There is a lot being said about Michael Jackson at the moment. Rumors of monstrous behavior involving children have haunted Michael’s legacy for decades but in light of the documentary Leaving Neverland even some of his most die hard supporters have turned on him. It would appear to most people that these disgusting allegations of abuse are true. Well, I knew Michael Jackson, and I can tell you this. Whatever he was deep down, whatever monster he hid from us all through song and dance, he was also a horribly irresponsible owner of tropical fish.
Let me be clear. I am aware that fish tank negligence is nowhere near as morally abominable as child abuse. Sure, compared to that, it’s barely a crime. And I’m not one of these attention seekers desperate to tie myself to a major news story. I just think that the people deserve the whole story. During the 15 years I was employed by Mr. Jackson, did I witness child abuse directly? No, I was pretty much only given access to the room with the aquarium. But if aquarium negligence is any indication of a person’s moral character, and I tend to believe it is, I hope to god that man is burning in hell.
The things I saw at Neverland Ranch will haunt me forever. Algae buildup completely unchecked. Ph levels that could kill a bull elephant. Cheap multi day feeders that I warned him not to use time and time again. The man had fish with different temperature requirements living in the same tank because he thought they were “cute together.”
Sure, it’s cool to watch a couple of Blue Gourami’s swimming in and out of the elephant man’s skull, but not when they have fin rot. That’s when it stops being magical.
So why am I only coming forward now? What can I say? Michael had me under his spell. The man was charming. It was hard to stay mad at him. Every time I confronted him he would say something like “Chris I hear you loud and clear and from now on I’m gonna start taking much better care of those little goldfish children, shamone, tehe!” And I believed him, every goddamn time.
You know the truly sickening part is the way he groomed them. I accompanied Michael to the fish store several times and let me tell you, he knew how to make them feel special. He would sing to them at the store, take them to amusement parks in a little baggie, dress them up like little Michael Jackson outfits… one time he even brought a neon tetra up on stage with him and let him swim around in front of the whole crowd. It was probably the best day of that fish’s life. Then, when he was done with them he would just dump them in that tank and never think of them again.
History will remember Michael Jackson as a child abusing monster first and foremost, and if the stories being told about him are true then that’s the way it should be. I’m not trying to change that. I just hope that history slips in a tiny footnote that reads something like “also, the guy had no business owning an aquarium” because that is certainly true as well.