Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Michael Jackson: Pepsi Victim? Burn Victim, and Medical Victim?

 In 1984' Michael Jackson agreed to do some spots for the Pepsi Corporation along with his brothers for the Victory Tour. During the filming of this commercial due to the pyrotechnics display that was set off behind Michael at the wrong time his hair was set on fire. After his death the video of the incident was finally released, and the eerie thing was Michael wasn’t even aware of what had happened at first. He proceeded to ascend the stair case as his hair burned behind him. In fact it was others who were on the sound stage including long time-friend, Miko Brando who first observed that Jackson was in trouble, and rushed over to squash the fire out.

The accident resulted in Michael Jackson suffering third degree burns on his scalp and parts of his face. However, because the video was never seen by the general public till after his death it was placed under scrutiny as to how hurt Jackson really was. After all, up to this point the only video the media had was Jackson being carted out on a stretcher waving to the general public, so some thought he wasn’t badly hurt. Too bad Pepsi refused to release the video at the time to let it be known just how badly he was. But I could write volumes about Pepsi and their shabby treatment of Michael Jackson. Not only were they liable for this accident, which they did end up paying a million dollar settlement on, and one I might add Michael chose not to keep but give it to the burn unit that took care of him after his burns. Pepsi also chose to later drop Michael as their spokesperson in 1993' after the first round of Child Molestation Allegations came out. So they caused him pain, suffering, and then public humiliation. Guess Pepsi should be grateful they have such an addictive product, because this type of treatment of such an incredible music icon could have caused them to go bankrupt.

Anyway, so thanks to the Pepsi commercial (and I mean that not in a favorable way), Michael Jackson ended up with severe, and I do mean severe scalp burns. Burns that resulted in him having to have countless surgeries to try to correct the damage, burns that resulted in him ending up with severe scarring, that plagued him up till the day he died. My understanding from Michael's dermatologist Dr. Arnie Klein that the more Michael tried to fix his scalp problem the worse it became. These scars led to him never being able to grow hair in this area of his head ever again. In fact, Dr. Klein stated that the bald spot caused by the fire, and the surgeries to try and fix it only made the bald spot worse. I'm sure most of us must know how hard this must have been on Michael, I mean, after all the man was very self-conscious already over his general appearance.  We know it resulted in him wearing various wigs, hats, and such. If this was all that happened, it would have been bad enough, but as many of us know this wasn’t the end, but only the beginning of what would become Michael Jackson’s nightmare addiction to pain narcotics. While he was in the hospital for the burns he was given pain killers to ease the pain he was enduring, and then of course, more pain drugs after the surgeries to try and correct the problem. Now according to the book "Moonwalker", which was Michael’s autobiography that was released shortly before the accident, Michael was against using prescription drugs. So here he was at the mercy of pain drugs to give him relief. For those who might be thinking why didn’t he just refuse to take the pain drugs to start with if he felt this way? All of us have had burns on our fingers at one time or another I'm sure, some first degree, some even second, and I'm sure you know just how painful a small burn can be. Imagine having burns that are even worse than these on your head, and a lot bigger in size, and then tell me it would be possible to resist taking something for pain. The sad thing is I can’t put the blame on Michael here, but on the medical industry. Sorry, if I am ticking anyone off with this comment, but think about this for a moment if you will. How many of us have been prescribed pain medicine for one reason or another? A whole lot of us no doubt, especially, after surgery. Now how many of us actually had a doctor monitor us while we were taking these drugs, especially after we've gone home from the hospital to recuperate? (I'm sure I hear sounds of crickets about now). Generally we are given narcotics then sent on our merry way to what could become an addiction if we aren't careful. Yes, it can be argued that usually if you want a refill on such drugs the doctor will need to approve it, so this is their way of monitoring what is going on. True, but we all know if there is a will there is a way of getting just about anything, especially these days with the Internet and such.  But let's remember this is Michael Jackson who was left at the mercy of needing this pain medicine.  We know he wasn't your average individual. He could have gotten the drugs through many different means if he wanted to and apparently, he had since about ten years later he ended up in rehab trying to detox from pain killers. So the end result, Michael Jackson ended up seriously maimed and addicted to pain medicine, he would be labeled a drug addict throughout his lifetime (regardless of the fact that I truly believe he was a recovering addict to pain narcotics), all because he innocently chose to do a Pepsi Commercial once upon a time.

You can watch the Pepsi Commercial that went wrong by clicking the YouTube link below: