At 1:30 a.m. this morning, Michael Jackson’s daughter, 15-year-old Paris Jackson, was rushed to an L.A. hospital with slashes on her wrists.
While reports are stating she is doing fine (physically), this will no doubt only be the beginning of a long, drawn-out and sordid tabloid story for weeks or months to come. In some ways, it is the culmination of a four-year obsession with the young girl, beginning with the death of her father. In the years since, she has been the subject of countless “breaking updates,” stemming from her hairstyles, custody battles within the Jackson family, and everything in between. Of the three children, Paris also has chosen to place herself in the spotlight the most, using Twitter and talk shows to talk openly about her life, struggles, and career plans.
Even without her eagerness to share her life with the public, the press has hounded her relentlessly. In addition, many members of the Jackson entourage have used the children as pawns in an attempt to bring attention to various reality shows or cash in on inheritance. Paris has been pulled in every direction, with the press, the public, her family, lawyers, and her friends all pulling in different directions.
In so many cases, suicide attempts are a desperate plea for help, not an actual attempt to end one’s life. The Jackson family, as well as Paris’ mother, now have a golden opportunity to listen to that plea before it’s too late. Instead of calling their agents to begin working on publicity deals, it is my hope that LaToya, Tito, Jermaine, their mother, and the rest of the family actually do what’s best for a family member for a change. They failed Michael; I sincerely hope they learned from that tragedy and don’t allow history to repeat itself.
Instead of using this as fodder for a new generation of Michael Jackson jokes, I also hope the press and the public choose to take the high road and support a 15-year-old girl in trouble rather than play into the freak show that is the Jackson Empire. I know that if my daughter or granddaughter was so unhappy and so desperate that she was willing to end her life, committed to success or not, the last thing I would want her to have to deal with would be reporters calling the hospital and people congregating around my home.
Relentlessly chasing after every insignificant update on the story, fighting to interview every nurse and patient who may have seen Paris in the hospital, is a form of harassment and bullying. I would ask myself whether or not I am making the world a better place by contributing to that behavior.
What Paris needs right now is stability. If her family is not willing to provide, then I hope someone steps in who sees her as a young girl in trouble, not a commodity.