I wonder if there’s anyone who didn’t use an acquaintance with Michael Jackson to their own benefit? And I wonder too if there’s anyone in Uri Geller’s life who he doesn’t use to his own benefit?
In this film last night we saw a great deal of ‘home movie’ footage of Uri’s which featured Jackson and not only that, Uri had retained an answer-phone tape on which Jackson had left him a message. Uri said that he’d kept that tape because he so loved the “naivety, the gullibility” of the message which was to do with the possibility that Michael might be the first pop star to walk on the moon.
Perhaps I’m just very cynical but my feeling throughout was that Geller had the home movie footage and this tape simply as insurance against bad times and a guaranteed money spinner for just such an event – the event being Jackson’s death.
I would have thought that anyone who was truly Jackson’s friend – and by definition had no interest in him other than his friendship – would realise that the man spent most of his life with a camera in his face and therefore, in moments when he was among friends, surely that should have been the one thing missing? But in this case, Geller documented every visit with Jackson. Again, cynic I may be but while anyone may want a few moments caught for posterity with someone as iconic as Jackson, would a real friend store a veritable archive of those moments without an agenda for their public release?
However it seems that Uri is no stranger to parlaying private friendships into cash; we heard last night how intimate and private letters between himself and a Rabbi friend were made into a book, with the full cooperation of both parties, so at least that Rabbi had the opportunity to have a say about what happened to those communiqués, unlike Jackson.
But the thing that I found most shocking was the revelation that Uri had quizzed Jackson about the suspected molestation of children at Neverland – and the charges that arose from that – while Michael was under hypnosis. It seems that Michael had asked Uri to hypnotise him in order to help him avoid junk food, and Geller readily agreed. He must have been jumping for joy at the time at the unprecedented opportunity.
We then heard Geller’s own testimony that while Jackson was “in a trance state” Geller asked him if it was true that he touched children “inappropriately” which Jackson vehemently denied while still in the “trance” state. Geller further asked why then had Michael paid Jordy Chandler vast amounts of money to drop charges against him if he was innocent, to which Jackson replied that he had just “had enough” of the entire debacle and wanted it to end.
Geller went on to say that he brought Jackson out of the trance state and Michael was unaware of what had been said when he was under hypnosis. Can there be a more repugnant form of the abuse of the ‘power’ of Geller to hypnotise someone he calls a friend, and to then use the vulnerability of that friend in such a way? What if Jackson had answered, “Yes, I do touch children inappropriately”? I suspect Geller would’ve been on the phone to his agent immediately if not sooner to arrange the world’s biggest fee ever for a newspaper exclusive. I can imagine the headlines…
“Michael Jackson confesses his guilt” with a picture of a sombre looking Geller below it, the ‘reluctant’ bearer of the answer to the question the entire world wanted answering.
Anybody who is a genuine hypnotist will tell you that to use the ability you have to reduce someone to their most vulnerable state is a power that should not be abused, and it’s people like Geller, who readily use it to get what they want out of it, rather than what the person they’re hypnotising wants out of it, is exactly why so many people are convinced that hypnotism is a charlatan art.
The overriding impression I got from this film was that Uri Geller is a very savvy businessman. He even used the occasion of his own vow renewal ceremony to cash in on Jackson; he’d asked Michael to be his best man when he renewed his wedding vows to wife Hannah, and despite Jackson being over two hours late for the ceremony – and no excuse offered it would seem, or at least, if it was, we didn’t hear it – he kept all his guests waiting so that Jackson could be there.
Uri said in the film that the ceremony couldn’t begin without Jackson because he had Uri’s wedding ring. Apparently, Uri had asked Michael to keep it for 24 hours prior to the wedding so that “his energy” could be absorbed into the ring. My personal opinion is that he gave him the ring only to ensure his attendance. Given Jackson didn’t bother to even let Geller know that he was to be so late for what was his ‘friend’s’ very special event, what does that tell us about how close they were?
If you were asked to be a major player in a ceremony such as that, and you were to be two hours late, wouldn’t you let the groom – your friend – know? You would if you gave a stuff about him.
My belief is that Geller has largely exaggerated the bond between himself and Jackson for reasons that are based on monetary gain. The home movie footage, the tape recordings, asking him to be best man; it all smacks of a man cashing in on knowing someone very famous.
We heard too how it was Geller who introduced Martin Bashir to Jackson and of course, that introduction resulted in the hugely successful – but ultimately destructive – film, Living With Michael Jackson. I’d love to know if Bashir paid Geller the equivalent of a ‘finder’s fee’. But it was to be Uri’s downfall with Jackson though, because after it all went so very wrong from Jackson’s point of view, he ceased contact with Geller. However, Uri claimed toward the end of the film last night that in his last weeks, Jackson had asked about him and expressed a wish to see Geller again.
I’m sure Uri’s devastated that he didn’t immediately cut a swathe through everything else he was doing in order to see Jackson again, if in fact we can believe Michael did ask after him again. A story detailing some ‘private’ conversation with Jackson in his last weeks would’ve sold for millions.