The strained relationship between Michael Jackson and his father, Joseph, has been well-documented for years. "Incredible Hulk" star Lou Ferrigno, who trained Michael for his “This Is It” tour, even said in an interview that “domineering fathers” was something he shared with the “King of Pop.”
But the latest benchmark in the complicated father-son relationship came after Michael’s death, at the June 28 BET Awards when Jackson's father appeared to use the platform to publicize his new record label.
That statement has become a turning point in dialogue among the family members, and in public perception of Jackson’s legacy.
“If Joe hadn’t said what he did about the new label, it’s likely there would have been less attention on him at the press conference the next day where he ended up bringing up the label again,” said a source close to the family. “It shined a spotlight on Joe’s power to upset the family balance.”
That family balance also appeared to be upset when Rev. Al Sharpton appeared alongside Joseph at the same June 29 press conference.
Asked why he was there, Sharpton said his presence has nothing to do with any Jackson family conflict, and that he isn't taking sides with any one family member.
“I was asked by the family to help,” Sharpton said in a phone interview. “I never said I was one of Michael's confidantes. I think his image is being mistreated. I want to protect his legacy.”
The perception of Jackson’s image will withstand another test when the will is filed in probate court (expected to happen Wednesday, according to a very informed source).
At press time, it was expected that the will would not be sealed. Expect it to reveal a split of Jackson’s assets between his mother Katherine, his children, and a charity.
According to a source with close knowledge of the will, the split will be 40 percent to Katherine, 40 percent to be divided among his children, and 20 percent will go to one charity.
Did another will give Beatles songs back to McCartney?
The will that’s currently in possession of the family is a document that dates back to 2002; but two sources who communicated with the singer as recently as April of this year contend at least one more recent will might be in existence.
“Michael talked about changing the will in December (2008) after he split with his nanny, and he talked about changing it (the will) again in March when he felt like he should give his share of the Beatles catalog back to Paul McCartney,” said one source. “He said that would be the right thing to do. I have no reason to believe he didn’t move forward with that plan.”
Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.