Michael Jackson’s alliance with the Nation of Islam has angered some of his most loyal fans and has pitted one Jackson fan club against the other in the latest bizarre development surrounding the pop star’s molestation case.
In a published interview, Deborah Dannelly, the president of the Michael Jackson Fans Club, said many of the 16,000 members in the club are upset with Jackson’s involvement with the controversial group. Dannelly criticized her idol by saying she doesn’t think Jackson “realizes the impact he’s had on his fans. I would hate to see that ruined and would urge him to reconsider his involvement with the Nation of Islam.”
In an interview with MSNBC.com on Tuesday, Jackson attorney Mark Geragos acknowledged that Nation of Islam Chief of Staff Leonard Muhammad “is an official adviser to Jackson,” but added that Jackson has many advisors. Patricia Brown, president of MJJForum Fan Community Website told MSNBC.com on Wednesday that she was against Dannelly going public with her concerns and has urged her not to shut down the club in protest.
“This is causing an uproar and panic in the fan community,” Brown said. What’s more peculiar, Brown noted, was Dannelly’s ties to former Jackson publicist Stuart Backerman. “They (Dannelly and Backerman) are really close and this may have something to do with Dannelly’s actions,” Brown said.
Backerman quit working for Jackson in December, however some reports indicate that he was fired. Backerman said he quit because of “strategic differences” while Geragos said Backerman was dismissed because he continued to make unauthorized statements to the press regarding Jackson’s case.
While Jackson’s camp and Muhammad have downplayed the role of the Nation of Islam with the pop singer, Dannelly said she’s still drawing the line. She says she and Jackson’s sea of fans have their limitations and “can’t believe the fan base will stand for (the Nation of Islam’s) involvement.”
Stacy Brown, who offers analysis for MSNBC TV, is a Jackson family friend.