Former NBA star Charles Barkley chimed in on the Michael Jackson baby dangling case, uttering harsh words towards attorney Gloria Allred and her quest for an investigation on CNN’s TalkBack Live. For a complete transcript to the heated discussion which took place on Wednesday, read on.
NEVILLE: All right. And you know what, Charles, we want to hear what you have to say about this story. It seems the media just can’t get
enough of Michael Jackson. Today Michael limped into a Santa Maria, California court again to testify in a dispute over no-shows at a couple of concerts. It seems he’s nursing a nasty spider bite that left his leg swollen.
And you might remember last month, when Michael dangled his infant son over a balcony at a hotel in Berlin. And the incident prompted attorney Gloria Allred to ask for an investigation into whether Michael endangered his youngest child. Here’s what Michael had to say to Gloria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you have to say about Gloria Allred?
MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER: Who’s that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She (OFF MIKE) calling for an investigation by
Children’s Services as a result of the…
JACKSON: Ah, tell her to go to hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEVILLE: All right, Gloria, you heard it. Michael Jackson says you can go to hell. What do you say?
ALLRED: Well, Arthel, he wants me to go to hell, but I want Michael Jackson to go to parenting classes to learn how to protect rather than endanger his babies.
NEVILLE: So is that the motive behind your public outcry? Because apparently officials in California can’t do anything, this is out of their jurisdiction. The incident took place in Berlin.
ALLRED: I don’t think that’s correct, Arthel. I think that the district attorney of Santa Barbara probably does not have jurisdiction to criminally prosecute Michael Jackson on a charge of child endangerment. However, I do believe that Children’s Protective Services and the dependency court do have jurisdiction, because their jurisdiction is over the child, not over the parent. And they have a duty to protect the child.
Now, Michael Jackson may be surrounded by an entourage of certain people who may agree with him, but I want Michael Jackson to know that I’m not part of his entourage. And I’m concerned about the safety of that child. No one should dangle a baby over a fourth-floor balcony, which could subject the child to great bodily harm or even to death. And I don’t think that he has a proper awareness of the risk of harm to which he subjected that baby.
NEVILLE: Gloria, you can’t see Charles Barkley, but I can. I think you’re making his head hurt.
ALLRED: Well, I’m not concerned about his head. I’m concerned about that little baby who can’t speak for herself or himself and can’t protect himself. And any person in this country, Arthel, who witnesses an act that they believe might endanger a child, or might be an act of cruelty toward a child, or an act of abandonment, abuse or neglect of a child, should do exactly what I did, which is report it to Children’s Protective Services in their county. And I know a lot of people have done that in their counties and do take that responsibility seriously.
BARKLEY: First of all, lady, you act like you ain’t got nothing better to do than worry about Michael Jackson and his kids. He’s apologized. He said that he’s wrong. And I’m pretty sure there are some other kids out there in L.A. who probably really do need your help. But you just want to be on television and talk about Michael Jackson.
It’s none of your business, basically. He made a mistake and he apologized.
ALLRED: Mr. Barkley…
BARKLEY: Every time some high profile case breaks out, you jump on television and act like you’re god. Only god can judge other people. Why don’t you go back to your office, wait on another case, and shut the hell up?
ALLRED: Well, Mr. Barkley, you know something — you know, I wish you would send the same amount of energy protecting this baby as you have just spent on…
BARKLEY: He’s not your baby.
ALLRED: … attacking me. I’d like the opportunity and the courtesy of your being able to give me a chance to respond to what you just said. This baby cannot speak for himself or herself, cannot protect themselves. And any person should do what I did. And I think that Mr. Jackson’s attacks on me are not serving the best interests of the child. What he needs to do is get out there and learn how to be a parent who protects, not endangers his child.
That’s what this is really all about. You shouldn’t be defending his actions.
BARKLEY: I’m not defending his actions. The man apologized. What more do you want him to do? He apologized. When a person makes a mistake, they apologize. He apologized, he said he made a terrible error.
