackson answered Lemon's questions with abrupt, detached answers, passed the mic to his spokesperson and attorney, and then promoted his record company.
Jackson's answers were strange right off the bat: Lemon asks him how he's doing, and Jackson responds, "great, I'm doing pretty good," which seems like a peculiar thing to say after one has just lost one's son. He then switches gears and says, "It has been really tough. Remember, we just lost the biggest star in the world." Which also struck me as strange, as it seemed like a fairly detached way of phrasing things.
I have wondered over the past few days how the public (and the press) would handle Joe Jackson; every article coming out about Michael's life and death does not hide the fact that his father was a brutal disciplinarian, and that Michael's childhood was an abusive one. Yet at the same time, the press is, understandably, running to Jackson's parents to express their condolences and obtain some insight on their son and the impact of his loss. Joe Jackson has been painted, over the last 48 hours, as the horrifically abusive father and the grieving father: the person who showed up on the red carpet tonight seemed to be a distant father. Whether that is the result of shock or grief or genuine detachment, one can not say, but the one consistent part of his behavior, the art of promotion, seems to be intact: