Vanity Fair Refuses to Retract “Defamatory” Article About Michael Jackson’s Family
Looks like Janet Jackson isn’t going to be able to save her troubles for another day. The “Escapade” singer is piping mad over an article in the November issue of Vanity Fair that paints her as a miserly and selfish sister. So mad, she and her sister LaToya demanded the publication retract the story, titled “Estate Under Siege,” but to no avail.
In it’s latest issue, the high-end entertainment magazine plugs the new book Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson by Randall Sullivan with an excerpt from the book. In it, the author brings to light the awkward delay in burying Michael Jackson and claims Janet was responsible for the postponement, not allowing the funeral to take place until MJ’s estate had reimbursed her for the $40,000 burial-plot deposit she gave to the California cemetery. The article also states that they used a moving truck to remove black plastic bags of cash and duffels full of the late pop icon’s belongings from the estate in the hours after his death.
Janet and her lawyers, in a letter sent to Vanity Fair, alleged the story was “outrageous” and “untrue,” as well as “replete with additional false and defamatory statements.” Along with the retraction, they asked that Vanity Fair send a letter to publications like the New York Daily News and Huffington Post who picked up on the story stating the article was false. But, Vanity Fair had a different response in mind.
“Vanity Fair stands by Randall Sullivan’s assertion that Janet Jackson’s demand to be reimbursed for her deposit on her brother’s burial plot was one of the reasons Michael Jackson’s funeral was delayed,” they told E! News. “Sullivan’s sources told him that the amount of the deposit was $40,000, but records released last week indicate that the amount of the deposit was $49,000. Vanity Fair will make that correction on VF.com.”
Ouch. Talk about pouring salt into an open wound.
LaToya’s lawyers sent a similar letter. “In the absence of such a prompt retraction,” they wrote, “our clients intend to commence legal proceedings to vindicate their reputation.”
But the magazine still held their ground firmly, saying they saw “no basis to reconsider what was written.”