What more? We’ve been talking about this for three weeks now. He apologized the next day.
ALLRED: Here’s what’s more. Because what he said was that he didn’t
intend to harm the child. That’s not relevant on the issue of child endangerment. All that’s relevant is, did he willfully take that baby and dangle that baby over the balcony? That’s what’s relevant. The fact that the child might not have been injured is not relevant. The fact that he endangered the child is what’s important. And…
BARKLEY: The fact of the matter is that’s the only time you’ve ever seen Michael Jackson with his kid. Am I right? So you’re just going to go by that little synopsis he’s a bad parent?
NEVILLE: OK, I’m jumping in here now because we have to take a break. And I want to know if you think Michael Jackson should be investigated by Child Protective Services. You can give a call or e- mail right now. I know Bob (ph) in Texas is standing by on the line, as well as Rich, who has written in an e-mail to us. TALKBACK LIVE continues in a moment.
NEVILLE: OK. We’re talking about basically Gloria Allred versus Michael Jackson. And we’re going to Texas now, where Bob (ph) is standing by on the phone. Go ahead, Bob (ph).
BOB: Good evening. This is Bob (ph) from Tennessee, actually.
NEVILLE: Oh, Tennessee. Go ahead, sir.
BOB: How are you doing today? I just wanted to make a comment that Gloria’s more interested in her own self-promotion than the welfare of those kids. I’ll ask Gloria, what would you do in all of a sudden everyone stopped listening to you? Would you finally just go away.
ALLRED: Sir, I frankly feel that I have a moral duty to speak out. That I should not be silent in the face of a significant risk of harm to a child. And I know that many others feel the same way. That they would not turn their backs on a vulnerable baby who is at risk.
I think what Michael Jackson did, what we saw in that video was reckless, it was irresponsible. I don’t know any of us who would give our baby to him to dangle over a fourth-floor balcony. And I think that action, if it were not by a celebrity, would be condemned, would be criticized and would be investigated.
NEVILLE: OK. I have an e-mail coming in now from Rich in New Jersey. He says, “Good for Gloria Allred. If anyone thinks that these kids are in danger now being with this nut, wait eight or ten years.”
OK. And, Paul, we haven’t heard anything from you on this particular subject. Do you have anything to say?
DIAMOND: Well, I don’t think this is about Gloria Allred. I think this is about the question Ms. Allred has raised. And the question she has raised is, is Michael Jackson a fit parent?
Michael Jackson thrusts himself on us every day. He thrusts himself into the public eye. And he names one kid Prince Michael I. He names another kid Prince Michael II. He’s got more plastic in his face than a model airplane.
His kids are swabbed in what looks like what Woody Allen would say somebody puts on to drive through plutonium. You really have to wonder whether he’s all there and whether he’s a fit parent. And I think that’s all she’s asking, and I think it’s a legitimate question.
NEVILLE: That is…
ALLRED: I’m only concerned about the baby, not what Michael Jackson thinks, how he dresses. I’m only concerned about the safety of the child.
NEVILLE: Gloria Allred and Paul Diamond, thank you both for joining us here today. Charles, stick around, please.
Up next, I’m going to take those calls and e-mails on whether Michael Jackson should be investigated by Child Protection Services. Back in a moment.
NEVILLE: And welcome back, everybody. Time for the question of the day. Should child protective services investigate Michael Jackson? And in the audience, Mike (ph) says what?
MIKE: I don’t see any real basis for it. I don’t condone what he did. I think it was a stupid act. He agrees it was a stupid act. But I think it’s blown out of proportion.
NEVILLE: Thank you very much, sir. Do we have time for an e- mail here? It’s coming in from Jay in Illinois. He says, “Michael Jackson should have charges filed against him. Just because someone is famous it doesn’t mean they should be able to get away with a stupid act.” Listen, Charles Barkley, we are out of time. So good to see you.
BARKLEY: Good to see you, girl.